Part I: Crowdfunding is the Answer You’ve Been Avoiding
That moment when you realize that despite your reservations, crowdfunding is in fact your best option for moving forward. You’ve created a hard deadline, and other organizations and people have mobilized their resources to be in service to the deadline. It could be a release date, a launch date, or perhaps like us, your Animated book is being published.
There is something that needs be created and made generally available by the deadline. But you don’t have the finances. And you’re running out of time to get started. You’ve sought to raise the funds perhaps from investors, sales, a loan, but it hasn’t worked so far and you have no reason to believe that it will deliver in time.
Despite ambivalence towards the huge amount of work necessary for success in crowdfunding, you make the call to move forward with crowdfunding. Then the questions set in. What platform? How long a campaign? How much money to aim for? How are you going to produce a video in a few days? And how are you going to promote the campaign? This series won’t address all of them but it will get you started down the path…
Bigger is Not Always Better
That above was similar to the situation in which I found myself about a month ago. I am sharing my story and thought processes so that other projects which aim to bring something beautiful into the world can get funded and flourish.
The book launch was a month away. I am showing a friend one of the Pre-release Pacha’s Pajamas: A Story By Nature book, which incidentally is being published today by Morgan James Kids out of New York. In fact, if you act quickly you may be able to download a free Kindle version at Amazon.com.
I show them the first page. It has a picture of four kids marvelling as Pacha holds an iphone over the first illustration in the book. Above the kids, it shows the iPhone bringing the illustration to life with color. I then whip out my phone, open an augmented reality app, and have her hold the phone over the illustration of Pacha dancing on page and it comes to life.
That was another company’s app. I had a funny feeling in my stomach knowing that our Pacha Alive did not exist at the time. And knowing that we were running out of time to get the app created. I had recently found a contractor on Upwork.com that could create the app for a fraction of our planned budget and finish a solid beta in three weeks. But to make this work, I needed to get the contractor started within a week. Which meant I had to get some green energy in the door.
I had already done three Kickstarters for my business, BALANCE Edutainment. I had also done an IndieGoGo for a World Water Day event in 2015 I produced called Bless The Lake. that following summer, I led a GoFundMe campaign for one of people that helped with the event and whose home burned down. All were successful.
My prevailing thinking at the time was that Kickstarter is better for business and has a greater upside. I had watched incredulously as many gadgets, some aligned campaigns like Reading Rainbow, and even Potato salad had blown out their goals, bringing in six to seven figures.
But given the compressed nature of this campaign and the lack of prep time, IndieGoGo’s Flexible Funding program was begging me to differ; you get to keep whatever funds you raise whether you meet your goal or not. IndieGoGo also offers Fixed Funding, the “all-or-nothing” model popularized by Kickstarter, but that is not nearly as attractive on a last minute shorty.
As I dug in, I found that Indiegogo had two additional features that are helpful for a shorty. One, any time before the campaign ends, you can do a one time time extension. Two, IndieGoGo introduced a new feature in January 2015 called InDemand if you meet your goal, your campaign can stays open indefinitely and continue to raise money.
As I saw it at the time, these IndieGoGo features would:
- Remove the risk of not reaching our goal.
- Enable us to get extra time to reach the goal if we need it
- Make it easy for us accommodate stragglers.
Together, these could make quite a difference.
Dave Room, CEO. Dave’s most important identifier is Melia’s Papa. His tween-age daughter Melia is his motivation and inspiration. Since receiving a B.S. and M.S. in Engineering from Stanford University, Room has worked on the innovative edge of a number of emergent fields including yield management, life cycle costing, environmental performance measurement, intranet development, ecommerce software and renewable energy. In the process, he had leadership roles in several tech startups and a non profit he co-founded called Bay Localize. With the intention to uplift tens of millions of children worldwide, Room co-founded BALANCE Edutainment, co-authored Pacha’s Pajamas: A Story Written By Nature and executive produced the nine-award winning companion album. Dave is a SoulCollage® Facilitator and a Green For All fellow. Check out his life learnings and musings at MeliasPapa.com. Twitter: @meliaspapa.