A Beginner’s Guide To Crowd Funding

What Is Crowd Funding?

Crowd funding is an online system by which anyone, be they an individual person or a large company, can seek funding for a project or donations to a cause. This project can be anything, ranging from making a video game, supporting a charity, or even making potato salad. The creator tries to get their project funded by making a pitch to a target market through a dedicated product page on a website, and then wait to see whether they receive a sufficient amount of money. Many crowd funded projects will state a monetary goal, which is what the creator believes to be the minimum amount of money necessary to fund their project.

Why Should I Donate To A Crowd Funded Project?

There are several draws for those who donated to crowd funded projects, chief among them is the ability to directly support a creator of something they like, and not having to go through a third party to do so. Many crowd funded projects are small in scale, and can be run by one or two people. This level of direct interaction is appealing to many people, and they respect that the creators are striking out independently, as opposed to seeking funding from a corporate backer. Another big draw is that these projects are often those that can only be funded by a loyal community. An example of this can be seen in Tim Schafer and Double Fine Studios’ successful campaign for and launch of the adventure game Broken Age. This is a game that was funded by a fan base that has a great amount of passion for adventure style games, a genre that has recently been waning in popularity and was turned down by several major publishers. Projects that appeal to a niche audience or have nostalgic value are much more likely to be produced through a platform such as crowd funding, where they can reach their most dedicated audiences directly.

How Do I Donate To A Crowd Funded Project?

Most crowd funded projects are hosted online, with donations being made by credit/debit card, PayPal, etc. While projects can pop up anywhere, some of the most well know and trusted sites include Go Fund Me, Indie GoGo, and Kickstarter. The types of projects and the funding goal on each site can vary wildly, since they are user created. Furthermore, some projects may include stretch goals, which are incentives that, when met, result in things such as a free copy of a game for its supporters, or a donator’s name being listed in the credits of a crowd funded movie if they donate a certain amount. While donating to a project you feel strongly about may seem like a no brainer, there are several aspects to consider before making a donation. Firstly, a donation is not a guaranteed contract for receiving a completed project. If a project does not meet its goal or is cancelled, the creator is under no obligation to reimburse the supporter, because it is a donation, not a payment for a product. Next it is important to consider the creator, and whether or not they have the means to complete the project they are promising. If a person says they are planning on filming a movie with donations, but they only have a two person team, perhaps supporting them is not the wisest idea without obtaining more information first.

What Does It All Mean?

Having the ability to support independent creators directly is something that has been largely lacking in our economy, and in this aspect, crowd funding platforms are a great addition to the creative landscape. They are growing everyday in popularity, and the list of successfully supported projects is getting longer and longer. As this method of support continues to come into its own, it will come to be seen as a viable way for even big name creators to take on passion projects and give back to the dedicated audiences that got them to where they are. As it stands, crowd funded projects should be approached with caution, and with the mindset that you are not buying a product, but rather donating to a cause. That way, when a project you supported goes on to be a success, it is a bonus that comes along with supporting a creator you respect in an endeavor that means something to you.

This article was written by Lucas Woodward, a writer for dusk magazine. 

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