fundraising en-US How to Create a Successful Kickstarter Campaign <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-create-a-successful-kickstarter-campaign" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="crowd" title="crowd" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Crowdfunding has rapidly become a popular way to raise money for a project. The concept is simple: you write up what you want to do, maybe make a short video about it, and post it to a site like <a href="">Kickstarter</a>. Then, hopefully, people will contribute money, and you&rsquo;ll wind up with enough to actually complete your project.</p> <p>But the reality isn&rsquo;t quite that simple. For every Kickstarter project that brings in over a million dollars, there are thousands that fail entirely. Creating a successful campaign that raises at least enough to cover your costs requires some serious work &mdash; almost as much as launching your own business. (See also: <a href="">Start a Business for Next to Nothing</a>)</p> <h2>There Is No Formula</h2> <p>There are Kickstarter campaigns that have raised over $10 million (specifically, <a href="&rdquo;">the Pebble Watch</a>) and campaigns that haven&rsquo;t managed to pull in more than $50. There is no formula you can follow to tell if a particular project is going to be successful. There are a few generalizations, though, that you should know about.</p> <p><strong>Preselling</strong></p> <p>Most successful Kickstarter programs offer incentives that backers would buy outright, given the opportunity. While a lot of backers enjoy giving money to support cool ideas, most still want to get something for their money. <a href="">Just another t-shirt</a> &mdash; unless that shirt is epically cool &mdash; isn&rsquo;t going to cut it. You have to think in terms of products that would be a direct result of your project. That&rsquo;s why hardware and movies tend to do so well.</p> <p><strong>Low Raise Points</strong></p> <p>It&rsquo;s tempting to ask for every cent you need to pull off your project, but you can actually often raise more money by asking for less. Most campaigns don&rsquo;t raise even half of what they need &mdash; but if you can get your campaign to the halfway point, your odds of getting fully funded go way up. And if you&rsquo;re already fully funded and you have some impressive incentives, don&rsquo;t be surprised if you wind up getting a lot more than what you asked for.</p> <p><strong>Marketing Offsite</strong></p> <p>If you&rsquo;re able to tap into your own networks outside of Kickstarter and get them excited, it&rsquo;s a lot easier to get the money you need. If you&rsquo;re starting from scratch, though, you need a strong marketing plan that will get people you don&rsquo;t know interested in what you&rsquo;re working on.</p> <p>Take the time to read everything about running a campaign on the Kickstarter website. There are lots of little nuts-and-bolts details, like setting up your account to properly receive payment. There are also a lot of ways you can accidentally violate Kickstarter&rsquo;s terms of service, especially if you&rsquo;re working with a non-profit.</p> <h2>Plan Your Kickstarter Campaign</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re thinking about launching a project on Kickstarter, you&rsquo;ve probably already got an idea in mind. Tempting as it may be, you shouldn&rsquo;t just throw together a campaign and make it live. Start by writing out what your idea is:</p> <ul> <li>Why are people going to be excited about it?</li> <li>What &mdash; as specifically as you can describe &mdash; is it going to take to pull off this idea?</li> <li>Who is going to be interested enough to pay money towards this campaign?</li> <li>What incentives can you offer with this project? What products are the end result?</li> <li>What personal networks do you have that you can get involved?</li> </ul> <p>It&rsquo;s only when you know your idea inside and out that you&rsquo;ll be able to figure out how much it will cost and, therefore, how much you need to earn on Kickstarter. When setting that figure, don&rsquo;t forget that Kickstarter takes its share and that you&rsquo;ll owe taxes on what you&rsquo;ll bring in to boot.</p> <p>You&rsquo;ll also want to write out a specific marketing plan. Unless you have a website that gets a million visitors a month, plan on reaching out to as many places as you can. Go beyond just your own social networks &mdash; frankly, some groups of Facebook friends are starting to get annoyed by another one of their circle requesting money for a creative project each week. Think bigger, like sending out press releases to relevant news sites, guest posting on blogs, and even talking to people in person. Create a step-by-step plan, and then follow it.