“Access to affordable financing is of central importance, especially if we are to satisfy the development goals which are the heart of this conference. There is the prospect of crowdfunding being a viable solution for helping Jamaica, and other countries, channel financing to small and medium enterprises to grow private sector investment”
Minister of Finance Dr Peter Phillips endorsing Crowdfunding at the United Nations Financing for Development Conference in the week of Sunday July 12th 2015
This seems to be a popular bubbling Topic in Jamaica ever since Minister of Finance Dr Peter Phillips made it known at the United Nations Financing for Development Conference (The Jamaica Observer, 2015, July 22) held in the week of Sunday July 12th 2015 that Crowdfunding was a “genuinely exciting” way of “democratizing finance”.
Quite true, as Crowdfunding, a form of equity financing involving soliciting donations (Deer, 2013, June 25) from anonymous supporters in exchange for a share of the profits or end product. Locally, we already have Crowdfunding services such as iSupportJamaica that draw upon support from the Diaspora to crowdfund local projects and initiatives.
But what about international Crowdfunding websites. Are then any that cater to Internationals and by extension Jamaicans?
Patria Kay-Aarons and Crowdfunding – How bad marketing can ruin a Crowdfunding campaign
Yes there is, but not without the danger of being labeled as a “scammer” (Aarons, 2015), as candy entrepreneur Patria Kay-Aarons, a meteorologist who own a local Jamaican start-up called Sweetie Confectionary, claims is the reason she was denied access to funds for her fledgling all-natural candy company.
However, it also appears that she wasn’t denied because she was considered a scammer, but because her crowdfunding application was weak (Campbell, 2015) on community benefits as well as presentation, the main heart-strings that you have to play in order to get international donors (read Americans!) to fund your venture!
Crowdfunding is also available for Political parties and causes, and being used by Political Parties as well, and is not just businesses, non-profits and artiste.
The best known example being the crowdfunding of the Pedestal for the Statue of Liberty in the Summer of 1885 (Pricco, 2013) and more recently Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008 and 2012, which raise the bulk of his campaign funds from small donation directly from voters on his website.
A breakdown of his 2008 campaign shows the following:
- US$750 million raised from individual donations
- US$600 million raised from more than 3 million small donors
- US$86 was the average donation
He repeated the process again to defeat Mitt Romney to win the 2012 Presidential Elections as shown:
- US$631 million raised from individual donations
- US$214 million raised from small donors
Best of all, Barack Obama, based on traffic to his website, was able to gauge his Democratic support base. Thus, his campaign managers knew he’d won long before the polls did, thanks to his crowdfunding strategy, which was duplicated by Democrats and Republicans alike.
So known that the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) knows where they can get their money from to fund their General Election Campaign (Spaulding, 2015), how can you avoid the pitfalls of Patria Kay-Aarons (Aarons, 2015) when it comes to crowdfunding?
That comes next, dear reader!!
Crowdfunding for Jamaicans – Relatives abroad and Crowdfunding just for Internationals
So first, what crowdfunding websites are available to Internationals and Jamaicans?
Actually all of them are, just that for some, you’ll need an American address, which a family relative or friend living in US of A can help you with, depending on how well you get along with them.
Interestingly, this is the same strategy that you can use to earn money online via referrals (Deer, 2015, June 8) as well as applying for Paypal Prepaid Card (Deer, 2015, March 14), as your family abroad already have the advantage of being within the US of A.
For Jamaicans and International Crowdfunding (Burma, 2015), the following require you to have no foreign connections whatsoever:
Ok, so now you know where all the good International Crowdfunding sites that will fund Jamaicans are located. How do you ensure that you have a successful Crowdfunding campaign, no matter what route you take?
How Jamaicans can be successful at Crowdfunding – Community benefits and Presentation are the main Notes to play
To be successful at Crowdfunding requires the same skills that will make you a good self-published author (Deer, 2015, August 8) of books; you have to pay attention to detail.
It is true that research from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the National University of Singapore, and Nanyang Technological University of Singapore study of that Crowdfunding on the website Kiva imply a bias towards attractive female (Anzuoni, 2015) crowdfunders from the Third world.
But this should not deter you from seeking success.
First, before you start your Crowdfunding campaign on ANY website, makes sure you’re already got a fan and support base (Kumparak, 2013) for your product, service or idea. This should be a website, blog, or social media page such a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest and you should make it a habit to repost frequently.
Once you set up your Crowdfunding run on one of these websites, it’s best to make pitches in proper English. Avoid the use of colloquial English as much as possible.
Good to start off with a strong fanbase who can initially pledge money to seed your campaign. You’re most likely to have a successful campaign if you can get some initial contributions from your parents to start the ball rolling.
