Just a few short years ago, if you wanted to start a business selling a new kind of bicycle or raise money to make an independent movie, you had no choice but to scrape together funding on your own or hope a generous friend or relative might be willing to put up seed capital. Now it is possible to look to the online masses and leverage crowdfunding, not only to raise money to fund your idea, but also to generate excitement and build a community of supporters. Crowdfunding is truly a game changer for those of us without easy access to capital for our projects!

What is crowdfunding, exactly?

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding promotion for one of the author’s films.

Crowdfunding involves raising money through small contributions from a large number of people using online platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or GoFundMe. It has the potential to level the playing field for independent creators, entrepreneurs, and artists. Crowdfunding can also bring together communities, driving the pooling of resources to support people in need, to overcome bureaucratic or logistical obstacles, or to provide public benefit.

Crowdfunding is a powerful trend, and has wide-reaching implications. It has the potential to broaden grassroots support for new art, cutting-edge business concepts, and local causes, thereby weakening the hold of conservative gatekeepers who might otherwise be unwilling to risk supporting ideas that are too bold or innovative. There are now numerous crowdfunding services and accompanying support tools, making crowdfunding viable for an increasingly wide range of projects and causes, from the personal to the professional.

But crowdfunding is imperfect, and not every campaign is successful! For your campaign to reach its fundraising and project goals, a lot of hard work and careful planning will be required. You must consider the benefits and pitfalls of running a campaign and ensure that your enthusiasm is tempered with a realistic understanding of what crowdfunding can achieve. In the coming chapters, we’ll take a look at whether crowdfunding is right for your project, and how you can maximize your chances for success.

This is an excerpt from Crowdfunding Basics In 30 Minutes, by Michael J. Epstein. To learn more about crowdfunding or to purchase a copy of the book, visit the About Crowdfunding Basics In 30 Minutes