Welcome to my personal website. My passion is making valuable connections between people and ideas. I’m retained by several organizations to do exactly that and enjoy taking on special projects.
I’m based in the UK at the moment and hope you will be in touch if you think that I can help you in some way or if you think that we could work together. Please have a read about the sort of things I’m up to.
Monday 15th April 2013, 5:22pm
I tell you what seems to be “all the rage”, as my Grandmother might have said.
In basic terms, this involves putting up a page online, describing a project which is looking for money, and then inviting people to contribute.
Wikipedia, ever-snappy, describes it thus;
“the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.”
As opposed to scrabbling around friends and family, you’re opening it right up.
Blowing the bloody doors off, as Sir Michael Caine might add.
This passing-of-money can take a number of forms.
With some sites, like Kiva, started in 2005, now supporting projects in 67 countries, it’s a loan, and can be as little as $25.
On others, it’s more of a gift, because you want to see the project brought to life. Aside from a warm feeling, you expect ‘nothing in return’.
These perks might include a digital subscription to the publication you’re part-funding or a ticket to the first gig of the band you’re helping to support.
Some platforms go the whole hog, enabling you to ‘invest’ your hard-earned cash in projects and companies, receiving shares in return. Leading examples of this include Seedrs and Crowdcube, the latter of which has helped raise over £5.5m since it started.
Finally, for the more socially minded, Buzzbnk (launched in 2011 by a team including serial entrepreneur Michael Norton) aims itself at ‘social ventures’. Meanwhile, SpaceHive (led by former Sunday Times journalist Chris Gourlay) is for UK public space projects (for example, the playground which needs refurbishing).
So, that’s your whistle-stop tour around some of the latest and greatest sites on the crowd-funding map. Confused yet?
Well, here are a few thoughts and ideas I’ve been having on the subject -I’d love to know what you think.
From the point of view of someone raising money using crowd-funding platforms, a few thoughts…
For me, the lines are becoming blurred, and in a positive way.
Increasingly, my ears prick up at the word ‘social’, because I’m keen to know what its users would describe as anti-social. Kickstarter is full of ‘social’ projects, isn’t it?
What would an anti-social enterprise look like, and how would we describe its customers?
Last week I met with the CEO of a brilliant international charity. She talked about the fundraising efforts of its beneficiaries and I was intrigued to know how many of them tended to ‘raise’ their money. It seemed that most of the cash came in the form of donations. Personally, I’d be interested to know how charities would feel if the majority of their income came through them (or their helpers) ‘selling stuff’, as opposed to through traditional donations. Of course, this is happening more and more, with charities setting up trading arms.
My prediction: Today, the term Fundmaking, as opposed to Fundraising does not appear in the Oxford Dictionary or Wikipedia. In five years, it will.
The ways in which we raise and make money are evolving. Relationships between buyer and seller are shifting. Investor becomes customer, donor becomes beneficiary.
One final prediction: The biggest crowd-funding sites of tomorrow will move beyond money. They will give founders the tools to ask for talent, resources, introductions, space and more. Hundreds of other things, beyond simply cash.
Money might make the world go round, but what is it?
“a current medium of exchange”
In a world in which a single person can ask millions of others for help, we are just beginning to discover the smartest ways in which that call for support might be answered.