Make sure your have a video that’s filmed in 1080p or higher, as better quality videos are more likely to garner donations. Having a working prototype to show off in the Crowdfunding video or original photographs taken with a professional camera makes your Crowdfunding campaign appear more authentic instead of being a studio manufactured advertisement for your product.
It’s also good to have a Crowdfunding campaign with a team (Kumparak, 2013) rather than a single individual, as you’re more likely to raise fund if can be seen to be benefitting a group rather than an individual pursuit.
Communication is important, as once you’ve got the momentum going, communicating with them at least once every five (5) days will ensure the success of your Crowdfunding project.
This allows backers to know exactly what’s going on with the product. Once all these factors are in place, and you happen to be fairly attractive and well put together, you’ll attract a lot of funding. Success is yours is you manage to achieve 25% of your funding goal within the first week.
Finally marketing is key; placing ads in the Classifieds as well as in the want ad of the Sunday Newspaper e.g. Sunday Gleaner herein Jamaica, is guaranteed to drive more traffic to your Crowdfunding site (Deer, 2015, June 8) and thus garner more views and possibly more donations.
If possible, place adverts n the Newsapers abroad as well as on Social Media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
Potential donors are in their state of relaxation and repose reading their Sunday Gleaner and even watching Television. Thus an ad campaign on Radio and television (Deer, 2015, July 20) with a shortened Bit.ly URL link to your Crowdfunding website is sure to gain you some donations!
So do you have a great product, services or idea that you’ve made and you need funding because you have no money or live in a Developing World Country?
Fret not, once you follow these tips, you’ll achieve Crowdfunding success on any website in 30 days!
- Aarons, P.K. (2015, May 20). Scamming Has Hit My Business. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/commentary/20150520/scamming-has-hit-my-business
- Anzuoni, M. (2015, August 3). How to Succeed in Crowdfunding: Be Thin, White, and Attractive. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/08/crowdfunding-success-kickstarter-kiva-succeed/400232/
- Barnett, C. (2013, May 8). Top 10 Crowdfunding Sites For Fundraising. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/chancebarnett/2013/05/08/top-10-crowdfunding-sites-for-fundraising/
- Burma, D. (2015 August). 7 International Crowdfunding Sites to Raise Money for Your Projects. Retrieved from http://www.crowdmapped.com/7-international-crowdfunding-sites-to-raise-money-for-your-projects/
- Campbell, J.Y. (2015, May 25). Should Scammers Be Blamed? Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/node/550847%253Fqt-article_image_video%253D1
- Deer, L. (2013, June 25). JN Foundation and JNSBL launches Jamaica’s first Crowdfunding website, iSupport Jamaica – Local Crowdfunding to the rescue of Jamaican Innovators so you don’t have to be The Lone Ranger. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2013/06/jn-foundation-and-jnsbl-launches.html
- Deer, L. (2015, August 8). How and Where to Self-Publish and promote your e-Book as an Indie Writer. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/how-to-self-publish-promote-e-books-indie-writer/
- Deer, L. (2015, January 23). 20% of Jamaican MSME’s Fail to get Bank Loans – Why MSME’s need Business Plans, Marketing Plans and Market Research. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2015/01/20-of-jamaican-msmes-fail-to-get-bank.html
- Deer, L. (2015, July 20). Why App Developers, Celebrities and TV Ads increase App Downloads. Retrieved from http://www.geezam.com/why-app-developers-celebrities-and-tv-ads-increase-app-downloads/
- Deer, L. (2015, June 8). How Jamaicans can make Money from Referral Websites. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/jamaicans-money-referral-websites-2/
- Deer, L. (2015, March 14). How Jamaican make money online using @Payoneer – @PayPal, @paxuminc, @ecoPayz and @okpaycom Prepaid MasterCard Alternatives. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2015/03/Jamaicans-Money-Payoneer-Paypal-Paxum-EcoPay-OkPay.html
- Kumparak, G. (2013, October 29). Tips From Indiegogo’s CEO On How To Succeed When Crowdfunding. Retrieved from http://techcrunch.com/2013/10/29/crowdfunding-tips/
- Pricco, D. (2013). Political Crowdfunding – How Politicians are learning to harness the Crowd. Retrieved from http://crowdexpert.com/articles/crowdfunding-in-politics/
- Spaulding, G. (2015, August 13). JLP Strapped For Cash. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20150813/jlp-strapped-cash
- The Jamaica Observer (2015, July 22). Phillips: Crowdfunding viable solution for Jamaica. Retrieved from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Phillips–Crowdfunding-viable-solution-for-Jamaica-_19219336