Seth Godin recently took some time to write about the dangers of a grant applcation based on Facebook likes, as well as some observations with Kickstarter and while I am not nearly as clairvoyant, I do have some oberservations I'd like to make about the new fundraising landscape and I'm going to tell you about them in the way I enjoy:
Kickstarter is a silver bullet- Just yesterday I met someone who casually said that they were going to raise $5,000 through a Kickstarter campaign and when I asked about the number of people on his email list who would support it, he wasn't sure. I told him to check in with his team first and see how many people were actually interested in a campaign and would be willing to get behind him. If you go the silver bullet route, you need to hit your target. If you don't, the wolf gets you. Kickstarter is attractive to a lot of fundraisers because it offers what seems like a quick and easy solution to fundraising, the problem is if you take that shot and miss, it's game over. Before you decide that you want to take that risk, I suggest doing some reading up on the topic and asking other friends about their campaigns. If you choose the silver bullet, have a plan.
IndieGoGo is Holy Water- The attractive thing about IndieGoGo to a lot of people is that unlike Kickstarter, it's not all or nothing. If you don't hit your fundraising goal, they take a larger percentage but you still get some money. If you choose holy water as a weapon, it won't ever kill the monster. It will weaken it and perhaps slow it down, but all it does is give you a chance to get away. You may walk away from the IndieGoGo campaign with some money or hit your goal, but just like Kickstarter, you need to have a plan in place, because once you use that holy water, you're going to need some back up.
Email and in person meetings are a cross- I would argue that even with all of these tools out there, your most effective fundraising tool is still your email and in person meetings. There is nothing more powerful or more effective than personal interaction. A cross will keep the monster at bay as long as you believe in it completely. If you truly believe in your project and go to others with your vision, you are more likely to succeed. It's not high tech, or a silver bullet, or even holy water, but it will often be the thing that saves you.
So think about these things as you are choosing your weapons in the fundraising landscape and stay safe out there.