As part of our process of winding down Fundchange, we will no longer be posting to this blog and eventually taking it down. Check out blog.ideavibes.com going forward.
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Today Ideavibes announced that 6 Ottawa startup leaders have joined the team to relaunch their crowdsourcing platform. The new team members include:
Rob Woodbridge – Interim General Manager
Ian Capstick – PR
Brent Thomson – Sales
Andrew Draper – Product Design
Scott Annan – Strategic Advisor
Guido Giordano – User Growth
“Working with Mercury Grove to bring together a team like this is a clear advantage for Ideavibes in this nascent market” said CEO, Paul Dombowsky. “The experience they bring will help shape the product, the market and the opportunities for Ideavibes and accelerate our vision of a deeper and more relevant crowd engagement for brands, government and community organizations.”
“I’m extremely happy and excited to have so many great people participating in the revision and relaunch of Ideavibes.” According to Dombowsky, “the new team has brought a lot of thought leadership and experience which is instrumental to the realization of a disruptive, fresh new vision for citizen engagement, open innovation and crowdsourcing.”
The new team has been working to revise the popular Ideavibes platform to make it ‘the’ catalyst for change and accessible to anyone who wants to participate in the change process.
“Crowdsourcing is not a new concept” said Ottawa-based startup CEO and mobile expert, Rob Woodbridge “and although there are many platforms for crowdsourcing jobs and funding, there is no clear leader in crowdsourcing ideas for positive change. We want to change that.”
The Ottawa startup community has been building momentum with several new startups that have become leaders in their markets. Popular startups including Shopify, TravelPod, FluidSurveys, and CanvasPop have helped create a strong ecosystem for new startups including HealthWave, the largest virtual dispensary for naturopathic doctors, VeganCuts, the world’s leading vegan marketplace, and Openera, a fast-growth company that automatically saves, organizes, and backups your files and email attachments.
“We have so much startup talent in Ottawa and we’re starting to see the community build some real momentum” said local entrepreneur and startup investor, Scott Annan. “Seeing so many of our startup leaders come together to build something epic like the new Ideavibes is an indication of how hot the startup scene is getting in Ottawa.”
We wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has supported Fundchange and the projects posted by charities, nonprofits and other organizations this year. We look forward to working with you in the New Year to help you make your ideas and projects a reality.
Christopher Postill is a content producer/new media designer from Canada. His work primarily consists of web & sound design for freelance clients. Christopher has worked with small start-up not for profits, big business like CSI and YTV and everything in between.
Christopher is a DIY type of guy, really enjoys working from the ground up on a shoestring budget, which is what initially attracted him to the idea of crowdfunding. His off-the-clock time consists of doing creative multimedia for his own passion projects.
In the past few months Christopher has set up crowdfunding campaigns for three separate projects. In doing this, he had one phenomenal success, one ‘nothing-to-shake-a-stick-at’ success and a complete and utter failure that fell directly on its face. The truth is, the utter failure was the project that Christopher was sure was the most accessible, the most innovative and hands down the best suited for crowdfunding.
Christopher learned some of the reasons it didn’t work, most of which were problems before he had even begun the campaign. So, from a guy who really does love the ideals of crowdfunding, and has had both inspiring and discouraging results, here are some things to keep in mind BEFORE your campaign even goes live.
Think It Through & Talk To Lots Of People
My biggest fumble starting out was not defining my project well enough. Whatever it is you are raising funds for, you need to have considered everything before you ask people for their hard-earned money. If people get the impression that there is any uncertainty in your campaign, they won’t feel confident about where their contribution is going. With my big blunder, I revised my pitch 4 separate times while it was live which was a huge mistake. Repeat visitors to my crowdfunding campaign were getting confused about what I was trying to accomplish.
Before your start your campaign, define your project fully, make it simple, easily digestible, cut out all the clutter and run it by your colleagues. You need to be sure what you are doing is valuable to others as well as incredibly clearly defined. Give the campaign a strong identity of its own and ‘brand’ it accordingly.
Make sure you have a 1 paragraph pitch that makes people really want to be involved.
