Posts from crowdfunding

Kickstarter Year In Review

Our portfolio company Kickstarter had another fantastic year in 2016.

They put this web presentation together to show what happened.

Things like turning smog into jewelry and turning subways ads into photos of cats are the kinds of things that always seem to happen on Kickstarter.

And I am always amazed and inspired by the creativity that people have inside of them and Kickstarter helps to pull out of them.

The End Of Pay and Pray

For years philanthropic organizations have bought fundraising software from the likes of Blackbaud and a host of other software companies, large and small, in the hope that these tools would help them raise money. The term I like for these fundraising software packages is “pay and pray.” There is no correlation between the amount of money a non-profit pays and the amount of money they raise with these tools.

I think we witnessed the end of pay and pray yesterday with the announcement that our portfolio company CrowdRise is joining forces with GoFundMe to create a single crowdfunding platform that will serve the needs of person to person fundraising, event based fundraising, fundraising for philanthropic organizations, and corporate social responsibility.

Over the past five years, CrowdRise built a suite of crowdfunding tools for philanthropic organizations, events like marathons and other races, and corporations that want to participate in social causes. Those web-based tools are used by tens of thousands of organizations to raise funds organically over the Internet. Now those tools sit on top of the world’s largest platform for charitable giving. In the six years that it has been around, GoFundMe has been used by over 2mm people to raise money from over 25mm donors. Over $3bn has been raised on GoFundMe since 2010.

I think the new GoFundMe has become the social charitable platform of choice, much like LinkedIn is the social platform for business relationships, Facebook is the social platform for staying in touch with friends and family, and Twitter is the social platform of choice for staying on top of what is happening. We will all have profiles on GoFundMe which speak to our charitable giving history and we will all have stored payment credentials on GoFundMe that facilitate one-click social action. In time, everyone who wants to raise funds from the billions of people who are on the Internet will use GoFundMe to do that. And everyone means you and me, it means charities large and small, it means corporations who want to light up social action in their employees, and it means events that want to offer charitable fundraising. One platform can do all of this and it will do all of this.

The other thing that is important to understand about a crowdfunding platform, like GoFundMe or Crowdrise, is that there are no upfront or fixed fees or minimums required to use the platform. Most crowdfunding platforms take 5% of the amount raised plus a credit card fee. So there is a direct correlation between the amount you spend for these tools and the amount you raise with them. And many charitable organizations that use these tools pass these fees onto the donor which means they keep 100% of what they raise on these platforms.

This is a revolution in the way money is raised for good causes. There is now a large scale network that exists to support charitable giving. And the tools now exist for any person or organization to participate in this network. And these tools cost relatively little, or nothing, to use. No more pay and pray.

Funding Friday: make/100

Our portfolio company Kickstarter has opened up the year with a challenge; launch a project in January in which you make 100 of something. It is called make/100.

Here are the details:

What is Make 100?

Make 100 is a creative initiative focused on editions of 100. Kick off 2017 by challenging yourself to bring your brightest idea to life, x100.

How can I take part?

Getting involved in Make 100 is simple: just launch a Kickstarter project this January featuring your idea as a limited-edition reward capped at 100 backers. Then, share your live project with us: make100@kickstarter.com.

If you’ve been wanting to do a project on Kickstarter but just haven’t had the right catalyst, maybe this is it. If you do a make/100 project, let me know in addition to Kickstarter and I’ll feature as many of them as I can on subsequent funding fridays this month.

Kickstarter Live

Live video broadcasting is happening all around us. From youth oriented services like our portfolio company YouNow to the largest platforms on the Internet like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, people are turning their camera on themselves and “going live.”

So it makes sense that crowdfunding platforms would embrace this trend. The leader in doing that is, not surprisingly, our portfolio company Kickstarter which tends to be the innovator in the crowdfunding sector.

Kickstarter rolled out their Live offering to all creators yesterday after testing it out with a handful of creators over the past few months. I like this bit from Kickstarter’s blog post announcing this new feature:

The key to Kickstarter Live is its intimacy. It brings creators and the people supporting them right into the same room together. And it encourages personal connection. Viewers can ask questions, chat, send selfies, select rewards, and back the project — all while tuned in.

Going live on Kickstarter allows the creator(s) to connect with their backers and potential bakers in real-time, answer questions, demo the project, and generate enthusiasm for the project.

Here are some projects that went live on Kickstarter yesterday:

You can follow Kickstarter on Twitter or Facebook and get alerts when creators go live. It’s a fun way to connect with creators, learn about their projects, and back them.