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Crowdfunding with a Twist

Updated on November 24, 2015
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Crowdfunding websites have become more popular recently. Whether a person needs to raise money for medical bills from a car accident, or even could use some cash after a bout with cancer, the modern way to raise funds has become increasingly dependent on creating a crowdfunding website.

By creating a webpage where people can donate, it allows a person to raise money for a cause in an efficient manner while also giving the creator a platform to get the word out to a lot of people. What is also nice for the people who use a crowdfunding site is that it is easy to log on and check the progress of how the cause is doing.

Social media has been a driving force in this form of "advertising for a cause." Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others have been used so people can let everyone know about their fundraising website and post a link to it. By posting a link on a website such as Facebook, it gets the word out and creates more traffic and awareness for the cause.

Kickstarter Fundraising

One website that is currently used for raising funds is called Kickstarter. Kickstarter is unique because it describes the project to the site viewer and tries to "sell" a commitment. For example, I am aware of a man by the name of Kyle who was desperately trying to raise money for his own sports website. On his Kickstarter page, he stressed the reasons why his future sports website should be allowed to function, and why he needed the help of donors to make it function.

This is what separates Kickstarter from the rest. Kickstarter is more of a "campaign" or "cause" site. Each person commits to a dollar amount and promises to contribute that much, but ONLY if a certain goal is met. In this case, if the sports website proposed by the aspiring web designer did not receive proper promised support by his posted deadline, then the whole idea would be nixed altogether.

In an effort to "sweeten the pot" or curb or convince donors, the sports website designer named Kyle offered various prize and recognition levels for potential donors. As an incentive for the future commitment and support that one might give to him, Kyle listed some freebies and giveaways as well as various levels of commendation in appreciation for the support. With an imposed deadline of New Year's Eve 2014, if his desired goal of committed dollars was not met, the project would be abandoned and NOBODY would have any money taken out or withdrawn or transferred.

Ultimately, he did not garner enough support by his deadline, and all the people who proposed an amount they would give to the cause were able to walk away with no dips in their banking account.

What this website does is it allows the cause creator to "gauge interest" before going all out and committing everything into the idea or function. Another example of a project I saw on Kickstarter was the idea of a building and maintaining a bobblehead museum in my hometown. The creator of the page wanted to see how much interest and financial commitment people would give to see the project happen. If the project didn't generate enough interest, it would be abandoned, but if it did get enough support, all of the committed donors would have the money withdrawn on a certain deadline date, and the project would go forward. As of this writing I do not believe the bobblehead museum is going to happen, but you never know... you just never know.


GoFundMe

Another form of fundraising online is called GoFundMe. This website differs from Kickstarter because the commitment is immediate. Kickstarter asks what you would give and commit to if the meter on the cause website reaches its goal by a certain date. GoFundMe offers the same platform for a person to describe the "story" behind the fundraising, but as far as I know there are not the "incentive levels" that Kickstarter allows you to offer.

It is very important to understand that GoFundMe contributions will be taken out and added to the fundraiser's overall tote board immediately. This is not "How much would you give to see this project work if it eventually comes to fruition?" Instead it is "How much can you give to help me out right now and how much can you afford to have come out of your account right now?"


Variation

Recently, I saw a variation that someone made to the typical GoFundMe page. Instead of just talking about her cause, she also mentioned that she would actually make a donation herself in turn. To me, the "Pay it Forward" idea has always been refreshing. I read the description that the page creator had when I found it linked from a friend's Facebook page. I was astounded that she named two other charities that she would split the proceeds with. In addition to helping her cause as a single mom who just lost her job, she also plans on splitting anything she makes from her page with two other great causes. I feel that this form of crowdfunding is the best yet! Who would have thought? Crowdfunding that contributes to crowds instead of just one person!

While I feel that this idea is innovative, the single mom still has not raised anything on her page. Be sure to read about her story and check it out at: https://www.gofundme.com/vbbq9uvp.


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