</p> <h2>Choose Your Incentives</h2> <p>Without the right perks, it&rsquo;s hard to get even the best-intentioned campaign off the ground. You have to make sure that you&rsquo;re offering incentives that people want and will actually spend money for. If you aren&rsquo;t sure if what you want to give to backers is a viable option, go ask a few people if they would want to buy your products. That&rsquo;s the most basic level of market research, and it will stand you in good stead with a Kickstarter project.</p> <p>On most campaigns, you&rsquo;ll see at least one very low level &mdash; an option to back a project for just a dollar or two. It&rsquo;s rare that such a level will represent a large percentage of your backing, but for the occasional small backer (or friend who wants to contribute but doesn&rsquo;t want to spend too much), it&rsquo;s a good idea to include such a low-level option. Don&rsquo;t be afraid to offer much more expensive: on popular campaigns, it&rsquo;s not unusual to see contributions of more than $1,000. The limit Kickstarter allows for incentive pricing is $10,000.</p> <p>Take a look at these successful Kickstarter campaigns to see what sort of options have been popular:</p> <ul> <li>Seth Godin&rsquo;s <a href="&rdquo;">The Icarus Deception</a></li> <li><a href="&rdquo;">Meet Miss Subways</a></li> <li><a href="&rdquo;">An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer</a></li> </ul> <h2>Writing Your Campaign Page</h2> <p>It may seem like the campaign page itself is the easy part; you just have to describe your idea and knock together a video. But while there have been some successful projects with very basic campaign pages on Kickstarter, investing time into creating a persuasive page is crucial &mdash; and can help you page get through the Kickstarter moderation system that much faster.</p> <p>A good campaign page needs to lay out why it&rsquo;s worthwhile for your project to succeed. It needs to persuade visitors that they want what you&rsquo;re offering &mdash; preferably at a higher funding level than just a dollar or two. You can&rsquo;t always be there when someone new pulls up your campaign for the first time, so your page needs to stand on its own.</p> <p>There are several small video production companies these days that have made a specialty out of producing videos for Kickstarter projects. If you feel like you need some help, it may be worth deciding if a video is within your budget before you launch your campaign.</p> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve got all your ducks in a row, you&rsquo;ll be able to submit your campaign to Kickstarter. It may be a fair amount of work to create a successful project, but it&rsquo;s worth it if you&rsquo;re <a href="">passionate about what you&rsquo;re doing</a>.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Create a Successful Kickstarter Campaign" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Thursday Bram</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Extra Income discovering passions fundraising kickstarter Thu, 02 Aug 2012 09:48:42 +0000 Thursday Bram 947046 at Six Surefire Office Fundraising Ideas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/six-surefire-office-fundraising-ideas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="bake sale" title="bake sale" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What if you find yourself in the position of needing to raise money for something at your workplace? It happens. Sometimes, it is as innocuous as needing a &ldquo;birthday fund.&rdquo; In other circumstances, a coworker might have a medical emergency. Through my many years in various workplaces, I have participated in a number of office fundraisers. At one time or another, I have used one of these six methods below with good results.</p> <p>Personally, I do not like fundraisers that involve discount cards, auctioning off bachelors or &ldquo;slaves,&rdquo; blatantly asking wealthy people for help, holding up fishing nets, or scrip. (My issue with scrip, while it does assist with record-keeping, is that unless I find things I definitely want to buy, I am just making a donation.)</p> <p>My caveat &mdash; before you embark on any worksite fundraising, do your homework. Make sure you do not run afoul of any state or local laws, or company policies or procedures. When in doubt, check. Also important &mdash; never, ever pressure or coerce anyone into donating money. That annoys people, and an unhappy person will be the first one to complain. Make any fundraising strictly voluntary. (See also: <a href="">The Best Frugal Office Party&nbsp;Foods</a>)</p> <h2>1. Bake Sale</h2> <p><em>At work.