The benefits and rewards of a successfully executed crowd funding campaign are well documented. As Owen Laughlin put it so well, “it’s always the idea that starts the money”. Crowd funding can deliver the money to great ideas, but crowd funding can also bring many other benefits by way of collective collaboration and focus as supporters bring so much more than just the funding.
Bringing into play the concepts of crowd sourcing (the close cousin of crowd funding), a cleverly orchestrated and smartly run crowd funding campaign will deliver to the project creator the benefits of open innovation.
Not the least of these is feedback. Project supporters will vote with their wallets. Rewards can be made up of various different product offerings, and these can be used to deliver market research. The crowd will tell you their preferred colours, styles, models and flavours of your offering. In addition, they can assist with critiquing the concept for which the campaign is being run.
The power of a connected crowd and extended networks allows for increased market reach for project creators. Akin to the power of tribal drum beats used to spread a message through the jungle, social media can be used to spread the word of not only the funding campaign, but of the project for which funding is being sought. Thus, when the campaign is (successfully) completed, and the project ready to commence, the market reach for the end product or project is already in place.
Successful campaigns not only deliver cash, they deliver something much stronger – social proof. A campaign which “the many” have backed allows for the project creator to take the project to the market, with evidence that there is indeed a market for the product, and that the market is willing to listen, to engage, and to open their wallets and buy.
And for campaigns that don’t meet their target, there is the added benefit of feedback as to how to do it better next time around. A sympathetic and supportive crowd will always be willing to give their views on what went wrong, and how to do it better next time. Even more importantly, the supporters of the first attempt have usually built sufficient familiarity and trust to pledge their support to a project creator’s second attempt to reach their goal through a subsequent campaign.
The power of the crowd is able to be tapped through the wonderful vehicle of crowd funding. But it’s so much more than about the money – it’s about the community and collective collaboration, the nurturing and support, and the “1+1=3” effect that crowd funding can bring.