Crowdfunding is a rather simple idea: Need some money? Ask people for it! But the implementations of that concept just keep expanding. The Kickstarter model, where campaign operators promise a diverse array of rewards is just one version of how crowdfunding can play out. Others include:
- Asking for straight up donations (usually best when the campaign is for a good cause)
- Offering shares in resulting revenues (usually more geared toward launching new companies or other income-producing streams)
- Pre-selling actual products (which can be a Kickstarter approach, but can also be structured to skip the t-shirts and stickers that are common to lower Kickstarter reward levels)
Personally, I tend to be most attracted to buying actual products, especially if there’s a cool story behind the concept. One of my friends is running a Teespring campaign offering a t-shirt to support a creative project she’s working on. The story of the project is what elevates the t-shirt from a fairly cool idea, to an awesome project worth supporting. The t-shirt becomes something of an in-joke or a badge of support. It’s a personal project, which is where crowdfunding really shines — this isn’t a project where anyone wants to raise a million dollars. A few thousand will suffice.
The story, by the way, is a short film about a woman, a trumpet, and the zombie apocalypse, set to a reinterpretation of a classic song, “Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey?” She had me at ‘zombie apocalypse,’ because that’s sort of story I respond to.