Crowdsourcing or when $20 from Family and Friends isn't enough to fund your dream

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Jan Ziff

Hillary Clinton said it best - it takes a village. Well, it takes a village and often much more to help you fund a project that you know will work, but needs some financial help.  Certainly when you're faced with no financial backing and the only option is to ask Great Aunt Sarah for an advance on her bequest to you in her will, there has to be another way. And there is. 

Crowd sourcing. The often touted "easy" way to raise the funds you need from people who dont know you but think you're cool! Right? Wrong! Crowd sourcing takes time, work, practice and work, dedication, long hours ... and did I say work?

Kickstarter has the most "mindshare" and you'd have to be living under a rock for the past year not to have heard of the company that raised over $10 million for a new watch design, but Kickstarter isn't the only game in town. There are over 40 companies that now help you raise the funds you need, some based on the "All or Nothing" model like Kickstarter where you have to reach your goal or you don't get anything to the "Keep it All" model where you keep what you raise no matter what.

And these companies are all over the world, some are designed to help charities or good causes, such as fundraise.com based in Boston, or myfreeimplants.com which raised funds for cosmetic surgery! 

But is this a good way to go? What are the pros and cons of running a campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo or Sponsume?

I've run a successful Kickstarter campaign with none of the bells and whistles and it was not easy. But it can and does work if you really apply yourself and I'd like to run a session to help others succeed in a really competitive field.

I'd like to invite Kerryn Gerrety to be on the panel. She runs a successful PR company in Boston, and has moved over to fundraise to help the company get its feet under the table. www.fundraise.com  Kerryn is dynamic, smart, funny as hell, and can really get her message across. She'd make a fabulous contribution to the panel. 

The other panelist I'd like to have on board is my sister, Tricia Ziff who makes documentary movies and who also raised enough through Kickstarter to enter her last movie, The Mexican Suitcase, for the Oscars.