Crowdfunding4All, The Turbo-Charged Search Engine with Benefits

Crowdfunding relies on support from the crowd, and social media is the tool to get the job done. This is currently one the biggest obstacles to crowdfunding success, which is why creative minds have been hard at work developing workarounds to level the playing field.

One of them is CF4All. I’ve been circling them since The Crowdfundamentals wrote about the search engine when they debuted last fall, curious about the status of their “find it, fund it, smarter & faster” tag, and anxious to point users their way.

They’ve been in no hurry for press, however; instead they’ve been busy building a database they call a “crowd-powered search and analytics network,” a melding of cross-platform project search with crowd wisdom. (Whether by design or not, currently searching for failed campaigns can be a futile task on major crowdfunding platforms, which makes it difficult for backers to make informed decisions and project creators hard-pressed to do detailed research before launching. Finding niche platforms that might be a perfect match for you is equally challenging.)

These vital missing pieces of marketing intelligence — funding and user data, and real-time insights — is what CF4All believe will be the game changer in the increasingly competitive environment crowdfunding has become.

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Crowdfunding Lessons From David Ogilvy and Other Pop Culture Icons

Any Mad Men fans out there? If you are you know that at the end of last season — season 6 — Don Draper managed to get himself put on an involuntary leave of absence by his fellow ad agency partners for losing it in a pitch meeting with Hershey’s execs.

“Crying like a baby,” was how Jim Cutler, a particularly antagonistic senior partner characterized Draper’s outburst.

One of the things I love about the show (besides the mod mid-century design) is that it’s full of dialogue that places us in the world of Madison Avenue advertising in the 50s and 60s. Like Cutler’s chauvinism and those morning nips of Scotch, some of it is pretty dated.

Consider how copy chief Peggy Olsen describes the creative style of the guy who’s temporarily replaced Draper: “Lou likes to write the tags first and sneak up on a strategy.”

I don’t even know what that means — except that it sounds like a bad idea.

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Stuck for Crowdfunding Rewards? Get Perkolating

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Crowdfunding is a creative act, and the perks you offer should be as creative as the project you want to fund. Your perks reflect your end of the contract in the crowdfunding deal. If you don’t put much personal thought into choosing them, there’s another campaign around the virtual corner that will. Here are some quick tips on how to make your perks count.

Rock the roll out
Get 7-9 great perks queued up for launch day, but save some goodies for key moments in your campaign. This could be when you experience a dip in funding, for example.

Think like Macy’s
It’s a time-tested strategy. “Limited time only” perks work because everyone wants that thing that is only available for a brief moment in time.

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Three Sites That Support Your Crowdfunding Effort

Each day seems to bring news of the launch of yet another tool, site, or market to aid and support a benevolent crowdfunding-industrial complex. It’s such a chore to keep up, I’m amazed I ever get any work done! Oh yeah, silly me. I guess that is my work.

Here are three sites worth a follow that help champion, promote and facilitate the crowdfunding ecosystem through education, and they do it inventively.

Forever Geek Kickstarter Store is new to the space. Up since November, it is a resource for geek fans that want to track down the geeky-cool indie products that have been funded on Kickstarter. Though they carefully research and catalog products in an array of categories, you can’t actually buy anything there. Instead there’s a ‘Buy now’ link that directs users to the site where the product can be purchased.

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Do You Know About These Twitter Functions?

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One reason I like Twitter is because it’s so simple to use. But it turns I’ve only been taking advantage of its basic functionality. If you have been, too, you could be limiting who sees your campaign updates.

Leading Characters
If you want all of your followers to see your tweet in their timeline, you must to start your tweet with a “leading character” — anything such as a simple period (.) will do — and not an @.

By starting your tweet with an @ mention only you, the person you mention, and anyone who follows both of you will see your tweet in their timelines. It will also be visible to anyone who happens to view your profile. In other words, you will see the post in your timeline, but your followers won’t see it in theirs.

I learned that Twitter came up with the leading character for people who want to boost the exposure of an account that has few followers. On the other hand, those in the know intentionally start with @ to keep an exchange private.

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Written by Rose Spinelli

Maximize Crowdfunding Engagement Using ClickToTweet

You may already be using ClicktoTweet, the fast and easy way to increase social engagement by creating tweetable links your followers and fans can share with one simple click.

Still in beta mode, some bloggers are using it very successfully. But if you’re not already doing so, you should definitely introduce it into the narrative copy of your campaign as well as other crowdfunding communications.

Most people currently use it by generating a link that simply says, “Tweet this,” or “Tweet this quote,” next to an unsightly URL link. Bu that’s not taking advantage of the full power of this nifty service, and as the novelty wears off it may even come across as a tad too demanding to overburdened members of the crowd.

Better to lure your readers to click! With a little creativity you can generate compelling summary sentences or quotable bites that will make tweeting your words irresistible.

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Sorting Through the Many Definitions of Crowdfunding

The term “crowdfunding” is being bandied about like crazy these days—and that’s not for nothing. According to Forbes, this year Kickstarter is set to raise more money than the National Endowment for the Arts.

The problem is that when it’s talked about there is often no differentiation between crowdfunding models. So, I’ll break it down for you here.

Donation- and Reward-based Crowdfunding
These are the models that The Crowdfundamentals concerns itself with. Though they are are used interchangeably, there are in fact distinctions. In donation-based crowdfunding, contributors are primarily motivated by philanthropy. In other words, you are willing to settle for the satisfaction derived from helping advance a worthy cause you believe in. Think of giving to a project that will supply fresh water to a rural area, for example.

In reward-based crowdfunding, there is a tangible return, and the perks are limited only by the imagination of the project creator. Filmmakers often award “producer credits” for their contribution, or a digital copy of the finished film. In this model, Kickstarter is probably best known for being the platform used by product innovators. The rewards they offer for your contribution is often the product itself. What creators are actually doing is “pre-selling” their product, so that they can raise the capital to manufacture that product. We’re now beginning to see a possible the chink in the armor of this plan. I won’t go into it here, but if you want to see crowdfunding growing pains in action, check out this recent New York Times article.

Other models include microfinance, of which Kiva is probably the best known. Contributors provide small loans to low-income people who lack access to banking services. It was initiated by economist Muhammed Yunus to address the cycle of poverty in his native Bangladesh, and he was awarded a Nobel Prize for it.

Peer-to-peer loans (P2P) allow individuals to borrow from a group of lenders, and it eliminates the need for financial institutions as well, the theory of which is that by cutting out that overhead, borrowers receive a lower rate while lenders earn higher returns than, say, a savings account. The Lending Circles is a good example of this model.

Which brings us to Equity-based crowdfunding, the model perhaps the farthest removed from above examples but very exciting indeed regarding the future of investing as we currently know it.

To backtrack, Obama signed the JOBS (Jump Star Our Business Startups) Act in April, 2012. It’s a provision that gives private company startups the ability to sell shares to individual investors like me, my mom, or your grandpop. Currently, only accredited investors can buy company stock. The implications of this are playing-field leveling, to say the least. It’s got venture capitalists worried that they are on the brink of their expiration date. And regular people who are either lucky or savvy could potentially invest in some nifty gadget that will make them millions.

But this is all still dependent on the Security Exchange Commission, which is currently tasked with figuring out the rules and regulations that protect investors but don’t cut this new source of funding at the knees. For more on that you can go to Crowdfunder, which is working to inform the public how to participate in this new way to raise equity and become an investor.

These are fascinating times, a growth spurt not unlike when the Internet first blew into our lives back in the 1990s. It’s going to be fun and interesting ride!