[Originally published in The Coloradoan on 8/10/12]
Websites such as KickStarter and Community Funded have changed the game for how anyone can raise investment funding.
Whereas KickStarter focuses on creative projects, Community Funded has expanded the playing field to include non-profits and business projects. What does that mean for you? Any project that you think a community will get behind can now get investment capital from these crowd funding sources.
Crowd funding is when many people donate small amounts to support one project. When enough people donate and a project’s funding goal is met, the project receives the total funding.
If the funding campaign falls short before the goal deadline, no money exchanges hands. This is a powerful new way to gain funding because a business no longer needs to rely on a few investors donating large amounts or investment capital firms.
Typically, any donation is rewarded with some sort of gift.
Recent law changes loosened regulations on where investment funding can be sourced, allowing startups to take advantage of crowd funding. A small business owner, who may not have had access to big venture capitalists in the past, now has more opportunities to raise needed money.
More exciting for Fort Collins is that a local group of motivated people are the brains behind Community Funded. If you live in Northern Colorado and you support a Community Funded project, not only are you directly supporting the project of your choice, but also supporting Fort Collins business. It’s a win-win.
I love the idea of Community Funded and crowd funding because it’s a direct donation into the hands of the business or cause you stand behind. You can see the money you pledge go purposefully to a specific project.
The benefits of your donation are more real and personal, and more meaningful to both the giver and receiver.
As crowd funding continues to grow in popularity, consider how your project that may need additional funding can benefit from these advancements. The days of relying on a bank loan are falling behind these alternative, digital methods to help you realize your dreams.
Stu Crair is the owner and lead trainer at The Digital Workshop Center, providing digital arts and computer training instruction in Fort Collins. Reach him at (970) 980-8091 or firstname.lastname@example.org.