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Archive for the ‘Crowdfunding’ Category

As previously announced, we have wrapped up Fundchange and will be focusing on our crowdsourcing platform which is soon to be relaunched.

I thought it might be helpful for other Canadian start-ups interested in this space to hear what we learned over the past 2 years launching and running Fundchange which was an initiative of Ideavibes.

Here we go – lessons learned:

  1. Be careful what claims you make. We thought we were the first crowdfunding website for charities and non-profits in Canada when we launched in 2010 – but the Small Change Fund very forcefully told us to stop saying this (amazing how a cease and desist letter throws you off your game). We didn’t know their project fundraising site had all of a sudden become a crowdfunding website.
  2. When working with large partners, it is helpful to make regular updates an important part of the agreement – no matter how busy people might be.
  3.  Inertia and habits are VERY hard to change. We didn’t understand how stuck charities and non-profits in Canada are in their old ways (even if they aren’t working), and how averse to change and risk they are.
  4. We tried to boil the ocean – not possible for a start-up or even a partner like TELUS. We knew the conversation around social media had to change in Canada if businesses – governments – and charities are to communicate with Canadians and we tried to do do much of this on our own. The belief that no one over 40 is on social media is WRONG.
  5. Banks and service providers like PayPal, etc. need to stop treating Canada like a 3rd world nation. I know we are only 30mil people but come on – there is no excuse for launching products and services in the US and then Britain before Canada.
  6. When launching a start-up – don’t stray from Stephen Covey’s mantra of ‘keeping the main thing – the main thing.’ My bad – did that and given our limited resources, caused us much grief.

There are a few others but these are the main ones I wanted to put out there.

Paul

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Today, we announced that we are wrapping up our Fundchange initiative on December 9th.. This was a difficult decision but was born out of practicality – tough choices need to be made in the evolution of a start-up. Perhaps we (OK – I) was a bit too ambitious in trying to launch a business focused on crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. I don’t regret the decision but should have found someone to take over Fundchange early on – someone that had the resources to make ti fly.

I do want to mention something we learned though about Canadians and their charitable giving and online behaviour. It also gave me some insight into why Kickstarter has not hurried to create a Canadian presence. Canadians don’t do crowdfunding the same as Americans or the British and we don’t seem to take as quickly to supporting charities online. Our conservative nature and the lack of strong social media skills by Canadian charities seem to be getting in the way.

Fundchange, one of Canada’s first “crowdfunding”, or social media driven fundraising websites for Canadian charities and non-profits, was built on the Ideavibes platform and focused on helping organizations not only fund worthwhile projects or doable asks, but also on helping raise the bar with respect to social media and fundraising in Canada.

We were fortunate to have had help from TELUS for two years in not only launching Fundchange, and matching funds raised, but also being their partner in delivering social media and crowdfunding workshops to charities and non-profits across Canada.

Fundchange raised over $62,000 from individual donors for small projects, and benefitted from sponsor funds through a series of matching rounds over the past two years. A total of 18 projects were funded on Fundchange and ranged in scope from programs to IT purchases, to travel and experiences.

Organizations such as the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, LiveWorkPlay, The Toronto City Mission, Pick My Class, Calgary’s Brown Bagging for Kids and others used Fundchange to mobilize support from people connected to them directly or through many degrees of separation through their social networks.

We are pleased to be working with Daryl Hatton and his team at FundRazr to give our members the opportunity, if desired, to transition to the innovative FundRazr platform. I am confident the charities and non-profits will benefit from what they have learned at Fundchange, and be able to achieve greater success on FundRazr’s more robust online giving and crowdfunding platform.

Thanks again for everyone’s support of Fundchange.

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Monday evening I had the chance to join the University of Ottawa Engineering Entrepreneurship and Computer Science Graduate Students Clubs to talk about crowdsourcing and crowdfunding.

The students are focused on building startups and they are already acutely aware of the challenges in Canada for finding startup funding. Making sure they have access to the funds to take their ideas for new products is important.

Presentation – Ottawa U Engineers / Computer Science Graduates

Whitepapers on Crowdfunding and Crowdsourcing can be found here.

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Ideavibes and CATA have announced the results of their survey on attitudes towards crowdfunding in Canada. The survey was targeted at the business start-up community.

Ideavibes_CATA_Infographic_hr (Download PDF)

Results of Aug/Sept 2012 Survey

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As a player in the crowdfunding space in a couple ways: one through the sales of our Crowd Engagement Platform – which does crowdfunding – and through the running of Fundchange (www.fundchange.com), we have had the opportunity to observe how Canadians approach crowdfunding and compare this to what we see is happening in other countries. Our conservative nature is showing through it appears.

It can’t be denied that crowdfunding is all the rage these days and there is some success happening through the different models out there. What we haven’t seen though, is a whole lot happening in Canada in this area – either from funders or from groups looking for funding. Our experience with Fundchange on the not-for-profit side so far has shown that Canadians don’t seem to be keen supporters of funding projects or ideas through this social media mechanism. We think this is rather odd because Canadians are supposed to be one of the top social media users in the world.

So we started to wonder, are Canadians’ attitudes different than the Americans or British towards crowdfunding?  Are we less likely to participate either as a fund seeker or a funder? The best way to get a handle on this was to check in with the crowd and see what their attitudes on crowdfunding were so  Ideavibes has partnered with the CATA Alliance to launch an online survey to get an idea of where start-ups especially sit with regard to crowdfunding.

You can find the survey here until August 24th so please take a few minutes (if you are Canadian) to participate: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/crowdfunding082012

Once the survey is complete, we will let you know what we find out.

Paul

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Today we posted a project on IndieGoGo to help us do some down and dirty tech work on our platform to improve the way it works as a white label crowdfunding platform for clients – but also to improve the way our now year old Fundchange works. The year has taught us that charities and non-profits need lots of help getting the crowd involved in the work they do by funding projects or doable asks.

Support our work here:  http://www.indiegogo.com/fundchange

If you would like to help us improve our platform to be able to help charities and non-profits in Canada but around the world through the use of our platform – then support our project on IndieGoGo http://www.indiegogo.com/fundchange. You may ask – why didn’t we use Kickstarter? Well – it appears that Kickstarter really doesn’t like Canadians – or it encourages us to lie in order to use their site. You can’t post on Kickstarter if you don’t have a US bank account, US address, etc. How rude!


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Crowdfunding is a great way to raise funds for various projects. More companies are realizing what they can accomplish by turning to their crowd and the benefits of receiving a larger number of smaller donations as opposed to seeking out one or two significant donations to fund projects. Crowdfunding is a great way to connect with your crowd and build a loyal following, as people are likely to contribute to companies and brands they care about, which also means you need to treat your crowd right and let them know where their dollars are going.

For some, crowdfunding is still new territory to explore, which means that the first question on the mind of most people is: does it work?

Crowdfunding Infographic

An infographic from Column Five showcases a series of crowdfunding tips, popular platforms and the pros and cons of crowdfunding. I’ve embedded the infographic below for you to check out:
Crowd Power: What Is Crowdfunding? [INFOGRAPHIC]
via: Crowd Power: What Is Crowdfunding? [INFOGRAPHIC]

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