If you can’t honestly say you’d give $5 to the project when that paragraph randomly showed up in your own Facebook newsfeed, keep rewriting it until you can. My approach was to be personal about it. Don’t make it sound like a TV commercial, make it sound more like a status update; include your personal narrative as a part of your marketing and it will make it a little more fun, identifiable and easy to get behind.
Make a detailed rollout plan for everyone involved
A lot of blog posts I’ve read about crowdfunding emphasize the importance of maintaining your project once it is live. A lot of people will need a few separate exposures to your campaign before they will actually consider contributing (or even clicking the link to get the full story). However, no matter how good the cause, there is nothing worse than getting the exact same damned tweet EVERY SINGLE DAY from the same person saying “Please help me raise funds!” The message just gets lost and becomes spam.
You need to be clever about how you can expose people to your project in different ways, and then you need to time those exposures right. My successful campaigns had a new Youtube video once a week that I’d post to all my social networks. I did guest blogs (like this), interviewed people who were doing interesting things related to my project, etc. These were ways of talking about the project/charity/etc. without saying the same thing over and over.
Before your project goes live, make a plan as to how you are going to expose people to your project multiple times, but give them something new each time you do it.
If you have a team, even better, just make sure everyone is on the same page and you’ve all given a little thought to how you’ll engage people.
Kissmetrics made some fancy infographics that help explain the peak times to post to Facebook/Twitter/Email/etc. You can find them here
Be Modest With Your Pitch & Your Funding Goals
I think a big misunderstanding is that as soon as you coin a fancy term and talk about ‘crowdfunding’ all over social media, it changes the bottom line. It doesn’t.
The bottom line is that you are asking people for their money to help your cause. It’s the same as it ever was, you are fundraising. All that has changed is a slight cultural shift where, because technology is making it easy, more and more people are OK with the idea of giving little bits to all the projects they find valuable.
- Be reasonable about what your project needs
- Be clear what you need it for
- Be modest about asking for it
Offer truly valuable incentives, work for the money and be grateful when it comes in. That’s all common sense, but I think (and I am certainly guilty of this when I first started) it is easy to wrongfully assume that this crowdfunding phenomenon is magically making anonymous people richer and more generous.
Just be realistic about the whole thing and don’t expect any anonymous benefactors to hand you their fortune. “The beauty of crowdfunding is that it gives power back to the crowd; you have to be transparent, honest and thankful to every individual who joins the crowd behind your campaign.”
I learned these lessons the hard way, by bumbling around and incessantly bothering my friends/families/social networks for support. I apologize if I’ve just spun common sense into a 3 page blog post, but my point is….
If you keep clever AND you have a good cause/idea AND you think it all through before diving in, crowdfunding is a brilliant way to raise some money for your project.
If you want to chat with me about anything more specific or just find out more about what I do, please check out www.chrispostill.com.
All the best with all of your campaigns!
Last week, The Agitator posted an article in response to The Wall Street Journal’s article on ‘niche crowdfunding’. The Agitator and commenters raise valid points about the legitimacy of crowdfunding sites, though this is not the point that I’m going address.
I’d like to address a particular comment from a reader. I’ve broken the comment down into bite sized pieces. Anything in quotation marks is the commenter’s own words.
Here’s my feeling: with the recent explosion of micro-finance sites[...]there becomes a flood of opportunity for do-gooders to provide their “support” to an array of causes across the world. Sounds nice right?
Why is support in quotation marks? People who help fund and spread the word about projects that matter to them are really supporting them; they are not “supporting” (read: not real support) them.
What I want to know is this, what kind of retention rates do these online financiers [crowdfunding sites] offer to the organizations they are funding?
It is not the crowdfunding sites’ responsibility to retain donors for organizations, though each crowdfunding site will have its own fans. Furthermore, with Fundchange, organizations that use our service have all of their donors’ information. The platform may be a starting point for building relationships between the organization and donors. Ultimately, what organizations choose to do with donors in an attempt to retain them is up to the organization.
If scores of small donations come in to small organizations through these sites, the small organizations are going to get excited and thus craft fundraising campaigns to continue to garner support and more of it…but is that all for nothing?
