Today’s blog celebrates the creativity of Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal featuring Kerry Washingon. Scandal is a political television drama that stars Washington’s character, Olivia Pope. It focuses on Pope’s crisis management firm, Pope & Associates, its staff, the President of the United States and the White House staff.
Tonight is the season three premiere. I’ll be watching it with my Blogalicious family. If you are headed to Blogalicious, I hope to see you at the Scandal party!
It’s finally here! It’s Blogalicious Week in my world! That’s right I am taking a whole week to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Blogalicious community and conferences which connect over 5,000 multicultural women and men influencers with brands and celebrate diversity in social media.
I’ve been a fan ever since the first conference in 2009. Read my Examiner.com blog which captures the magic of my first Blogalicious experience.
The 2011 conference at the Gaylord National Hotel in Maryland was probably the most convenient for me since I live in Washington, D.C. It was a lot of fun because my dad, Dr. John F. Leeke was able to attend. He had a lot of fun learning about blogging. His experience inspired the 2012 launch of his blog.
The 2012 conference was held in Las Vegas. It was my first visit to the city. I loved the early morning walks Xina and I took (we roomed together again which was a lot of fun). I also enjoyed the wonderful conversations I had with various Blogalicious community members during the Afternoon Tea. I learned a lot from Mario Armstrong’s keynote and was inspired by the luncheon talks given by Miss Lori and Corynne Corbett. I was honored to share my insights about blogging and the blogosphere during the community jam. Danica Kombol brought the Heart of Haiti family together with an impromptu get together!
This year’s conference is going to be AWESOME. I am rooming with Xina and my dad is coming. I am so excited to see everyone, listen and learn from the brilliant speakers, share my creativity coaching services in one-on-one sessions, moderate the crowdfunding panel on October 4th, and sip some sweet tea!
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?
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 email@example.com.
In less than 30 days, I’ll be traveling to Atlanta to meet up with some of my favorite digital sisters and brothers at the fifth annual Blogalicious Weekend Conference. The conference will be held on October 3-5 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. This year’s theme is “Create. Build.Fund.”
I am excited about attending the conference because:
I am looking forward to meeting new digital sisters and brothers.
I will get to see so many of my digital sisters and brothers like Stacey Ferguson (chief curator and co-founder of Blogalicious), Boni Candelario, Danica Kombol, Andrea Amir, Amy Vernon, Mike Street, Maura Hernandez, Elisa Camahort Paige, Terrence Gaines, Dariela Cruz, Marie Denee, Jenee Darden (my Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority sister), Thien Kim, Amy Mascott, Leticia Barr, Krystal Grant, Swarthy Daisy, Ana Flores, MJ Tam, Jeannette Kaplun, Denene Milner, Shameeka Ayers, Trina Small, Yoly Mason, Luvvie Ajayi, Afrobella, Ronnie and Lamar Tyler, and so many more groovy people!
I get to talk about crowdfunding (one of my favorite topics) with Bola Adewumi, Black Startup Chief Technology Officer and Black & Sexy TV founders Numa Perrier and Dennis Dortch on October 4 at 5:30 p.m. I am a HUGE fan of Black & Sexy TV webisodes!!!!! What a treat!!!!
I am providing 15 minute creativity coaching sessions to Blogalicious attendees during the conference. More details on how to sign up are coming soon.
I get to room with my digital sister Xina Eiland (it will be our third time as Blogalicious roomies!
To learn more about the conference, click here. The conference blog posts are filled with great information about the sessions and speakers. So go on and use my special 30% discount to register and attend the conference. Click here and use the code SpeakerFriend for your registration. See you in Atlanta!!
Blogalicious is one of my favorite communities and conferences because it celebrates diversity in the blogosphere. It embodies the spirit of Digital Sisterhood and Digital Brotherhood! I have been a fan since the first conference in 2009 (have attended all four conferences too).
This year, I am excited about celebrating the fifth anniversary of Blogalicious. Why? First, I adore the theme which is “Create. Build. Fund.” Second, Stacey “Justice Fergie” Ferguson, Blogalicious co-founder and chief curator, and her Blogalicious team (Jazzy Jones, Xina Eiland, Thien-Kim Lam, Jana Pauldin, Terence Gaines, and Joe Ferguson) know how to plan and host signature conferences and events that leave me with an abundance of information, inspiration, and Instagram moments filled with deep connection and friendship that remain etched on my heart for years.
Today, I am excited about Exhale, a provocative new talk series about African American women on ASPiRE TV that features five of my favorite creative women: Angela Burt-Murray, Comedian Erin Jackson, Issa Rae, Malinda Williams, and Rene Syler. Thank goodness these ladies have been blessed with the gift of gab. Their candid discussions will offer intergenerational commentary on a wide range of topics including family, relationships, money, faith and everything that African American women are talking about. I know the show will influence, inform, and inspire me and my sistalove friends! That’s one of the reasons I am so excited about it!!!! So watch it tonight at 8:00 p.m.
I AM EXCITED ABOUT EXHALE BECAUSE…..
I AM EXCITED because I am hungry … no starving is a better word. I am starving for positive television programming that features women who look like me and share my interests and concerns.
I AM EXCITED about hearing from Angela Burt-Murray, founder of CocoaFab TV and former Essence editor-in-chief. I miss Angela’s voice. When she was at Essence, I enjoyed reading her letter to the reader each month. Her interviews and articles always informed and inspired me. I need Angela to inform and inspire me each week!
I AM EXCITED about Malinda Williams because she stole my heart when she played the character Bird on the wildly successful Soul Food television series on Showtime years ago. I also adore her down-to-earth personality, passion, and style! I need Malinda to remind me to stay grounded and focused on my passion as I live life with style!
I AM EXCITED about Rene Syler because she speaks her mind and writes with a soulful honesty that makes me say “AMEN.” The first time I learned about Rene was at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference in 2011. She was a luncheon keynote speaker who shared so passionately from her life. I left Blogalicious as a Rene Syler fan. I need to witness Rene’s passionate honesty and humor each week!
I AM EXCITED about Issa Rae because she is incredibly gifted as a digital entrepreneur, writer, director, producer, and actress. I fell madly in love with Issa’s webisode series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl a few years ago. Since then, I have followed her online and watched all of the programs she has created and produced. Last year, I met and heard her speak at the Minority Media & Telecom Council’s 10th Annual Access to Capital and Telecommunications Policy Conference. I need to receive a weekly dose of Issa’s creative energy dipped in authentic and awkward humor.
I AM EXCITED about Erin Jackson because she is dangerously funny. I discovered her humor and wit when ASPiRE TV starting promoting Exhale several months ago. She reminds me to laugh and not take myself so seriously. I love her crazy sense of humor. I need to catch Erin’s laughter train on a weekly basis!
Creativity Thursday Request
My excitement is so great that I want to see these ladies succeed beyond their wildest imaginations. So I am using my blog and social media platforms to encourage others to watch and support the show. With that said, please take some time to give these five Exhale ladies some social love! Encourage your social network of family, friends, and fans to do the same.
This year, I started subscribing to the RailsGirls DC Twitter account and blog and reading them on a regular basis. That’s how I learned about the June workshop on how to build apps and other programs with Ruby on Rails. I applied to participate and explained how I wanted to create apps to support the Digital Sisterhood Network. Guess what? My application was approved and I’ll be attending the June. Coding here I come!
What tech tools have you acquired or planning to learn this year?