Crowd fundraising: not as easy as pie

by Jini Stolk

Everywhere I go these days, people are interested in new fundraising methods, especially crowd funding platforms like Indiegogo or Kickstarter. (Check out the Wikipedia article comparing the various services: it’s a surprisingly helpful starting place.)

Smart people with good ideas are well aware that traditional funding sources are stretched thin. Our cultural entrepreneurs are looking to forge new paths to realize their projects.

I just reread a recent note from fellow CSI tenant Olivier Berger thanking CSI members for their invaluable help in getting Wondereur, the award-winning online art marketplace start up, into IdeaBOOST. IdeaBOOST is a powerful business accelerator that describes itself as “a bootcamp for technology platforms and interactive applications for the entertainment industry.” A project of the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab, with Google, Shaw and Corus, it offers tools, training, and mentorship for great new entertainment/technology start-ups – along with $15,000 towards development costs and $15,000 of in-kind services. Amazing support and well worth going for.

According to Olivier, he and his team “wandered the corridors and floors of CSI Spadina and Annex with homemade, organic chocolate cakes to ask for support” for his proposal. He attributed Wondereur’s win to the power of the CSI network, and its willingness to back new ideas with a supportive “click.”

As others pointed out, this was a good reminder to go above and beyond the obvious in seeking support – by going face to face and building relationships. Whether we’re talking cake or pie, this is something to keep in mind no matter what kind of crowd sourced or alternative funding method you try.

Anyway, whoever said that pie was easy? I personally have been a dismal failure at pie, perhaps, according to David Hemstad in this super funny piece from CBC’s Laugh out Loud, because I have the wrong name.

However I think I’d be willing to roll up my sleeves and take a crack at Indiegogoing someday.

Also worth a look: Centre for Social Innovation’s Catalyst Initiative : Crowdfunding for a Better World. Catalyst is hosting the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) on Thursday, October 10th at CSI Annex, and offering a chance to pitch your crowdfunding project to an expert panel and win a chance to be in a potential TV spot. The party starts at 6 PM. Limited tickets available, here.

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