One is you, two is company, and three … well … three (+) is a crowd. When it comes to relationships, the middle option is perhaps best as it decreases complexity and the number of moving parts. Alternatively, when it comes to sourcing cash to support your idea, product, or dream, you undoubtedly want a crowd – three (+) is a crowd.
According to Google a crowd is a, "large number of people gathered together, typically in a disorganized or unruly way." Two factors in this definition that are interesting when considered within a 21st century technological perspective is the idea of being "gathered together" in a "disorganized or unruly way". With the dawn of the internet, social media, and the information age a crowd might never ever even be in the same geographic place at the same time. They can be in the same place "gathered together" within virtual spaces. Moreover, with the emergence of crowdfunding spaces like Kickstarter, Crowdtilt, Indigogo, etc. a crowd no longer is disorganized or unruly. It is quite the opposite. These crowdfunding spaces have not only made it possible, they have made it easy to frame your idea and building your own crowd of support.
Again, when it comes to sourcing cash to support your idea, product, or dream, you undoubtedly want a crowd – three (+) is a crowd. You want a large crowd of individuals who want to see your idea come to life. These are the folks who instantly get it (your idea) or could very easily be made to get it with a few strategically placed incentives to inspire their support.
In this, while a single, powerful person with deep pockets can be quite influential (note: there are not many of these wandering around), 100-1,000 regular Joes and Janes with a little bit of disposable income in their mattress and a connection to your idea (note: there are literally millions of these folks) could be just as valuable to helping source cash for your venture.
The following are three instant reasons why crowdfunding seems to work:
• Instant Recognition – Even regular Joes and Janes like to see their name in lights and crowdfunding provides the space for us to support ideas and people that we view as being extensions of ourselves (eg, I was proud to see my 4-year old daughter's name listed as a supporter of the "Recycled Mississippi" Kickstarter campaign).
• Instant Personal Gratification / Win – Once a funding goal has been reached, the supporters receive the benefits and products that were promised by the campaign quite quickly (eg, I recently supported through Kickstarter an album being recorded and am scheduled to receive the album, hoodie, and a virtual high-five by October 2017).
• Instant Community Impact – Things with crowdfunding campaigns move quickly. By doing this it leads to the novel and sometimes creatively destructive ideas coming to life. In turn, this can positively impact the challenge that the campaign organizers (or better social entrepreneurs) are trying to solve.
Finally, it is important to note that with increased support funding there can also be increased complexity. While adding more supporters and people to your idea can lead to increases in funding with nominal returns for those supporters it can increase the complexity of your operations. For example, typically a crowdfunding campaign will make promises or obligations in return for certain levels of compounding support (eg, $ 10 you will receive a virtual high-five, $ 25 you will receive a signed picture and all of the above, $ 50 you will receive a CD and all of the above, $ 1,000 you will receive a song written for you, etc.). While setting up campaigns like this is an excellent way of finding supporters and acquiring funding, it must be intentionally aligned with your idea or organization's mission. Stated, more succinctly, it is easy to become bogged down in fulfilling your promises and obligations and lose sight of what you are in the business of doing.
Strive for a crowd, keep it simple, and collectively breathe life into your idea!