</em> The reason I emphasize &ldquo;at work&rdquo; is that (a) nobody wants to do it on a weekend, and (b) you&rsquo;ll get much better participation and attendance. A well-publicized, amply stocked bake sale can bring quick cash. Of course, a good part of the donation occurs when people volunteer to bake goods for the sale. Besides many commitments from volunteer bakers, you&rsquo;ll need tables, plastic bags, saran wrap, plates, tablecloths, markers, food-handling gloves, signs, a cash box, and change.</p> <p>Encourage your bakers to package items nicely. Don&rsquo;t try to sell whole <a href="">pies or cakes</a> &mdash; pieces sell faster, with a higher mark-up. I like to group items by tables and sell for $1, $2, $3, etc. If you have the supplies, placing individual stickers on items helps, too. This is not a time to dicker &mdash; if you do a bake sale right, you can be done with it in an hour. Give your helpers fanny packs stocked with change, so you don&rsquo;t have a line at the cash box. It&rsquo;ll go much faster.</p> <p>Encourage your bakers to not only bake cookies, but also to think about making healthy items. Packages of nuts, energy bars, and even homemade hummus go rapidly. More popular still are bowls of chili or nachos, if you can get permission to plug in <a href="">crock-pots</a>. I recommend that you hold a bake sale between 9 and 10 a.m. in an office or facility, when people are starting to think about coffee and a snack. They can patronize you instead of the neighborhood coffee shop.</p> <p><strong>Difficulty: </strong>Medium</p> <h2>2. The Good Old Car Wash</h2> <p>Honestly, this is not my favorite fundraiser &mdash; it&rsquo;s really hard work, assuming you do it right, and you need to devote a half-day to it. However, they really do work, particularly if you can hold them at a grocery store &mdash; people are more willing to contribute because they can simultaneously shop. Supplies needed: hoses, buckets, car-washing soap (don&rsquo;t use dishwashing soap, which can harm a car&rsquo;s finish), and soft rags or sponges. Advertise, post signs, and send people out to hold up signs. I personally prefer &ldquo;$5/car&rdquo; over &ldquo;donation,&rdquo; because a set price eliminates the dickering process.</p> <p><strong>Difficulty:</strong> Difficult, because of the logistics &mdash; and you need a lot of helpers and elbow grease</p> <h2>3. Bingo</h2> <p>That&rsquo;s right, BINGO! Just today I called bingo for an hour and a half. Set up during a lunchtime break, pass out cards and markers, and call out those letters and numbers. If permitted, charge per card and offer inexpensive prizes. Needed: a bingo set, microphone, and prizes. Savvy bingo-goers will work several cards at a time. A game of bingo runs about five minutes, so plan prizes accordingly. When you get down to the last few minutes, run a &ldquo;blackout&rdquo; game.</p> <p><strong>Difficulty</strong>: Very easy, particularly when you have a captive lunchtime audience</p> <h2>4. Raffles</h2> <p>AKA &ldquo;drawings.&rdquo; This one is trickier legally. Be sure to check what is allowed in your state and at your workplace. Sometimes the terminology matters.</p> <p>What to raffle? Homemade items go well, such as fudge, cookies, or a dinner.&nbsp;Needed: advertising and prizes.</p> <p><strong>Difficulty:</strong> Easy</p> <h2>5. Silent Auctions</h2> <p>If you have a real go-getter committee that can secure great donations, these can be a lot of fun. The trick is to obtain items that people actually <em>want</em> &mdash; <a href="">fine wines</a>, gourmet chocolates, dinner at a trendy restaurant, quality art, interesting pottery, etc. It&rsquo;s embarrassing if the donated item just sits on the table at a minimum bid. Needed: donated items, papers on which to write bids, and a nice tablecloth. These usually take place at some sort of event.</p> <p><strong>Difficulty:</strong> Medium, for the legwork it takes to secure good donations</p> <h2>6. The Office &ldquo;Pool&rdquo;&nbsp;</h2> <p>You have probably seen these for sports events and baby &ldquo;due date&rdquo; guesses. Again, make sure there are no prohibitions and that the terms of the pool extremely clear, so there are no arguments about who won. Supplies needed: a big chart.</p> <p><strong>Difficulty:</strong> Easy</p> <p><em>Have you done any fundraising? Do you have tips for Wise Bread readers?