Mad cash: a beginner's primer on crowdfunding your dream project

Crowdfunding
By: Rocío LaraCC BY 2.0
Have you been mulling over an idea for a new business or a fun side project? Kickstarter and Indiegogo changed the game for a lot of hopeful inventors, filmmakers, artists, philanthropists, and business mavens, and made crowdfunding mainstream.

Crowdfunding is what it sounds like: crowdsourcing funds for a project or business. There are two main types: donation-based and investment-based (where the people or business donating often gets financial benefit from their investment). You've probably heard of Kickstarter already, one of the main donation-based crowdfunding tools. It has some very famous and some very controversial projects under its belt (see here and here).

The gist of these donation-based crowdfunding sites is that regular folks contribute relatively small amounts of money to a project, thus allowing a project without much funding to get off the ground. The people donating might not get any value from the contribution, or they might gain some benefit based on what the creator is offering.

One of our offbeat vendors, Carly from Two Spoons PhotographyThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them, funded a really cool project through Indiegogo: The Richmond Tarot Project. Talk about a kick-ass art project that ties in to her main business (and this is why we heart our vendors so hard).

Let's talk about some go-to sites for crowdfunding and weight them all out:

Kickstarter

Kickstarter is mainly for creative projects, and not right for charities, causes, and personal financing. You can offer incentives for donating, and the name is super recognizable (meaning people are more likely to trust it with their donation). But you only get the money if you reach your goal.

Indiegogo

Indiegogo allows donations for all sorts of projects — creative, charitable, personal finance, etc. They also allow international projects, and you can get the money even if you don't reach your goal (but a little more of it goes to Indiegogo with that option).

RocketHub

RocketHub boasts two kinds of promotion for your project: straight-up donations or certain offers where you partner with existing companies to expose your project to various publicity outlets.

GoFundMe

Through GoFundMe, you can raise money for a cause for personal finance, like medical bills, schooling, or if your business' fans want to show you some monetary love just for being rad.

Quirky

Quirky has a focus on products and inventions, and allows for community participation in the creation of them.

Tugboat Yards

This one is dear to our hearts, specifically since we started using it as a way for readers to show their support financially. It has a focus on media like blogs, podcasts, videos, and zines. This one is a little different because it doesn't need an end date and can be a permanent addition to your funding needs.

There are soooo many others, so check out this list for more. Whether you're thinking about a photography art project, a DIY kit for wedding decor, or inventing the next Diva Cup, it's worth checking out these sites.

What's your dream project?

  1. Thank you for this information! I've been dreaming for years about starting my own business, and I think my husband is finally on board. (yay!) We hate the idea of taking out a loan, but getting donations in exchange for something from the business once it is up and running is an interesting idea.

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