What is Crowdfunding? How does it work?
Crowdfunding is all the rage these days, and for good reason; it has helped bring forth some innovative and high-impact products and services. Find out more about crowdfunding from the experts at Barnraiser, who joined us for a free webinar: Mastering Crowdfunding: How to Maximize Your Campaigns Success.
One that's been on everyone's mind lately is the Flow Hive from the Cedar and Steward Anderson out of Byron Bay, Australia.
As I write this, their IndieGoGo project is sitting at a solid $7.5 million (!) in pledges for their on-tap beehive. To put this in perspective, their original funding goal was only $70,000... Talk about achieving some serious stretch goals!
Obviously this is a remarkable project with a remarkable product, but it also goes to show the power of the crowd.
Funding for mutual fulfillment
Crowdfunding is a collaborative method of raising capital that results in a mutually beneficial outcome for both the donor and the project runner. Relatively small investments from a large audience result in a product of service coming to life.
According to the almighty Wikipedia:
"Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the internet."
How does a farmer do it? Basically, you paint an intriguing picture of your proposed product or service and let your supporters help you get there.
It's a beautiful model, but it's not as simple as it seems.
Let's discuss how you can bring your farm to life with the power of the crowd.
Why Crowdfund as a farmer?
Let's face it.
Funding a new farm is no walk in the park. It takes strategy, knowledge, and courage to scrape together the initial investment for a farm launch, and even with a good plan, you never quite know if you're going to make it.
If you can:
1) Form an Upstart Farm idea,
2 create and communicate a compelling vision for why it should exist,
3) and mobilize your target market and supporters through deliverables,
then crowdfunding might provide the funding you need.
Keep in mind that your farm's campaign will be a little different than most other projects on sites like Kickstarter, because as an Upstart Farmer, you are local; if you're hoping to grow food for your community, your crowdfunding "crowd" will consist mostly of people in your geographic region.
Personally, I think this should be seen as an advantage because now you're only trying to mobilize a local audience, not an entire international crowd of potential supporters. That specific target will help you mold your message.
Upstart Farmers and Crowdfunding
In fact, future and existing Upstart Farmers have several significant advantages in the crowdfunding area.
For one, crowdfunding values something that Upstart Farmers have in excess: transparency.
The best crowdfunding campaigns offer potential supporters a look at the process. In the case of the Upstart Farmer, who lives by his value of transparency every day, potential customers not only get a look at the process by which their food is produced, but are promised that knowledge permanently.
Upstart Farmers have no secrets to keep from their customers. Just honest, sustainably grown, local food.
Successful crowdfunding campaigns also stand out from the crowd; that's what it takes to break through all the noise on sites like Kickstarter.
The very nature of the Upstart Farmers' vertical growing style is easily differentiated from every other grower out there and people are understandably drawn to this unique style of farming. Your "stand out" factor is built in to your operation. All you have to do is make sure that people see it.
As long as you can stay transparent and give your customers and fans a look behind the greenhouse walls, your supporters will be enamored with your method of farming and you'll have an easier time getting their backing.
A Badge of Honor
Another advantage Upstart Farmers have going for them is the power of the badge.
In case you haven't noticed, the trend towards local, fresh, flavorful food is not slowing down anytime soon.
As more and more people demand healthier, fresher alternatives to what they're currently getting at the grocery store or in their restaurants, Upstart Farmers are responding rapidly to give them what they want.
The Upstart Farmers badge is growing in its' authority as an emblem of transparency, innovation, and trust.
When shoppers or chefs see the Upstart Farmers logo, they know they're getting the freshest, most honest food they can find.
And guess what? They're telling their friends.
So you see, whether you're a future Upstart Farmer or you've been selling by the badge for a while, you have a unique advantage in the crowdfunding marketplace.
In our next crowdfunding post, we'll be going over the specifics of crowdfunding your farm.
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Want more information on starting your own Upstart Farm?
Check out Upstart University, the online training program to learning everything you need to become an Upstart Farmer. Courses made of videos, written content, quizzes, and assignments are designed to empower and equip you.
For $10 a month (redeemable at purchase), aspiring farmers have nothing to lose. Register now.