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Six Surefire Office Fundraising Ideas" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Marla Walters</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career and Income bake sales fundraising office culture raffles Wed, 16 May 2012 09:48:15 +0000 Marla Walters 929142 at 4 Healthy PTO Fundraising Ideas for the New School Year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-healthy-pto-fundraising-ideas-for-the-new-school-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="boxed fruit" title="boxed fruit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many school programs, such as band, cheerleading and Parent Teacher Organizations rely on fundraising activities to pay for equipment, activities, field trips and supplies. A study conducted in 2000 found that 80 percent of schools nationwide participate in some form of fundraising. However, most of those catalog sales and events tend to focus on unhealthy foods.</p> <p>The most popular fundraising programs sell candy bars and high-fat baked goods, according to an educational report called &quot;<a href="">Sweet Deals: School Fundraising Can Be Healthy and Profitable</a>&quot; by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Just Googling &quot;School Fundraisers&quot; will lead someone to one of the most commonly conducted catalog fundraiser: the sale of cookie dough.</p> <p>In school cafeterias, food service departments are under increased pressure to provide more healthful foods due to the dramatic increase in childhood obesity over the past 20 years. Studies also show that healthy kids learn better &mdash; good nutrition is linked to better behavior and academic performance. So why are the fundraisers promoting junk food? You can have a profitable fundraiser offering more healthful options.</p> <h2>Fresh Fruit</h2> <p>The most obvious healthy fundraiser is the sale of fresh fruit. The website <a href=""></a> offers navel oranges, red grapefruit, apples (red, golden and granny smith), and tangelos. They also have variety gift boxes and gift baskets of fruit. According to the organizations, even a small group of 15 people selling an average of 20 boxes each can make a profit of $2100. <a href="">Florida Indian River Groves</a> is another fruit fundraising option. The company suggests navel oranges and red grapefruit, because they are most popular.</p> <h2>Coffee</h2> <p>Why not try some gourmet coffee? Recently, many studies have found that the once-restricted beverage actually has many healthy benefits, such as lowering the risk of diabetes, Parkinson's disease and colon cancer. <a href="">The Ultimate Beverage Collection</a> includes coffee, hot cocoa, cappuccino, chai, iced tea, smoothies, and gift sets/beverage mugs. Prices range from $10 to $18 and the PTO can get a 40-50% profit on sales.</p> <h2>Nuts</h2> <p>Try some gourmet nuts instead of candy bars this year. <a href="">Mascot Pecan Shelling Company</a> offers pecans, peanuts, and cashews among its more healthy offerings (just watch out for the ones marked &quot;glazed&quot; as these are much higher in sugar and calories). While nuts can be high in calories, they are also full of beneficial nutrients such as fiber, antioxidants including vitamin E and selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Just remember to keep portion sizes around one to two ounces per day.</p> <h2>Events and Activities</h2> <p>Instead of a fundraiser around food, plan an event for learning (such as a book fair) or physical activity (a walk-a-thon or fun run). <a href="">Scholastic book fairs</a> are among the most popular for schools because they also offer the option of using some of the proceeds toward improving the school library.</p> <p>Hosting a <a href="">fun run</a> can be a challenge, especially the first time, but it is a great way to promote physical activity. After determining the date, time and location, other factors to consider are distance (for children, the best is between two and four miles), how the money will be raised (flat rate or donation per mile; you can also ask local businesses for sponsorships), and whether or not you will offer concessions and t-shirts (which can also bring in money).</p> <p>Creating healthful after school activities and fundraising events reaps its rewards in healthy, happy kids &mdash; and isn't that what it's all about?</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="4 Healthy PTO Fundraising Ideas for the New School Year" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Denise Reynolds from our sister blog, <a href="">Healthy Theory</a>. Visit Healthy Theory for more health tips and news.</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Beat Bad Breath</a></li> <li><a href="">Too Much Exercise = Too Much of a Good Thing?