Kickstarter is the largest platform for crowdfunding a new business or creative project. Alongside it, the relatively new LiveTree is a just a sapling. But it’s growing.
When considering your options, there are two big questions you need to answer: Who are you funding for? And who are you funding from?
Who are you funding for?
Sounds pretty obvious: what is the project and how will the money be used? This will become the central framework to any good campaign, establishing why you need the money, and why anyone should hand it over.
To an extent you’re also funding for, well, the crowdfunder. Upwards of 8% of the money you raise through a Kickstarter campaign will go in fees.
But have they persuaded you why you should hand over your money?
Let’s have a look at what you get for that fee. The Kickstarter model relies on the creator’s own social media network to form the initial donor base. Kickstarter is a way to organize and activate your tribe, it does nothing to create or build it.
It’s not all about the money
Kickstarter follows an all-or-nothing set up, so you only get charged a fee if you reach your target, as do your donors. The idea is that it takes away the fear of giving money to a project that will be a dud, because it guarantees social proof, which is what we all experience before watching a new series on Netflix: if I’m going to sacrifice another twenty hours of my life mindlessly absorbed in another program, it needs at least three unprompted shoutouts on Facebook before I do.
If we’ve learned anything from recent global events, it’s that social (media) proof can’t guarantee we a good idea will get approval. In a great blog, Dale Pearson describes how ‘group-think and insularity have been hard-coded into our everyday lives via a vast online echo chamber’.
Social proof is no longer enough, and without it your project might sink. In fact as of August 2016, the success rate of fully funding a project on Kickstarter was just 35.85 percent.
Dale is right that this generation needs to be not just the ‘online generation’ but also the ‘networking generation’. But don’t worry, you wont have to engage your racist uncle in debate to break out of this echo chamber – LiveTree will help build a network of creatives (that you don’t have to see every Christmas).
Who are you funding from?
Like Kickstarter, LiveTree uses a rewards system, where a successful campaign will send thanks and goodies to its contributors. Unlike its rival, however, LiveTree also offers supporters the opportunity to become ‘branches’, and receive commission every time they promote further fundraising. Branches can support other projects and gain access to a network which extends into creative communities and beyond.
This means anyone in the LiveTree network could end up supporting and promoting your idea.
Crowdfunding has taken off partly as a result of the difficulty in accessing individuals and organisations who traditionally support such projects. What if, as well as developing an online community, you were able to open up opportunities with industry funding bodies and professionals? LiveTree does more than just provide a platform, they work with creators to support development before, during, and after their campaigns.
After the campaign, LiveTree helps creators to move beyond funding, and connects them with respected suppliers. If you don’t reach your target, you have the chance to make your case directly to your donors.
When an organisation is motivated by building communities and developing creative projects, it is in their interests to nurture them from the start. Projects need more than just capital to get started. It will ensure those projects are ready to fly before being launched, and will provide a network of branches to call home.
Create one today. Get growing.