In an Amish or Mennonite community there is this iconic thing called a barn raising. The whole community dedicates a day or longer to build something for one family. This collective effort over a short period of time allows a family in the community to sustain themselves for a long period of time. The infrastructure of a barn secures cattle and other livestock for the winter. It stands as a symbol of solidarity. The people care for one another. The whole community’s investment for a small sacrifice times many people equals a long-term benefit. Crowd funding can work this way, too.
I have embarked on my very first crowd funding endeavor with my daughter’s recording project on Kickstarter.com. Crowd funding is where many people get together to pre-fund a creative or entrepreneurial project and in most cases do not buy a stake in it but receive perks of value such as an advanced copy of a CD or names on the credits of a film. With creative endeavors, I am learning that it builds and reflects community or lack of it. If you fund the project, you show you have support! If you do not fully fund with a tool like Kickstarter.com you do not fund anything. It is all or nothing.
Obviously, some crowd funding is done where you get access to the funds regardless of reaching your goal, but if that hampers the quality or vision of a project then I think that is not a good thing. So, with my daughter Emilie’s project we know that if fully funded we can deliver the perks and that in doing so will meet or exceed the expectations of those who show support. If we miss the mark, then we can always try later. This is a hard reality, but I’m OK with that.
Recently, I was happy to support a former pastor of mine who used Kickstarter.com to crowd-fund his independent book. He even had a cover art contest on Facebook. A digital community gathered to see his book released. Launching this book with the funds to edit, print and digitally distribute means for a longer time many will have access to this book! Many will be helped with this leader’s teaching in a book form for years to come.
If you want to get started helping raise a barn, why not help my teen Emilie begin her career. Many ask her and I, “When is your CD coming out?” Well, we need people to make that happen. So, the answer is this: “The CD is coming out as soon as you buy one!” Is not that brilliant? Think about it, no middle man. No big corporation to sign on with debt. Creative people today have a chance to see their dreams come true and the people around them can support them in affordable yet beneficial ways to themselves. It is a win win.
Dialog time: Are you with me? Do you see crowd funding as a barn raising?