</a></li> <li><a href="">Tips for Eating Healthy while on Vacation</a></li> <li><a href="">Exercises for the Office</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Healthy Theory</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Family articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Health and Beauty fundraising healthy snacks school Mon, 02 Aug 2010 17:09:29 +0000 Healthy Theory 192144 at Charitable Giving: Give in Order to Receive <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/charitable-giving-give-in-order-to-receive" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="cupped hands" title="cupped hands" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="202" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>The idea of giving away what you have especially if you don&#39;t have much is a tough one to wrap your head around. But if you truly want to be rich (both literally and figuratively), getting into the frame of mind of giving is a step in the right direction. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>When I joined <a href="" target="_blank">Rotary</a>, I wasn&#39;t sure just how much time I could dedicate to the club&#39;s charitable fundraising and related activities. I had a business to run, an active social life, and many extra-curricular activities to round out my 16 hour days. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>But it was only after I started to give freely of my time and money towards worthy causes that my life became enriched in ways I couldn&#39;t have predicted: </span></p> <ul> <li><span>My business doubled in size in one year, completely independent of the people I was interacting with. </span></li> <li><span>I met like-minded people with whom I still share extremely strong bonds.</span></li> <li><span>I found new income-producing opportunities.</span></li> <li><span>I received tax breaks for my charitable contributions. </span></li> <li><span>I adopted a number of charitable projects separate from Rotary, which enriched my life and career in amazing ways. </span></li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Call it karma, call it good vibes, or anything else that fits the bill; when I gave of myself (be it time or money) without expectation of getting anything in return, I always received ten times the benefit. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>A friend of mine who is quite wealthy said he wakes up every morning, and is thankful for all that he has. He feels blessed, and asks with cupped hands for continued blessings. Then throughout the day, he gives away all he has that he doesn&#39;t need. I have seen his generosity in action, and he doesn&#39;t do it with any ulterior motives. He believes that if he gives away what he has, he will always be able to be thankful with cupped hands and will receive what he needs. So far, it has worked for him!</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>I will note that he doesn&#39;t do anything financially irresponsible in his benevolence, putting himself in a fiscally risky position (he ensures he and his family is well-provided for). He just gives with unparalleled generosity and is always rewarded in amazing ways.</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">You don&#39;t even have to limit your giving mentality to charitable causes; just being in a generous frame of mind and helping others for the sake of helping can bring back amazing results. The next time a friend needs help moving, consider dedicating your afternoon to the cause instead of coming up with an excuse as to why you can&#39;t go. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>In Suze Orman&#39;s <a href="/%3Ca%20mce_thref=%22;;tag=wisbre09-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325%22%3E9%20Steps%20To%20Financial%20Freedom%3C/a%3E%3Cimg%20mce_tsrc=%22;amp;l=ur2&amp;amp;o=1%22%20width=%221%22%20height=%221%22%20border=%220%22%20alt=%22%22%20style=%22border:none%20%21important;%20margin:0px%20%21important;%22%20/%3E" target="_blank">9 Steps To Financial Freedom</a>, one of the steps is all about giving, and the <a href="" target="_blank">psychological benefits</a> of releasing an iron-clad grasp on your money. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span><a href="" target="_blank">Where Does All My Money Go</a> has a fabulous post on employer-matching programs. This is a great way to double any charitable contributions you make, and help to make a real difference. For the little bit of extra effort involved in filling out a few forms, you can double the impact of your contribution and cause.</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> <br />So just when you thought you couldn&#39;t afford to give any money away, I urge you to reconsider. You may find that you&#39;ll receive way more than you ever give. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Charitable Giving: Give in Order to Receive" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Nora Dunn</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Lifestyle charitable giving charity donating donations fundraising karma Tue, 23 Oct 2007 23:13:41 +0000 Nora Dunn 1317 at