Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Does Crowdfunding Really Work
The problem I have run into is crowdfunding is based on your circles: Family, friends, coworkers. You solicit them directly. Unfortunately my circles are rather small, and in this economy most are struggling to make ends meet. I was lucky enough to raise $60 toward my trailer (http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/tiny-house-trailer/x/2316888) and $40 toward the care and feeding of my Podcast (http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rancho-no-dinero-podcast/x/2316888). I am very grateful for the contributions I have raised, but disappointed at the same time. I am also not really surprised. Crowdfunding has the same kind of issues that home-based businesses run into. I see lots of fellow teachers try to raise money by getting involved in home-based businesses such as ThirtyOne, Tupperware, Origami Owl, etc. The problem is that once you run out of friends, family, and coworkers who are interested in buying things, your customer base kinda dries up. Crowdfunding on a website such as Indiegogo.com and GoFundMe.com is supposed to expose you to others not directly in your circle. However, this requires you to jump through certain hoops to get exposure. Releasing all the information on your FB friends and Google+ contacts, your email lists, etc. is a first step and getting a certain percentage of donations from those folks within 24 hours is required. Unfortunately I was not successful raising that money immediately and I think it unethical to release my FB friends list and email information on people so that they can be spammed and solicited constantly. Also, many campaigns are a popularity contest that smacks of high school. I was never really good at sucking up to the "cool kids" (even though I found out later at a high school reunion I was considered one of them, who knew?). Getting the publicity to draw out interest from those outside of my circles was the reason I created Indiegogo campaigns.
My campaigns end in 67 hours and I am rather disappointed and sad. My friends encourage me and say I should run them again, but I am unsure. I am just not really certain how to go about getting the exposure I need. I have been soliciting corporate sponsorship as well and am hoping to partner with some great companies. But if I run the Indiegogo campaigns again I will have to decided if I want to expose my FB friends and email circles to the potential spam slam in order to gain personally. Ethically I am just not sure I can do that.
What is your opinion, reader? Would you release your contacts to a third party in this case?