1. a person who confers a benefit; a kindly helper.**
2. a person who makes a bequest or endowment, as to an institution or group.
1425–75; late Middle English benefactour < Late Latin;**
“One who supports.”
As a social media company, we’ve recently felt a strong urge to see if we can impart real change with our day-to-day promotion efforts. We support our colleagues and clients rain or shine, and they return the favor. Maybe it could go beyond that.
For years, behind the scenes, people from other continents have grown close to each other thanks to social media. Some real bonds — even if considered “weak ties” by the public at large — have been forged in groups and on pages on Facebook. It still happens.
Tweetchats, if unearthed, show some extraordinary human compassion in mere moments, most often archived and forgotten — except for the people who felt connected at that time.
These last few weeks have been especially intense for so many people in so many ways, and it helped us realize a new direction: to focus on helping other social good projects by providing our assistance on the 5 major social media networks… and in the process, highlighting — here on the Steamr site — the crowdfunding campaigns that affect us deeply.
What if we could help cease the social media spam, and spark the true support? What if we could make #steamwork happen?
SocialSteamr is making an effort to execute on one concept: if another cause needs a special boost of honest-to-goodness, high-quality folks to sing their campaign’s praises, we want to be able to lend a hand. Our entire social presence will give you an idea of how committed we have been to this concept.
Crowdfunding, also known as “crowdsource” funding or “social funding”, is the new way for small and medium-sized enterprises of all shapes and sizes — from school projects to urban renewal plans to emergency community relief — to realize their financial objective. On these platforms, the innovation is astounding!
According to Forbes Magazine, here are the Top 5 crowdfunding sites. Note that each has its own pros and cons.
Indiegogo allows you to raise money for absolutely anything — using an optional “keep what you raise” model; if you don’t reach your funding goal, you’ll pay 9% in fees… or you can pay less to use an all-or-nothing funding approach. (Hint: from experience, it’s better to shoot “low” ($5000 versus $50,000) and reach your funding goal quickly — and make sure you get a handful of donations in the first few days — this gives a fantastic boost to the campaign, making it more visible in Indiegogo’s search. People can still donate way beyond your funding request, so 60 days allows for considerable fundraising if promoted properly, especially via social media.
Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing model. You must raise all of the money that you set as a goal in the time allotted, or it is returned to the campaign supporters. And the money you do raise won’t come to you for 60 days — which for most bootstrap-phase start-ups is not soon enough. The site is designed and built for tech entrepreneurs and creative art projects alike and was made semi-famous for the wildly popular Pebble watch, which raised $10.2 million in a month but ensured several production delays that annoyed folks who gave the $115 donation (or more) to get at least one.
Crowdrise is a site for 501(c)(3) charities to raise money, with the novelty being that anyone can sign up to volunteer to launch a fundraising campaign for a charity already registered on the site. Everyone can instantly become a social entrepreneur for a cause they believe in.
Razoo is exclusively for social good causes but is not limited to 501(c)(3), using a “keep-what-you-raise” model, charging just 2.9% of the total money raised (versus 4% to 9% with Indiegogo).
Causes is designed specifically for 501(c)(3) registered nonprofits to raise money. The fees are low, and all donors on the site understand that all of the contributions will be tax-deductible. Causes is widely used to launch “action” campaigns, like boycotts, petitions and pledges rather than fundraising campaigns.
After doing research on these crowdfunding sites, it became apparent to us that many of the campaigns were “stalled” — the Social Media Share buttons had a low percentage of activity. Then the light bulb went off. We recognized that these campaigns do not have the resources, time or expertise to manage an effective Social Media Campaign.
The concept is simple. The Benefactor donates funds, we design a Social Media Campaign for the crowdfunding project of their choice, and it receives much needed social media exposure.
We have set up our own Indiegogo Campaign with various levels of gifting. We have given deep discounts in the spirit of giving. That is our financial contribution to all crowdfunding projects we can help support.
We would love for you to take a look at our concept — hey, maybe even buy us a cup of coffee — or better yet give a much needed boost to an existing campaign.
For community support in all ways,
Jackie Bigford and Rob Nielsen
** thanks to Dictionary.com for helping us clarify our vision!