“Crowdfunding” is a grassroots means of financing projects. Essentially, people who believe in a particular movement and/or product gather in one spot to offer money and support in hopes of seeing the creator’s ideas get off the ground. Typically, monetary donations are regarded as a pledge, and the donor is rewarded according to his or her level of contribution with one of a kind experiences, merchandise or physical goods. (Not equity in the venture, though the recent passage of the JOBS act will soon change this.) The Internet’s best crowdfunding websites inform interested parties about the project at hand, details the rewards offered, and are updated with new information as the project progresses.
Ideas that are commonly crowdfunded and brought to life through the magic of crowdsourcing include self-published books, independent video games, independent movies and music CD albums, and even community projects, like urban gardens. Even though the idea behind crowdfunding isn’t new, its popularity has exploded thanks to the recent multimillion-dollar successes such as Double Fine Adventure and the Pebble: E-Paper Watch have come via the Internet herding humanity together into one space. If you have a dream but you lack the cash to make it soar, crowdfunding might be your best option.
Need a platform? Here are five of the Internet’s best crowdfunding websites:
KickStarter – Arguably the biggest name in crowdfunding platforms, KickStarter’s support for video pitches goes a long way to make project seem more personal. Artists and game designers are especially drawn to Kickstarter, as the platform makes it easy to offer incentives for people who pledge. Kickstarter does operate on a deadline system: if the target amount isn’t reached by a certain date, the funding falls through and nobody’s credit card is charged.
IndieGoGo – IndieGoGo is a user-friendly site that appeals to artists, designers, and movie-makers. Unlike Kickstarter, IndieGoGo allows project organizers to close a project before the target amount of funding is reached, but transaction fees go up from 4% to 9%.
RocketHub – Like Kickstarter and IndieGogo, RocketHub is one of the most popular platforms for crowdsourcing and crowdfunding new projects and businesses. Billing itself as “the world’s funding machine,” it provides a ready vehicle for raising money for not only entrepreneurs, but also artists, scientists, bedroom hackers and neighborhood inventors. Interestingly, some submissions can quality given LaunchPad Opportunities, or promotional programs that add more visibility, in the real world, e.g. a showing of your artwork in a popular gallery.
DonorsChoose – DonorsChoose is ideal for teachers that are looking to fund needs in classrooms and schools. It’s definitely a welcome idea, given how cash-strapped most schools are these days. Over 7,000 donors have reached over 45,000 kids.
33needs – 33needs is another service that’s tailored to small entrepreneurs. It’s a web-based application that connects hopefuls to interested investors. Projects are divided into several categories, including “The Planet,” “Education,” “Community,” etc.
For more information on crowdfunding and available platforms, visit:
[Image source: Venturebeat]