I like candles—not only for their soft light and cozy ambience—but also for the way they illustrate the concept of sharing ideas. When one candle is lit — you can light another and another and another until a whole room of candles is lit. Humans are like that. When we light up, others around us light up, too. In crowdfunding, genuine, “lit-up” passion for your project can help to light up the whole community — one by one by one — like lighting all the candles in the room.

In addition, warming up the wick by lighting it for a few seconds and then extinguishing it makes it super ready to receive a new flame. Check out my cool slo-mo GIF and see how the flame literally jumps to light the unlit candle. This is like “warming up” your crowd by talking about your crowdfunding project and sharing updates well before the campaign actually begins. Then, when you push the launch button, your crowd is warm and ready to receive your light—and send you the support and funding you need!

 

Musician, artist and author Amanda Palmer wrote the book on asking, and she credits much of her knowhow to the experiences she had as a “living statue” and as a successful crowdfunder.

Asking is a core skill required for crowdfunding, yet it does not come easy. Asking makes us feel vulnerable—we worry about what people will think (I’m needy, greedy, inept or just a pest) and we fear the rejection of being told “no.” So how do we get past this? Amanda offers a key insight—the act of asking creates a connection between you and the people you ask—and when they feel connected, they want to help you.

woman performing as a bronze statue in the street to collect money

I saw this unfold last week when I was in New Orleans for the CDFA National Summit. A bronze maiden stood motionless on the sidewalk as two women stopped in front of her to snap a selfie. Before they could walk away, the statue made her ask by moving her right forefinger slightly up and down, pointing toward the money box at her feet. The women observed, felt the connection, and happily stuffed some cash into her box.

Amanda Palmer’s TED talk describes how her connections with her fans made her campaign the biggest music crowdfunding campaign at the time.

“Thank you so much, you are very kind!”

Those simple words boosted my spirits and made me glad that I took the time to drop a dollar into the Bourbon Street trumpeter’s bucket. The lift he gave me reminded me of just how transformative gratitude can be. For example, I enjoy cooking up my CSA bounty and sharing containers of goodies with friends—especially one friend who receives them with extraordinary relish and delight. She sends me lots of “yum!” texts and photos of her place settings. Her gratitude lights a fire in me to step up my game—more recipes, more varieties, more giving!

Community-based crowdfunding creates opportunties for gratitude exchanges when people contribute funds, products, efforts, and outreach to a crowdfunding campaign. Exuberant appreciation from the campaign creators and community teams awakens the desire for more giving and it helps to build a culture rich in trust and social capital. These characteristics make up the strongest communities, ones that are better able to weather hardships, dream about and achieve big goals, and have more fun while doing it!

Check out this fun 90-second video with lots of stats about how gratitude is really good for you!

November 4, 2016 — The Local Crowd co-founders, Diane Wolverton and Kim Vincent  presented a workshop at the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) National Summit in New Orleans November 3. They showcased the The Local Crowd crowdfunding platform, which brings a locally-based crowdfunding tool to rural communities. The TLC model is designed for economic development groups that want to break down the barriers to capital for entrepreneurs and nonprofits in their communities. TLC gives rural communities the opportunity to set up locally-branded crowdfunding platforms that are managed by the communities themselves. The package also includes education and support to ensure a successful launch and ongoing effectiveness.

The Local Crowd received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from USDA to roll out the program nationally and test its effectiveness in up to 30 rural communities—for no charge to the community. Many Demonstration Sites have been selected—representing rural communities in Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire—and more will soon come on line. During their presentation in New Orleans, the TLC team showcased the opportunity for communities to apply for the Local Crowd’s final round of Demonstration Site applications. They provided an overview of the crowdfunding industry and its relevance to capital formation for rural communities and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

The PowerPoint slides from the presentation are available here.