What it Takes to Create a Crowdfunding Movement

Social media can be credited with facilitating lots of movements—from flash mobs that make a lonely kid’s fantasies come to life to the Arab Spring.

And crowdfunding is the newest go-to vehicle to rally financial support around important things, ideas, and objectives that matter to the masses.

Here’s what author and business consultant Jim Collins suggests about creating movements in his must-read book, “Good to Great.” (Emphasis is mine.)

When [what you are deeply passionate about, what you can be best in the world at and what drives your economic engine] come together, not only does your work move toward greatness, but so does your life….Perhaps, then, you might gain that rare tranquility that comes from knowing that you’ve had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution.

How do you know if you’ve got a movement in need of your leadership on your hands?

When people want to schedule a consultation with me I ask them to first fill out a short questionnaire. It’s designed not only to make our time together most impactful—so we don’t waste time having you explain you idea to me. But more importantly I use it as a gauge.

The most telling question I pose is: How will [your thing, idea, or objective] benefit the crowd?

Much too often the response I receive is something along the lines of: They will benefit by having/participating/owning my thing, idea, or objective!

This response puts the project creator’s contribution topmost in the equation. But a true movement isn’t about the individual; it’s about a group connecting around a singular passion, be it social, political or artistic.

Social media is partially to blame for the confusion. It has given us a skewed sense of our power to influence. But influence follows; it’s a result of our ability to resonate and connect with a large group—a consequence not a cause of it.

So how can you recognize if your thing, idea, or objective transcends the self-serving?

In some ways, you should have an I-know-it-when-I-see-it kind of reaction to it. But in truth it’s way easier to recognize when something is not a movement in others than it is in ourselves. We have blind spots, after all, which is why we need good friends! (Or, worst-case, good consultants.)

I have great respect for the many people who want to launch crowdfunding campaigns in order to effect some kind of major change; we all know our world could use the help. Movement making is a great and noble goal and one that takes dedication and commitment.

Here is a short checklist to ponder if you’re looking to run a crowdfunding campaign that goes beyond one person having a great idea they want to birth—which is hard enough as it is!

  • The stakes are very high
  • Your life in one way or another has somehow revolved around this issue
  • You’re willing to lose something personally, be it privacy or comfort or normality
  • You’re willing to endure criticism
  • It makes you scared
  • You are not motivated by economics

We’ve seen many examples of movements that crowdfunding has fueled. I wanted to share the most recent campaign I learned about, Embrace – the Documentary That Will Create Global Change.

That’s quite a title to live up to. But if you watch the video below and compare project creator Taryn Brumfitt against the checklist above, she more than fits my movment-maker list of criteria.


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