No; if something works, it is not all for nothing.
Additionally, for non-profits who value the holy unrestricted dollar, do we really want to be encouraging restricted funding for small projects?
Sometimes, we have to put our own desires on the back burner and look at raising money from our donors’ perspectives. Raising money for a specific project is desirable for donors because it allows people to know exactly where their money is going. Crowdfunding a specific project allows donors to feel a sense of ownership over a said project. This leads to commitment and excitement to see the project through to the end.
Do we really want to track those dollars in a micro sense and then provide detailed micro reports on them to steward the gift? Seems like this is a recipe for creating a mountain of unnecessary work at a time when internal staff resources are already tight and gift stewardship is already lackluster. Why set the bar even lower?
The cool thing about crowdfunding is that these “micro reports” can take on many forms. A quick status update, a tweet, a picture or a video can be all it takes to keep donors informed about the status of the project. Crowdfunders don’t really want a dry micro-report, they just want to know how their project is doing.
I really don’t think crowdfunding is “setting the bar lower” at all. Organizations should be raising their bar as donors’ expectations are rising. Organizations should be giving updates about how donor dollars are used.
As a donor, I want to know how my money is being put to use, how it’s making a difference. If you don’t tell me, I won’t know that it’s making a difference, and I probably won’t give again. I want to give my money to something that will make a difference. So show me how you use it, and I’ll give you more, more often.
If you have used crowdfunding, what do you think of this post?
According to Mark Blair, a crowdfunding consultant based out of the US, there are 3 networks of people who visit crowdfunding sites.
#1 Friends and Family
These are the people who will support you no matter what, because they know you, care about you and trust you. From Blair’s experience, Friends and Family will make up the majority of your project’s viewers in the first 5 days.
#2 The Watchers
These are your acquaintances, your friends’ friends, or people who are passionate about your project or cause. They will follow (watch) your project throughout its duration.
#3 The Shoppers
Shoppers are people who are looking for projects that interest them and “are often inspired by what freebies are offered to them,” says Blair.
Oh, the freebies. I will write a post next week on that.
P.S. To read the original article, click here.
We really mean it. Every dollar, every tweet, every Like, every vote has helped create positive change in our world. Every offline and online coversation has spread the message of hope and help for people in need, for causes that matter, for projects that make a lasting difference. Without you, there would be no change. Thank you for making the future brighter, for making the world a better place.
The Fundchange Team
For Fundchange Members – show us some Fundchange love by downloading and displaying our new Member badges on your website, Facebook Page or Blog. You can link to either your project or
Download the individual badges by clicking on them below and then Right-Clicking and saving the image in the new window. Or download the ZIP file containing the 3 different badges here:
Have you started following us on Facebook (
No summer holidays for us at Fundchange. We have added some energy to our team with the addition of Cynthia Foster – a summer intern from Humber College – so stay tuned for lots of exciting things happen at Fundchange. If I can keep up.
We have been hard at work with the folks at TELUS putting together a campaign that will motivate both current Fundchange members as well as recruit new members and donors to participate in making change happen one project at a time. We’re also pretty excited to give our new Facebook integration a real test drive so here it goes…
Fundchange Summer Recruitment Campaign:
Running for one month (July 18 – August 17th) and open to new and existing Fundchange members, TELUS is awarding up to $5,000 in matching funds to the new project posted and funded that has the most Facebook “Likes” on Fundchange.com. Projects can be posted any time after July 7th to qualify.
So new members – join Fundchange by visiting our Join page. The cost is $100 which gives you 2 free project listings on Fundchange.com. If you are keen to join but the $100 is a problem – let me know: email@example.com .
Campaign Terms and Conditions:
In the spirit of fairness and encouraging new organizations to join Fundchange, as well as giving all organizations equal chance of having their project being matched – we have come up with a few rules of engagement. Besides the regular Fundchange terms and conditions – here are a few specifically for this campaign:
1. Projects have to be new to Fundchange as of July 6th. 2011.
2. Projects must be funded by at least 10 funders.
3. Projects must be active for the length of the campaign unless it receives full funding.
4. Open to Fundchange members only. New members can sign-up here:
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.