The next time you hear about a new crowdfunding campaign, it may not be through Facebook or Twitter – instead, it could be from your TV.
It seems almost counter-intuitive, but bigger broadcasting networks seem to have taken notice of the hubbub around crowdfunding, with a new show being launched around Vancouver-based Fundrazr, Canada’s largest crowdfunding platform.
Every week, the Crowd Funder Show, which runs for about 30 minutes per episode, will tell the stories of six to seven campaigners and why they are trying to raise funds for their causes. As Fundrazr allows campaigns to run 100 days, much longer than the bigger platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, the hope is the TV show will bring exposure to these campaigns and also the platform itself, with Fundrazr being the show’s preferred platform for now. Toronto-based company Merton Park Film Studios has produced the show, with the first episode airing on FOX affiliate WUTV in Buffalo, N.Y., on Sunday.
“We think it’s a positive that it’s putting crowdfunding in front of more and more businesses and enterprises, and creating exposure,” said Bret Conkin, chief marketing officer at Fundrazr. “We’re essentially hoping to reach above [campaigners]’ existing social network, and friends of friends.”
Right now, campaigners using Fundrazr can either choose to just use the platform’s existing service, which relies upon social media to spread the word about their campaigns. However, some campaigns will be chosen to be featured on the Crowd Funder Show. While they may get less return for their campaigns, they would get more exposure through being featured on TV, he says.
The lower returns come from perks in the form of gift cards. Typically, when campaigners start a crowdfunding project, they offer different levels of perks to their supporters in return for their money. For example, $10 might get someone a mention on the campaign’s Web site, while $25 might get them a copy of the product the campaigner is building.
For campaigners using Fundrazr and appearing on the Crowd Funder Show, their supporters will be able to choose gift cards from brands like Best Buy, Starbucks, Cineplex, and Canadian Tire. The campaigner buys these gift cards for a discounted price, netting them some profit for their crowdfunding project.
For example, the first episode of the Crowd Funder Show will feature a campaign for the Knuckle Racket [sic], a racket that allows players to punch a ball with racquets that look like boxing gloves. Perks include gift cards from Starbucks, Pizza Pizza, and Petro Canada.
While this method of giving perks is a new one, the Crowd Funder Show also represents a sign that crowdfunding is becoming more and more mainstream, especially because of big names like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Conkin says.
“Broadcast TV does take crowdfunding into the mainstream,” he says. “Once you’re having coffee with a couple of friends, and pretty much everybody’s heard of Kickstarter, and kind of gets how crowdfunding is done, I think that passes the test of ‘if crowdfunding’s hit the mainstream.’”
He adds participating in this show is part of Fundrazr’s strategy to differentiate itself from its larger rivals, but it also has a few other niche projects in the works.
Later this month, Fundrazr will be launching a partnership with CollClubSports, an American collegiate sports portal. It will allow college and university teams to raise money for their games and travel expenses using Fundrazr’s platform.
And in October, Fundrazr will be working with an as-yet unnamed U.S.-based fertility Web site, helping couples raise money for their invitro fertilization treatments.
Is your business ready for Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)? Soon, businesses will be fined for sending emails or texts to their customers unless they have explicit consent. We’ll be hearing from Bret Conkin, one of guest experts, during our Twitter chat on CASL about tips and best practices around marketing to customers while being CASL-compliant. Join us on Sept. 23 at 1:30pm EST at the hashtag #beCASLReady.