Friday, September 3, 2010

Listen Up - Good Social Media Experts to Follow

A colleague and friend of mine, Todd Bolster, at The Basement Design + Motion, were IM'ing each other on Facebook yesterday. I was helping him brainstorm potential prospects and he jokingly referred to me as the Forbes Magazine of our industry.  I think that industry spans some territory: the interfraternal community, nonprofit community, and knowledge about social media.  I took that comment as a huge compliment, because if there is one thing I like to do is network with people and listen to what they have to say.

With that in mind, I thought I would share with you some good people to follow, network with, like, and above all...listen to what they have to say about social media, communication trends, nonprofit technology trends, and other things "tech."  By no means is this an exhaustive list.  This was just my off-the-top of my head list of recommendations to get you started.

On Facebook
NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network
Fortune Magazine
Fast Company

On Twitter

You can easily go crazy with following people so I picked out my favorites that post the most relevant and useful content.  I would be interested in hearing your recommendations.  And in case you are so inclined, you can follow me on twitter at @bethanydeines.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Kickstarter - Coolest Idea to Fund Innovative Projects

In the June 2010 issue of Fast Company, I read an short blurb about the 74th most innovative company: Kickstarter.  It was founded by Perry Chen and Yancey Strickler.  According to Fast Company, Kickstarter is a "...platform that lets users crowdsource funding for creative ventures."  Interesting.  I was sufficiently intrigued because I believe 115% in igniting passion and this sounded like a way for creative people to actually get their dreams funded.  Afterall, nothing propels dreams into reality better than cold hard cash.  So, time to learn more...
Here's how Kickstarter describes itself on the FAQ page:
Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors.
We believe that...
• A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide.
• A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.
Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.
Here's how it works, according to Kickstarter:
Every project has a funding goal (any dollar amount) and a time limit (from 1 - 90 days) set by the project creator. When the deadline is reached, there are either of two results:

1. Funding Successful: If a project has met or surpassed its funding goal, all backers' credit cards are instantly charged and funds go directly to the project creator. Project creators are then responsible for completing the project and delivering rewards as promised.'
2. Funding Unsuccessful: If a project has NOT met its funding goal, all pledges are canceled.
There are certain Kickstarter guidelines, such as people can't use this for fundraising, charity projects, funding business expenses (i.e. payroll, rent) or asking people to fund personal needs (mortgage payments, travel, medical expenses, living expenses, etc.).  I appreciate guidelines.  I think it gives programs legitimacy and credibility.  Always good to read the small print!

When a project gets listed, someone interested in making a pledge to fund it uses Amazon's payment system.  Anonymous pledges are not allowed.  You have to be okay with using your name and indicating what you are supporting.  I like transparency.  It adds authenticity.
Someone always asks, "What's in it for Kickstarter?"  If a project is successfully funded, Kickstarter keeps 5% of the funds raised.  What isn't completely clear is what the credit card transaction fees are and how those are covered.  But perhaps I just didn't dig deep enough to figure that out.  Nevertheless, if you are looking for capital to make a movie, create music, design something, write a book or do anything else creative and ambitious, this could be a wonderful place to start. There's very little risk but potentially great reward.
There are a lot of great answers to questions on the Kickstarter FAQ page.  Be sure to spend some time on that page if you decide to try this out for your bringing your own dream to life.  
Here's some of the projects that are popular this week:
  • Punk Mathmatics - part math book, part online event
  • Set Music Free - help purchase music that can be released without copyrights
  • Jamie and Jessie are Not Together - a queer lesbian feature film
  • Santa Bring the Funk - a "holidelic" holiday album
The site lists something that likely meets anyone's individual tastes.  Take some time to explore this. It is such an exciting idea...and if you are looking for funding to bring that creative idea you've been tossing around in your head to life, this may just be the answer you are looking for. 

Electric Philanthropy: Social Media What?#links

Electric Philanthropy: Social Media What?#links