Barn Raising: The new world of crowd funding and digital community

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?

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

40 comments

  1. Totally agree with you Rich. Just as social media is the new phonebook/billboard, crowds arcing is the now form of barn raising.

  2. Totally agree with you Rich. Just as social media is the new phonebook/billboard, crowds arcing is the now form of barn raising.

  3. Totally agree with you Rich. Just as social media is the new phonebook/billboard, crowds arcing is the now form of barn raising.

  4. Totally agree with you Rich. Just as social media is the new phonebook/billboard, crowds arcing is the now form of barn raising.

  5. Totally agree with you Rich. Just as social media is the new phonebook/billboard, crowds arcing is the now form of barn raising.

  6. Kickstarter is brand new to me, and a very innovative idea. The potential for all kinds of worthy projects is intriguing. I am in the process of researching my own non-profit, and this may come in handy. I do like your analogy of the barn raising!

    1. Yes Kickstarter is very innovative. Now we get to see if it works for us. 🙂

  7. Kickstarter is brand new to me, and a very innovative idea. The potential for all kinds of worthy projects is intriguing. I am in the process of researching my own non-profit, and this may come in handy. I do like your analogy of the barn raising!

    1. Yes Kickstarter is very innovative. Now we get to see if it works for us. 🙂

  8. Kickstarter is brand new to me, and a very innovative idea. The potential for all kinds of worthy projects is intriguing. I am in the process of researching my own non-profit, and this may come in handy. I do like your analogy of the barn raising!

    1. Yes Kickstarter is very innovative. Now we get to see if it works for us. 🙂

  9. Kickstarter is brand new to me, and a very innovative idea. The potential for all kinds of worthy projects is intriguing. I am in the process of researching my own non-profit, and this may come in handy. I do like your analogy of the barn raising!

    1. Yes Kickstarter is very innovative. Now we get to see if it works for us. 🙂

  10. Kickstarter is brand new to me, and a very innovative idea. The potential for all kinds of worthy projects is intriguing. I am in the process of researching my own non-profit, and this may come in handy. I do like your analogy of the barn raising!

    1. Yes Kickstarter is very innovative. Now we get to see if it works for us. 🙂

  11. Im all for cutting out the middleman.  There have been variants of this kind of thing out there for a while (Incubator comes to mind).  You can also self fund if you are blessed with the resources to do it.  All of these require you to be entrepreneurial and very efficient.

    1. Mark, of course you fund yourself, if not just with sweat with your own funds. The crowdfunding thing for creatives like this is that it is not investment like Incubator. It is a show of community support in return for a perk–which could be material or not. In this way, I think barn raising is a good metaphor.

  12. Im all for cutting out the middleman.  There have been variants of this kind of thing out there for a while (Incubator comes to mind).  You can also self fund if you are blessed with the resources to do it.  All of these require you to be entrepreneurial and very efficient.

    1. Mark, of course you fund yourself, if not just with sweat with your own funds. The crowdfunding thing for creatives like this is that it is not investment like Incubator. It is a show of community support in return for a perk–which could be material or not. In this way, I think barn raising is a good metaphor.

  13. Im all for cutting out the middleman.  There have been variants of this kind of thing out there for a while (Incubator comes to mind).  You can also self fund if you are blessed with the resources to do it.  All of these require you to be entrepreneurial and very efficient.

    1. Mark, of course you fund yourself, if not just with sweat with your own funds. The crowdfunding thing for creatives like this is that it is not investment like Incubator. It is a show of community support in return for a perk–which could be material or not. In this way, I think barn raising is a good metaphor.

  14. Im all for cutting out the middleman.  There have been variants of this kind of thing out there for a while (Incubator comes to mind).  You can also self fund if you are blessed with the resources to do it.  All of these require you to be entrepreneurial and very efficient.

    1. Mark, of course you fund yourself, if not just with sweat with your own funds. The crowdfunding thing for creatives like this is that it is not investment like Incubator. It is a show of community support in return for a perk–which could be material or not. In this way, I think barn raising is a good metaphor.

  15. Im all for cutting out the middleman.  There have been variants of this kind of thing out there for a while (Incubator comes to mind).  You can also self fund if you are blessed with the resources to do it.  All of these require you to be entrepreneurial and very efficient.

    1. Mark, of course you fund yourself, if not just with sweat with your own funds. The crowdfunding thing for creatives like this is that it is not investment like Incubator. It is a show of community support in return for a perk–which could be material or not. In this way, I think barn raising is a good metaphor.

  16. We did a similar thing with the CD we released last year.  Before we even started we did a fundraising drive that included a “presale”  – essentially an advance copy of the album before it went on sale for a lower price – as well as a concert where music ministries from other churches came and performed, with proceeeds going to our project. 
    Kickstarter launched after we had begun, otherwise we certainly would have used it. 

    1. Very cool. I think the idea of having community support is the key, regardless of the exact tool. It appears you gathered that. I am hoping we succeed as well.

  17. We did a similar thing with the CD we released last year.  Before we even started we did a fundraising drive that included a “presale”  – essentially an advance copy of the album before it went on sale for a lower price – as well as a concert where music ministries from other churches came and performed, with proceeeds going to our project. 
    Kickstarter launched after we had begun, otherwise we certainly would have used it. 

    1. Very cool. I think the idea of having community support is the key, regardless of the exact tool. It appears you gathered that. I am hoping we succeed as well.

  18. We did a similar thing with the CD we released last year.  Before we even started we did a fundraising drive that included a “presale”  – essentially an advance copy of the album before it went on sale for a lower price – as well as a concert where music ministries from other churches came and performed, with proceeeds going to our project. 
    Kickstarter launched after we had begun, otherwise we certainly would have used it. 

    1. Very cool. I think the idea of having community support is the key, regardless of the exact tool. It appears you gathered that. I am hoping we succeed as well.

  19. We did a similar thing with the CD we released last year.  Before we even started we did a fundraising drive that included a “presale”  – essentially an advance copy of the album before it went on sale for a lower price – as well as a concert where music ministries from other churches came and performed, with proceeeds going to our project. 
    Kickstarter launched after we had begun, otherwise we certainly would have used it. 

    1. Very cool. I think the idea of having community support is the key, regardless of the exact tool. It appears you gathered that. I am hoping we succeed as well.

  20. We did a similar thing with the CD we released last year.  Before we even started we did a fundraising drive that included a “presale”  – essentially an advance copy of the album before it went on sale for a lower price – as well as a concert where music ministries from other churches came and performed, with proceeeds going to our project. 
    Kickstarter launched after we had begun, otherwise we certainly would have used it. 

    1. Very cool. I think the idea of having community support is the key, regardless of the exact tool. It appears you gathered that. I am hoping we succeed as well.

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