KATHMANDU, Oct 31: The social media has backed a new way of fundraising – crowd funding. Those who have brilliant ideas and creative projects that haven’t been able to materialize because of the lack of finances can now work the financial burden through the use of the social media on crowd funding platforms.
From politicians to musicians to entrepreneurs, the trend of raising small amount of money from a large audience has picked up around the world and Nepalis are not far behind.
For his movie Highway, Producer and Director Deepak Rauniyar raised funds through the crowd funding website Kickstarter. The project was able to raise a $33,647 of its pledged $33,000 goal in November 2011. The band Space Cake Break launched a campaign of another platform, Indiegogo to fund their EP, but couldn’t reach their $2,850 goal.
Recently the Kathmandu International Art Festival (KIAF) 2012 started a campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds which will partially cover the costs of this month long art festival featuring 100 artists from 31 different countries. The festival aims to raise $25,000 by the end of November 13. (To help donate, find them on www.indiegogo.com/kiaf2012).
“As a non-commercial festival, securing funding has been the Festival’s biggest and most elucidating challenge,” says Nischal Oli, Communications Coordinator for KIAF 2012, who has earlier been involved with other crowd funding campaigns. “We decided crowd funding would be a great way to expand our fund raising abilities.
For one, we realized it would be a way to promote the festival globally and also reel in donors from abroad,” he adds.
Apart from getting people to donate their money, there have been projects and campaigns in Nepal competing for voting-competition based grants through websites.
Bato Ko Cinema: Films in the Streets of Kathmandu, a project by Sattya Media Arts Collective secured $2,500 on GOOD Maker on October 15 for being the winning and most-voted idea amongst 100 others in the website’s Improve Your Community Challenge.
In September, three Nepali organizations, Help Nepal Network (HeNN), Grassroot Movement in Nepal (GMIN) and Nyaya Health, made it the nominations for Chase Community Giving Contest and were also successful in receiving a $100,000 grant each, through the multitude of votes they gathered online.
The Chase Community Giving contest is a global charity contest participated by 7,000 charities which awards charities grants based on the number of votes received by a charity on Facebook. The charity receiving the most number of votes would win $250,000 while the rest of the 195 charities with most number of votes would receive grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. The three Nepali charities were able to maintain a top 10 position in the contest. In fact, HeNN secured the second position with a total of over 61,000 votes.
It feels good to hear the winning stories and the fact that crowd funding and online-voting challenges are seeing participation for Nepali ideas and people. However, a lot goes into the execution of such campaigns and to make sure that the goal is reached.
“There are countless resources online that we referred to before launching our campaign. These things take time and effort to execute well, especially if you want to reach your goals. The beginning step is to choose the right platform,” Oli advises. There are options, but for a non-US event/project the options are limited. “Even though there are ways around the US requirement, we went with Indiegogo for one specific reason, you get all the money you raise even without reaching your goal amount,” he shares.
Next in the line is getting the word out about your campaign, which according to Oli is top priority. “You need to decide on your target group, who will donate to your cause, and how you might be able to reach them. Social networking is crucial for this, and it is always suggested to have a strong foundation in social networking before launching your campaign. Also, your pitch has to be just as strong, to attract those strangers on the net, who are looking for a worthy cause,” puts Oli.
He shares that when it comes to funding received through voting, the challenges are limited to mobilizing your own skills of promoting the campaign and convincing people to click in their votes.
“However when raising a certain amount of money, it is way tougher. One problem is that credit cards are not widely used in Nepal. Secondly, the culture of donating money is also not very prevalent,” he opines. “Even with voting, people are very skeptical, which is good in a way because they are questioning the legitimacy of the project, but other times it’s just too much. People will not even cast a vote that takes a minute to do, just because they might not feel comfortable enough. It’s the convincing game you are playing,” adds Oli.
Our recent successes in promoting Nepali causes through voting-competitions and crowd funding campaigns have great examples of what potential crowd-funding brings to the table for Nepal.
It is just another tool that can be used to expose your ideas to a bigger network and give them a kick start with a little help from the global community who believes and supports them.