Last week the Crowdfunding Academy team felt like Charlie in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory – except there was no chocolate river or a lickable wallpaper. If we don't count that rainbow hallway on the way to a rainbow metro station, it wasn't even psychedelic looking. But taking into consideration that we love good ideas as much as Charlie loves chocolate – you will understand this comparison.
As we've mentioned in few of our earlier blogs – Crowdfunding Academy went global. Over the last two months we've been intensively working with UNDP offices around the world on preparation of their crowdfunding campaigns. Keeping in mind that crowdfunding might not be the only alternative financing option suitable for their projects, we've been exploring other options, such as mobile driven crowdfunding, forecast based financing and alternative currencies. The peak of this global alternative-financing project happened last week, when we meet all the participants on our final, get-ready-to-get-launched session in Istanbul.
Life is Cruel, and So is Crowdfunding
We have to admit, we've been drooling over this treat – innovators and world re-arrangers from every continent in one room, at the border of two continents, on the 10th floor of a hotel with a captivating city view. Lucky us, right? Well, don't get too jealous. Though our participants were inspirational, our position was ungrateful.
Life is cruel, and so is crowdfunding. It might seem like an easy thing to set up a campaign on a crowdfunding platform, but that doesn't mean it is going to get you money. So, when our campaigners were pitching about 200,000 people living in Egyptian village Nubia that need up to 3 hours to get to the closest hospital (meaning a hospital with low quality health care!) or about 83 kids that lost their life in a Lebanese city of Jbeil due to the lack of traffic safety around schools (no sidewalks, no traffic signals, no common zones!), role change occurred. From Charlie, we turned into Wonka.
No Easy Way Out
Remember when Charlie finally gets through the chocolate factory and Wonka refuses to give him a life-long supply of chocolate because he violated the rules? Well, we really want these projects to succeed. So we just won't let them do it by taking the easy way out. Getting few traffic lights and a sidewalk won't stop all traffic problems in Jbeil, just as one e-health unit in a clinic in Nubia isn't going to be enough for its total population. But, they are starters. And, by scaling up and setting their crowdfunding idea in a long-term sustainable project model, their potential could outreach the initial goals.
That is why we decided to be ruthless. Five days of intensive exploring of alternative financing, three days of monitored, individual work on their projects, along with previous webinars and consultations, got them by the factory exit. Now, just as Wonka, we are letting them take control of it and realize that the campaigning process (and not just the money they're funding) is a prize itself.
Author: Kristina Laus