Crowdfunding: How to Raise Funds for your Business, Cause or Project


Katherine: I am a Stay at Home Mom. I have been married to my husband for 11 years and have a son who just turned 10. I have recently been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and have started cooking gluten-free meals for my family, which has been an enormous adventure and learning experience and I am eager to share all of my discoveries and tips with other families. Our family is also living with autism. My son has autism and seizure disorder, and we have been very involved with the use of applied behavioral analysis teaching at his wonderful school, and at home, since he was two.

Katherine writes a weekly column about gluten-free information and crowdfunding for MadameDeals.

WE THE CROWD — How to Raise Funds for your Business, Cause or Project

I’m writing about crowdfunding today! If you don’t know what it is, but you are interested in starting a business, raising funds for a good cause, or getting money to write a book, or make a video, keep reading!!! This is the first of a series of posts that I am going to do on this topic, and we are thinking about having a contest to help some lucky person crowdfund a project of their own at the end of the series! Follow along, and start thinking about what you might want to submit as your campaign!

A few of months ago Madame Deals and I attended The 2012 Darden Entrepreneurship Conference, “Pathways to Entrepreneurship,” at the University of Virginia. One of the sessions was a panel discussion about crowd funding. We were both very interested in this idea, and decided that it would be something that all of you would be interested in too.

So what is the big deal with crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a way to allow people or companies to raise funds from a large group of people; some that they know, and some that they don’t know. In this day and age it is accomplished on website platforms and can involve thousands of people; each perhaps only contributing as little as $20-$100 each. There are no upfront costs to launch a campaign to get something funded. It is simple. Set up a campaign page with a video and information about what you want to do with the money you raise. Set a funding goal and time frame. Get the word out. Use the social networks.

And who is the crowd you might ask? We are the crowd!! We are the people who can fund each other and get something back for ourselves. We can do it now through a donation based scenario, but, within a year we should be part of a crowd that will be able to spend what one might spend on a lotto ticket on an investment in a company! Yeah, I’m thinking of it like a little bit of control over my weekly lotto ticket!

Why do I say within a year we can invest with crowdfunding? Well, currently, crowdfunding for non-accredited investors only allows for donation based funding, which may involve a pre-sale of a product through a donation with a future delivery promise. As of today, crowdfunding is a very cool option for funding, however, within a year it will be transforming into a much more exciting option thanks to something Congress passed last summer called the “Jobs Act”. The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, often referred to as “The Jobs Act” is a law that should help small businesses by changing securities regulations so that it is easier to get funding. It should ultimately enable non-accredited investors to invest through crowdfunding and expect a monetary return on investment (equity based crowdfunding). I will explain this in more detail in a later post. By the way, “the Jobs Act” had strong bipartisan support. Go Congress!!!

There are lots of websites which provide platforms for crowdfunding. Three well known crowdfunding platforms are Kickstarter, Rockethub and Indiegogo. Each platform has its own focus, pricing and requirements.

So what does one of these campaigns look like? Here is a fun example of a crowdfunding campaign for a children’s book called “Chomp, Chomp, Chomp” by a company called Knowonder which is on the website.

Over the next few weeks we are going to break down a crowdfunding campaign step by step and make sure that you all have all the information you need to run a successful campaign. Start thinking about what YOUR CAMPAIGN will be!!!!

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