Crowdfunding - using social media to raise money for your business
Businesses and organizations large and small have embraced almost every type of social media, using various products in ways that perhaps their creators never imagined, to promote or build their business. One of the fastest growing methods of financing for companies and non-profits is crowdfunding.
If you are not familiar with the concept, it is basically an online campaign that is used to help finance a project with donations of amounts of money, large and small. These "investments" many times can come with incentives, such as a share of profits or in the case of the film industry, anything from walk on roles to meeting stars of the film.
Anyone who follows the film and television industry is familiar with various projects that have used Kickstarter to finance their projects. Most notable of late is the Veronica Mars movie that has been embraced by fans with donations, large and small using Kickstarter.
A good introduction to the concept and some of the issues that have surrounded this method of funding would be a three part series that the The Globe and Mail ran on crowdfunding:
Part one (published May 3, 2012) : Wealth of options: How to pick a crowdfunding site
Part two (published May 10, 2012) : A kickstart to raising funds on Kickstarter
Part three (published May 17, 2012): Crowdfunding: the equity divide between borders
Unfortunately, as with many things around social media, the reality and the law do not meet. Check out this recent article in Forbes discussing the state of crowdfunding in the United States. In Canada, check out the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada's website for information on regulations in various provinces as well as research and news items.
Want to learn more? TPL's upcoming small business programming kicks off with Crowdfunding for Beginners, at North York Central Library on September 5, 2013, with speakers Craig Asano (National Crowdfunding Association of Canada) and James Cooper (www.kisckstarterforfilmmakers.com).
And of course check out a few books on the topic: