Today’s blog is all about my new favorite thing to sip after my evening yoga practice — Honey Lavender tea by Yogi Tea. Tranquility is the best word to describe this magical elixir of relaxation. Each tea bag has a special message attached to it that I use as an evening reflection. It helps me set the tone for a peaceful night’s sleep.
What do you like to drink after your yoga practice or class?
I’ve been prepping for the Blogalicious Weekend Conference that kicks off on October 3 in Atlanta. That means I have been writing blog posts, sending and replying to emails, making phone calls, and scheduling blog posts and social media for next week. It’s been a busy week and now that it is coming to a close I am feeling rather accomplished! I can actually breathe in TGIF! and exhale a gigantic smile (especially since I am going to my Kundalini yoga class and participating in the Digital Sisterhood #Unplugged Weekend on Saturday and Sunday)!
So without further adieu, here is my final blog post on Blogalicious crowdfunding resources. Today’s post features some of my favorite crowdfunding campaigns created by members of the Blogalicious community. Enjoy!
Dariana and Dariela Cruz’s Indiegogo fundraiser and PayPal fundraiser to help their business, Dari Design Studio prepare for and attend SUREX, the global marketplace for original art and design where artists, agents, and licensors connect with manufacturers and retailers to create products
Takeyah Young’s ChipIn.com fundraiser for a trip to work with the Edeyo Foundation and Rhythm ‘N Dance on health and nutrition programming and a cultural arts education program at the Joyous Heart School in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti (CHIPIN.com shut down in March 2013)
Are you coming to Blogalicious? If so, make sure you attend the panel discussion on CrowdFunding: The Financial Backing for Your Project Is at Your Fingertips! that will take place on Friday, October 4 from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. It features the Techturized, Inc. co-founders, Chanel Martin (CSO), Candace Mitchell (CEO), and Jessica Watson (CMO). They are responsible for creating MadameYou.com, an online destination for African-American women to share their hair experiences, and give advice to each other regarding how to tackle hair issues. During the panel, you will have a chance to hear the Techturized co-founders share their lessons learned from their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask them questions about your own crowdfunding plans. And I’ll be there to moderate the panel!
It’s almost October. What are you planning to do next month?
Next month which is really next week — I plan to attend the Blogalicious Weekend Conference. It will be held on October 3-5 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. I am really excited because this year marks Blogalicious’ fifth anniversary. I have attended all of the conferences since the first one in 2009!
I am also excited because I’m facilitating creativity coaching sessions for Blogalicious attendees throughout the conference and moderating a crowdfunding panel on October 4 that features the Techturized, Inc. co-founders, Chanel Martin (CSO), Candace Mitchell (CEO), and Jessica Watson (CMO). They are responsible for creating MadameYou.com, an online destination for African-American women to share their hair experiences, and give advice to each other regarding how to tackle hair issues.
If you are headed to the Blogalicious Weekend Conference and want to meet the Techturized co-founders, I hope you will stop by the panel discussion on CrowdFunding: The Financial Backing for Your Project Is at Your Fingertips! that will take place on Friday, October 4 from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. During the panel, you will have a chance to hear the Techturized co-founders share their lessons learned from their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask them questions about your own crowdfunding plans.
If you are a crowdfunding newbie, check out my crowdfunding overview and resources, Kickstarter Journey story, and crowdfunding checklist and tips below. This information is based on excerpts from my new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online (October 2013).
CROWDFUNDING OVERVIEW AND RESOURCES
What is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is a web-based financial model that allows individuals to use social-networking sites to identify and solicit donors who pool their money in community to support creative projects, entrepreneurial endeavors, and social causes.
There are four types of crowdfunding: donation-based, equity-based, lending-based, and reward-based. Donation-based crowdfunding allows you to give a financial contribution to a charitable cause. With reward-based crowdfunding, you invest a certain financial amount and receive a reward which is a tangible item or service in return for your investment. Equity-based crowdfunding offers you a stake in the company when you make a financial investment. Lending-based crowdfunding treats your financial contribution as a loan that will be repaid over a period of time. For purposes of this blog post, the information we are sharing relates primarily to donation and rewards-based crowdfunding.
Three of the most popular rewards-based crowdfunding platforms are GoFundMe, Indiegogo (co-founded by a female entrepreneur Danae Ringelmann), and Kickstarter. PayPal is another web platform people use to collect donations. There are other crowdfunding platforms and online fundraising web sites that support children and youth, ethnic groups, nonprofit organizations, social causes, and women. See the list below.
Children and Youth
Piggybackr.com is a crowdfunding platform that helps children and youth (kindergarten through college-aged kids) to raise money for their specific cause (co-founded by female entrepreneur Andrea Lo).
Aflamnah.com is the first crowdfunding platform dedicated to helping independent filmmakers, artists, geeks, students, innovators, and thinkers in the Arab world raise funds for their projects (co-founded by female entrepreneur Vida Rizq).
BlackStartUp.com is a crowdfunding platform for projects and ideas that will have a positive impact on the African American community.
Crowdismo.com is a Latino crowdfunding platform that Latino entrepreneurs, designers, programmers, marketers, educators, students, community leaders, cause champions, journalists, engineers, inventors, artists, and producers can use to fund their projects.
ShopZAOZAO.com is a crowdfunding platform that allows Asian designers to post projects and receive production funding (founded by female entrepreneurs Ling Cai and Vicky Wu).
Nonprofit Organizations and Social Causes
Crowdrise.com is an online fundraising web site that allows individual fundraisers, nonprofit fundraising, and event fundraising (co-founded by female film producer Shauna Robertson).
Fundly.com is a social fundraising platform that helps individuals and organizations raise money for causes they care about.
GiveForward.com is an online fundraising web site that allows friends and family to donate to patients navigating a medical crisis (co-founded by female entrepreneur Desiree Vargas Wrigley).
Catapalt.org is a crowdfunding site that works for gender justice and equality that only nonprofit and charitable organizations can use (co-founded by female entrepreneur Maz Kessler).
CrowdHelps.com is a crowdfunding platform that helps women. People can help change a woman’s life by donating funds, professional advice, free time, or kind words (co-founded by female entrepreneur Silvia Podubni).
GirlTank.org is a community and crowdfunding platform that helps women and girl changemakers fund and grow their social enterprises (founded by female entrepreneurs Tara Roberts and Sejal Hathis).
Moola-Hoop.com is a crowdfunding platform for women entrepreneurs, owners, and managers (founded by female entrepreneurs Brenda Bazan and Nancy Hayes).
NapTimeStartUps.com is a crowdfunding web site for mom and women entrepreneurs that will launch in December 2013 (founded by female entrepreneurs Catherine Snowman and Jenivieve Elly).
If you are raising money for your film or online television program and looking for an alternative to Indiegogo and Kickstarter (two of the most popular platforms for filmmakers and webisode creators), check out the following platforms.
JuntoBoxFilms.com is a film collaboration and mentoring studio that uses its social platform to empower creators, writers, producers, directors, and actors to develop films with budgets starting at $250,000.
Mobcaster.com is a crowdfunding platform focused on finding, funding, and broadcasting independent online television programs.
SeedandSpark.com is a selective film crowdfunding platform that approves each project (founded by female entrepreneur and filmmaker Emily Seed).
Slated.com is an online film marketplace that connects a network of investors, filmmakers, and industry professionals.
My crowdfunding journey began with a challenge from my Ameriprise Financial financial advisor Judy Weathers during our first quarter meeting in 2010. We were reviewing my self-publishing expenses for two books published in 2007 and 2009, and estimating the expenses for a third book. Judy asked me if I could find investors or alternative funding for the book. At first, I thought she was asking me to do the impossible, but a small voice inside convinced mer to be open and pursue alternative funding.
Months passed without me lifting a finger to identify alternative funding. Then, it happened. The light bulb went off during an episode of Digital Sisterhood Radio. I was moderating a panel of creative women in social media when Abiola Abrams, author and founder of AbiolaTV.com, referenced an Essence article that discussed the power of using Kickstarter to fund books and films. After the show, I visited Kickstarter.com and learned about several authors who used it to raise money for their books. Their success inspired me to take the plunge.
Here’s what happened: I created two Kickstarter campaigns for my self-publishing package and photography fees to support my Digital Sisterhoodbook. Using video was a must for me. So I recorded an eight-minute video with my laptop’s web cam that was very simple and shared my reasons for writing the book and using Kickstarter. I included the same information in the description section of my campaign page. I also offered seven pledge options ($1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, and $200) with rewards that included:
$1 Pledge: Donors names will be published in the book as supporters.
$5 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above and access to the behind-the-scenes video & audio updates that will document the creation of the book.
$10 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above and access to a live author chat on UStream.tv during the book writing and publishing process.
$20 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above, a personal thank-you note with book logo and signed by author, and an invitation to participate in the online book release party via UStream.tv.
$50 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above, an invitation to vote on the book cover design, and a Digital Sisterhood mug.
$100 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above and an autographed copy of the book.
$200 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above and a private one-hour author chat via Skype or telephone with the author.
With the support of my generous donors (backers is the Kickstarter term), my first campaign raised $1,159 in 2010. My second campaign raised $701 in 2011. I also received donations via PayPal and from friends who gave cash and check donations.
My funding goals were very conservative. I wanted to make sure I received every dollar I raised because Kickstarter only offers fixed funding, an all-or-nothing approach. That means if you don’t reach your funding goal, you don’t receive any of the money you raised.
The biggest challenges I faced with my campaigns were writing a book while I was conducting two fundraisers and underestimating the time it would actually take to publish the book. My underestimation caused a three-year delay in my delivery of rewards to my donors (I am in the process of delivering rewards over the next two months). To maintain communication with my donors, I posted regular updates about my writing process in 2011 and part of 2012. I slacked off in 2013. Fortunately, my donors have not complained. They are a great group of people who have a lot of compassion and patience. They taught me that crowdfunding is rooted in generosity. For that, I am truly grateful.
As a result of my experience, I believe crowdfunding is rooted in:
Passion for a cause, project, or venture;
The experience of connection, relationship building, and social capital within a community;
The power of asking;
The act of generosity; and
The practice of gratitude.
CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN CHECKLIST & TIPS
Now that you know more about crowdfunding and my Kickstarter journey, I thought you might like a checklist and tips to help guide you through the process of developing your own crowdfunding campaign.
Campaign Checklist & Tips
1) PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Describe your crowdfunding project in 140 characters or less. Give it a name that sparks interest. You will be able to use this short description as a springboard for writing your full campaign description (narrative or story).
2) FUNDING GOAL: How much money do you want to raise?
3) FUNDING PLEDGES: What types of pledges are you seeking to receive from donors ($1, $5, $10, $20, $30, $40, $50, $75, $100, $200 or more)?
4) CROWDFUNDING MODEL: What type of crowdfunding model works best for your project: fixed funding or flexible funding?
5) CROWDFUNDING PLATFORM: What crowdfunding platforms are best suited for your project (GoFundMe, Indiegogo, Kickstarter or others)?
6) CROWDFUNDING PROJECT BEST PRACTICES: Identify five or more examples of similar crowdfunding projects. Watch the campaign videos. Read the campaign descriptions. Check out the pledge amounts and types of rewards. Review any updates that were sent to donors. Take notes on what you like or dislike.
7) CAMPAIGN LAUNCH DATE: When will you launch the crowdfunding campaign?
-Can your launch date be tied to a major awareness event or during a month when you think your audience will be more interested in supporting you?
-Will you launch the campaign with a special online event (Google+ Hangout video chat or Twitter chat) or offline event (meet up)?
8) DURATION OF CAMPAIGN: How long will you run the campaign (number of days you will use to raise the funding)?
9) CAMPAIGN TEAM: Who will help you manage the campaign (interns, social media enthusiasts, marketing/PR professionals or volunteers, family members, and friends).
10) CAMPAIGN COMMUNITY (AMBASSADORS AND DONORS): Who are the members of your campaign community?
-Make a list (use an Excel spreadsheet) of your blog readers, email list members, e-newsletter subscribers, Facebook fans, friends, and group members, Google+ friends, Instagram followers, LinkedIn members, Pinterest followers, Twitter followers, and YouTube and Vimeo subscribers, and other social networking site friends.
-What organizations and groups do you belong to? Do you have the contact information for the organizers and the group members?
-What conferences or events do you regularly attend? Do you have the contact information for the organizers and the people you have met at the events?
-What groups of people will be interested in your campaign? Do you have the contact information for the groups (web site, email address, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other sites)?
-Your campaign community members are your donor base. Ask them to donate to your campaign.
-Your campaign community members are also your potential ambassadors for your campaign. Ask them to share your campaign information, social media, and video with people in their online, email, and offline networks.
11) YOUR CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN FULL DESCRIPTION: Why is your campaign project needed? How will your campaign project make the world better? What makes you the person to lead your campaign project? How do you plan to spend the money once you have raised it?
12) CAMPAIGN REWARDS: How will you thank your ambassadors and donors for supporting your campaign? What rewards will you offer your donors?
-Research the rewards offered by other crowdfunding campaigns.
-Develop a list of 10 creative and personal rewards you can offer.
-How much money will it cost you to deliver the rewards (factor in shipping and packaging fees)?
13) CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH STRATEGIES: What tools will you use to communicate with your audience? Are you going to create a video or use any photos (I say DO BOTH!)?
-Identify where your audience members spend their time online. Hopefully, you have established an online presence on the sites.
-Use Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest (create a board for your campaign), Tumblr, Twitter, Vimeo, and YouTube to promote your campaign, drum up positive media coverage from bloggers/e-zines/magazines/newspapers, and recruit new campaign community members (ambassadors and donors).
-Brainstorm ideas for your videos. How will you make your videos (web cam flip camera, phone camera)? Where will you record the videos? Who will help you make the videos? Will you use any music or photos in the videos?
You may want to do three short videos (one to three minutes) during the campaign. The first video could be used as your pitch video (two to three minutes). Your pitch video tells your story. Watch five to seven pitch videos created for successful campaigns. Make note of why you like them. Try to incorporate some of their best features in your video.
The second video (one to two minutes) could be a status update about the campaign which includes shout outs to campaign ambassadors and donors (one to two minutes).
The third video could be a final thank you to your supporters.
-You may want to prepare a short script for your videos. Keep your script simple and easy to understand. Practice what you will say several times. Record three sample videos and ask several people to critique your presentation.
-When you record your video, make sure you wear clothing (and hairstyle and make up) that compliments you. You want to look relaxed, down-to-earth, and friendly. Have fun!
-Create an editorial calendar and sample posts that you will use throughout the campaign. Include dates for submitting press releases about the campaign (status updates with any successes).
-To make the lives of your campaign ambassadors easier, send them sample posts or tweets that they can share with their networks.
14) ADDITIONAL CAMPAIGN FUNDING SOURCES: Will you use PayPal.com to collect donations from donors who may not want to use your crowdfunding platform? Will you accept cash and personal checks from donors who may not want to use PayPal.com or your crowdfunding platform?
15) CELEBRATING YOUR CAMPAIGN SUCCESS: How will you celebrate your campaign’s success? Will you host an online event (Twitter chat or Google+ Hangout) or a local event (open house, meet up or happy hour) in your city or town? Will you send a video thank you, email thank-you notes, or mail personalized thank you notes?
16) POST CAMPAIGN OUTREACH: How will you keep in touch with your campaign community of ambassadors, donors, and supporters? Will you send them monthly or quarterly updates via email or an e-newsletter? Will you post a series of updates on your campaign update page, blog, or Facebook page?
In the art world, Hashmi is known as Zarina. She is originally from India, one of my favorite places in the world. Her Paper Like Skin exhibition explores her artwork and career since 1961. It is an impressive collection of 60 works. My favorite piece is Shadow House. See photo below.
I am drawn to her work because of her minimalist style, feminist spirit, and the magical way she uses paper. As a printmaker and sculptor, she transforms paper pulp into abstract woodcuts, etchings, drawings, rubbings, and casts. Her work also tells stories of dispossession, exile, and making new homes in different places such as Thailand, Germany, France, and Japan before settling in the United States. When she moved to New York City in the 1970s, she became a prominent figure in feminist art circles.
Today’s blog is all about the Blogalicious Weekend Conference and creativity. Read on!
Creativity is one of my life’s passions. I believe we are born with a spark of creativity that can awaken us to an amazing life. Throughout life’s journey our creative spark needs nourishment, guidance, and support. One way we can nurture our creative spark and gain support and guidance for our dreams, ideas, and endeavors is with the support of a creativity coach.
Since 2009, I have served as a creativity coach and helped clients to identify, understand, and embrace their inner critic (the inner voice that tells you cannot or don’t have what it takes to create, build, or fund your dreams, ideas, and endeavors). With my support, they have been able to confront and overcome their fears, doubts, and obstacles that prevent them from creating, building, and funding their dreams, ideas, and endeavors. They have mapped out their goals and timelines, and developed a strategic plan to accomplish them with my guidance. Watching my clients succeed brings me great joy! That’s why I am offering one-on-one creativity coaching to Blogalicious Weekend Conference attendees on October 3-5 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.
For Blogalicious Weekend Conference Attendees: If you have a burning desire to launch a new idea or endeavor or you feel uncertain, doubtful, or fearful about giving birth to a dream you have been holding onto for the past month, year or decade, sign up for a 15 minute creativity coaching session with me. Click here to register for a session (LIMITED NUMBER SO ACT SOON!). Once you have registered for a session, please complete the short SurveyMonkey questionnaire (9 questions). Your responses will help prepare me for our 15 minute session. All sessions will be held in the “Vinnings” conference room at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. If you have additional questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since it’s National Yoga Month, I decided to up my yoga game by adding a weekly Kundalini class to my practice. I am taking classes offered by Yoga House founder Elizabeth Greathouse a/k/a Gurumukh East on Saturday mornings.
Kundalini Yoga is known as the yoga of awareness because it uses body locks, breathing exercises, eye-focus, mantras, mudras, and yoga postures to help you gain control over your body’s mental, physical, and nervous energies. It also helps you to balance your glandular system, strengthen your nervous system, expand your lung capacity, and purifiy your blood. The word “Kundalini” refers to energy located at the base of your spine that can be drawn up through the body to awaken your seven chakras (energy centers).
Are you trying any new types of yoga or yoga poses during National Yoga Month?
You’re invited to attend an author talk and book signing for my third book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online on Saturday, October 19, 2013, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery located at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, 1632 U Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. (three blocks from the Green Line U Street/Cardozo Metro Station). The book will be available for sale ($23.95) during the book signing. Click here to register on Eventbrite.
About the Book
Ananda Kiamsha Madelyn Leeke became a pioneer in the digital universe twenty-seven years ago, when she logged in to the LexisNexis research service as a first-year law student at Howard University School of Law. She was immediately smitten with what the World Wide Web could do. Later, while attending the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995, Leeke found herself in an Internet café, where she experienced an interaction that changed her life.
Over time, through interactions and conversations both online and in-person, Leeke developed the concept of “digital sisterhood.” Embracing this revolutionary concept led to a complete career reinvention that finally allowed her to embrace her enormous creative spirit. She found in her digital sisters true “sheroes” and virtual mentors. Her blogging and social media adventures highlight the lessons she learned in the process, the reasons she launched the Digital Sisterhood Network, and the experiences that caused her to adopt what she terms the “fierce living” commitments.
In her memoir, Digital Sisterhood, Leeke details her journey, sharing experiences and insights helped her and her digital sisters use the Internet as a self-discovery tool and identifying leadership archetypes that shaped her role as a social media leader.
11 Things You Can Do Before October 19th Book Reading
If you are in the D.C. area, register yourself and invite five friends to the October 19th book reading.
Share this notice on your social media networks or blog.
Today’s blog celebrates the artwork of Nigerian contemporary artist Victor Ekpuk. Last weekend, I started my Autumn Artist Weekends with a visit to Morton Fine Art to see a solo exhibition of Ekpuk’s artwork, “Reminiscences and Current Musings.”
My favorite piece in the exhibition is Idaresit (Joyful Heart). See photo below.
I discovered Ekpuk’s work this summer during one of my visits to Morton Fine Art. I was immediately drawn to his use of nsibidi “traditional” Nigerian graphic symbols and writing systems in his work. The symbols refer to abstract concepts, actions, or things. When they are used, they facilitate communication among peoples speaking different languages. Nsibidi is indigenous to the Ejagham peoples of southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon in the Cross River region. Ibibio, Efik and Igbo people also use it. Click here to read more about the meaning of nsibidi.
I love how Ekpuk’s work incorporates aspects of his ancestry. It makes me think that the spirit of his ancestors are embedded into his artwork. The placement of the nsibidi symbols in his works creates soulful, lyrical poetry that speaks silently to my spirit. Perhaps that’s why the poet in me feels so connected to his work!
If you are in the D.C. area, I encourage you to visit the exhibition at Morton Fine Art. It ends October 8. The Artist Talk will be held on Saturday, September 28 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Hope to see you there!
This week, Latinos in Tech Innovation and Social Media aka LATISM is hosting its fifth annual conference on September 19-21 in New York City. This year’s conference features the first-ever Latino Hackathon, a discussion about race in the Latino community, a town hall meeting on education, and various panels on being bilingual, content creation, funding for tech startups, how to use how to use social media to gain a better understanding of customers and the competition, immigration, monetizing blogs, social good, storytelling, and women in tech. Click here to read the agenda. You can also follow the #LATISM13 hashtag on all social media channels to keep up with conference happenings.
LATISM, the largest organization for Latino and Latina professionals engaged in social media, is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community. Premier Transmedia founder and Plaza Familia CEO Ana Roca Castro established LATISM in 2009. To learn more, LIKE LATISM on Facebook, follow @LATISM on Twitter, and join the weekly #LATISM Twitter party on Thursday evenings at 9:00 p.m. EST.
LATISM’s first conference was held at the National Council of La Raza in December 2009. My digital sisters Julie Diaz-Asper and Kety Esquivel encouraged me to attend the conference. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I learned so much about Latinos in the digital space and was able to teach a yoga class for social media users in Spanglish!