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Steve Brooks
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What exactly is Crowdfunding & How does it work?

Crowdfunding is basically a method where good folks like you and me (the crowd), fund an individual (personal) or company (business) project with our own money. You might like to think of it as a donation. However, unlike your typical donation scenario, projects supported by the crowdfunding business model often offer special perks or rewards to those who support the proposed project. (e.g, an autographed copy of the book or a special collector's edition of the DVD when the film is finished) should the proposed financial goal be reached allowing the creator to print the book or shoot the film and have the DVD manufactured.

What is the Role of the Crowd?

The input of the individuals (that's you) in the crowd is extremely important to the crowd funding process. Whether or not a project has a chance of actually coming to fruition depends largely on your own personal involvement. Although technically speaking you only need pledge a certain amount and then wait and see if the project raises the appropriate amount of funds necessary for completion, I would recommend otherwise as all too often many projects sadly never reach their funding goal. When this happens, it can leave a feeling of hopelessness for the creator and be a bit depressing for the people who have backed the project.

Having said all of that, if you really wish a project to be successful (and obviously you do if you're a backer), then you have to think of yourself as a promoter or agent for the project's creator. You can do your part by calling friends or family and letting them know about the project. Perhaps you frequent various internet forums or chat rooms, these provide great opportunities to enlighten others. Finally, I think it should go without saying that social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and others are likely to make others aware of a project that many would have otherwise not known about. Use your imagination and I'm betting you'll think of all kinds of creative ways to spread the word as it were.

Crowdfunding Platforms

Using Google one quickly realizes there are literally hundreds of crowd funding platforms available. That being the case, project creators are strongly advised to do their own research in order to understand which platform is the best to use depending on the type of project that they wish to launch. There are fundamental differences in the services provided by many of these crowdfunding platforms, so take your time in understanding each potential platform, what they offer and what is required from creator's. To help get you started I've listed a few of the platforms below:


Certainly not the first but arguably the most popular (and successful) crowdfunding site on the net, Kickstarter has raised well over $640 million, from 42,000 plus projects so far. According to their guidelines, Kickstarter pretty much accepts all kinds of creative projects (e.g, Art, books, music, film, etc.) but they do not provide a platform for those wishing to raise funds for particular causes or awareness campaigns. This includes any kind of charity or scholarships you may have in mind. However, if you are wanting to design and market your own custom deck of playing cards (but lack the large amount of money necessary) then Kickstarter may well be that which allows your dream to become a reality. Smile


If you are already familiar with Kickstarter, then navigating and understanding the Indiegogo website should be a breeze. The company platform made its internet debut back in 2008, (a year before the giant Kickstarter came on the scene) helping to raise money for small indie films and has never looked back. Second in popularity only to Kickstarter, Indiegogo gives creator's the ability to offer potential backers perks (known as rewards on Kickstarter) to help encourage the crowd funding process. However, unlike Kickstarter you are able to pretty much get any project going including donations for a charity. Finally, although many of the projects on Indiegogo are gadget and hardware related (an idea usually rejected by Kickstarter), the Indiegogo platform is still definitely worth your serious consideration for custom deck funding.


Self described as the First Social Crowdfunding Community Jump Start City is based on a community where backers discuss current projects with each other, as well as, having an actual role in influencing the direction of the platform site itself. The backers voices appear to matter and apparently the more active a backer is, the more influential their voice becomes. Unlike the direct approach of Kickstarter, would-be project creator's are required to submit their proposed funding event on a video. This video is then placed on what the Jump Start City platform site describes as the Elevator Pitch phase. From there community members vote as to whether the project is interesting enough to move onto the Event Promotional stage. If the vote is no, the creator basically begins from scratch hoping to improve the concept for possible submission at another time. If the community votes in favor, then the project moves to the Event Promotional level and remains there for three (3) weeks. During this time both the creator and the community at large promote the event to everyone they can prior to the official launch. At the Active Stage the event officially launches and the creator has twenty (20) days to attempt to get the appropriate funding. If this all sounds complex compared to platforms such as Kickstarter, take comfort in knowing there is perhaps some logic to be found in this somewhat drawn-out process. Meaning, the creator will know very quickly whether his project is likely to get funded. Again, creative artists seeking a venue for their custom deck projects should certainly entertain Jump Start City as a possible springboard. Smile


Claiming to have helped creator's raise over $158,500,000 in crowdfunding, Razoo caters to individuals, companies, charities and even non-profit organizations. The percentage they charge for using their service appears to be smaller than the industry giant kickstarter, though rates do seem to vary depending on the type of project you create. In addition to providing a platform for creator's to promote their projects Razoo has also worked hard to provide apps for iPhone and iPad which help creator's manage their projects. It is unclear at this time whether or not they support Android devices. Finally, the company does also provide donation widgets which creator's can place on social network sites such as Facebook allowing creator's even more avenues in securing funding. Like its competition; Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Jump Start City, Razoo is certainly worth checking out for any would-be deck designer.

"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
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