Most crowdfunding campaigns experience a Valley of Death—a trough of activity that follows the initial surge of interest and precedes the final rush to the finish line. Envision a two-humped camel. The first hump rises up as the campaign team reaches out to their network. Friends, contacts and family members contribute and begin to share the campaign among their own networks.

After the initial funding comes in, there is a lull—but don’t be fooled into thinking that nothing is going on. If your first hump came up high enough and fast enough (about 30% of your goal in the first four days), then the lull is really the time for you to activate the second hump. The second hump is made up of people who fund the campaign because they have been referred by early funders, or who respond to your own outreach and marketing efforts. They have confidence in the project because they see the size of the first hump and are reassured by the trust other funders have shown. The Valley of Death is not really a dead time at all — but rather, a time to build on the trust of your first backers and reach out strongly to a wider audience.

This graph comes from the forthcoming book, New Routes to Funding, by our friend from the UK, Barry James. The book is full of data compiled from nearly 500,000 crowdfunding campaigns around the world. Pre-order your copy here and check out Barry’s work at


The Local Crowd (, a locally-focused crowdfunding platform, has selected four rural communities to serve as Demonstration Sites for a USDA funded research project.

The Local Crowd’s platform offers features and educational programs designed to help rural communities activate entrepreneurial ecosystems and spur local investment. The two-year USDA Small Business Innovation Research grant will support the launch of 15 Demonstration Sites, with the ultimate goal of commercializing a new tool that provides better access to capital for businesses and organizations across rural America.

The four communities selected to be Demonstration Sites are Monroe, Georgia; Muskogee, Oklahoma; Newton, North Carolina; and 3CORE Inc., California (serving Tehama, Butte and Glenn Counties). They will join the communities selected in the first three rounds of applications including Bozeman, Montana; Butte, Montana; Laramie, Wyoming; Lower Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Texas; Golden Hills, Iowa; Goshen, Indiana; Monadnock Region, New Hampshire; Oregon, Illinois; Sauk Valley Region, Illinois; Teton Valley, Idaho; and Wood County, Wisconsin.

“We are thrilled to be working with such a strong group of dedicated, diverse and visionary communities,” said Diane Wolverton, Co-Founder and CEO of The Local Crowd. “During the review process, each community team submitted a vision statement about how being a Demonstration Site would impact their community. These vision statements capsulized their commitment to ‘mobilize individuals to invest in their towns, empower people to create wealth, develop funding options for businesses and bring people together for a common goal.” We are looking forward to great results from this dynamic and extremely motivated team!”

The Demonstration Site teams recently began a six-week online training program to introduce them to the crowdfunding software and support successful implementation of the platform. The target date for launch within each of the communities is late 2017.

graphic map showing The Local Crowd demonstration sites across 13 states