“I’m asking you to donate money so that I can hire a man on a plane to write stupid things with clouds in the sky.”
How would you respond to a fundraiser appeal like this? Would you be surprised to know that 257 people actually donated $6,820?
Crowdfunding is the newest, most unconventional and fuss-free way to collect funds for a cause you care about. Whether that’s to run a dog shelter or write things with clouds in the sky is entirely up to you, as long as you have the internet convinced! In Western countries, we see that crowdfunding is more often a fun activity to raise funds for a quirky project that has potential to go viral on the internet. Platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, etc are filled with campaigns with an unconventional idea, and many of them are raising funds at a breakneck speed.
In the West, an interesting idea that’s unique or innovative enough brings together a large number of donors who immediately pitch in, whether it’s because they’re looking forward to a quirky reward or just because why not? These campaigns provide for a welcome distraction in an otherwise ordinary day and are great at attracting attention on social media and bringing like-minded people together to talk about an offbeat interest.
Here in the East, these campaigns don’t always work as we tend to focus our fundraisers on serious causes, catering to pressing problems that are more a need of the hour. People are more cautious with how they spend their money and tend to contribute to medical fundraisers oftener, and sometimes to social causes of national importance. Indian donors prefer to be moved by emotional fundraiser appeals of a person in need. These are the kind of stories that most successfully funded Indian fundraisers come with and you can easily start a fundraiser in 3 steps if you’re looking to raise money for such a cause.
However, things are slowly changing in the Indian crowdfunding landscape. As we familiarize ourselves with the concept, more and more Indians are turning to crowdfunding for causes that aren’t social or medical. Artists, travellers, innovative thinkers are starting to look to crowdfunding as their first option to execute a new idea!
We believe it’s never a bad time to take a fun idea and stir the internet with it! Let’s take a minute to appreciate these quirky crowdfunding campaigns we’ve seen bring people together, which is a necessarily good thing:
1. The Potato Salad
Among campaigns funding for sleek gadgets and documentaries, stood out Zack Danger Brown’s campaign: to make potato salad. We don’t know if that’s his real middle name. But we do know that it is only too fitting, considering the kind of risk-taker Zack is. When asked about the inspiration behind his campaign, he says, “I love potato salad but I realized I wanted to make it.” Almost 7,000 people pledged to the campaign and a delighted Zack threw the internet a potato salad party where at least a thousand people received a ladleful.
2. The Cloud Project
With a motive to “give strangers an unexpected gift of absurdity” as he says, Kurt Braunohler was excited about spelling out humorous messages in the sky. To hire a plane to spell out a 10-character message, he crowdfunded on Kickstarter. The internet loved the idea, of course, and joined in to help make the ridiculous stunt a reality.
Lorenzo Maggiore has come up with a simpler way to kill flies, using ordinary table salt rather than chemicals – loaded into a shotgun! It’s more sustainable, non-toxic and we’re sure nobody’s had so much fun killing flies before. What’s not to love?
4. The Menurkey
November 28, 2013, marked a rare event where Hanukkah and Thanksgiving fell on the same day. To celebrate this one-of-a-kind occurrence, Anthony Weintraub crowdfunded on Kickstarter to create a menorah (a Hebrew lampstand with six branches) in the shape of a turkey. The unique idea turned out to be a big hit! The campaigner promised to reward menurkeys to backers who pledged a certain amount.
5. Pi Pie Pans
“Ever since I learned the formula to find the circumference of a circle, I have longed for the day to create a Pi-shaped pie.” Garrett soon learned that other Pi enthusiasts felt the same desire and got working to create the perfect Pi shaped pie.
6. Jeffrey Self’s Broken Tooth
When Jeffrey chipped off half of his tooth, he was devastated because he couldn’t eat sandwiches. Since he didn’t have dental insurance, Jeffrey couldn’t afford to get his tooth fixed. The solution? His fundraiser on Indiegogo that paid for the fix, and was a hit, gaining almost 200 backers!
7. Squirrel Census
What does the Inman Park Squirrel Census do? The count squirrels and present their findings. Now they’re crowdfunding to print and ship statistical posters and count more squirrels. Seems completely legit to us! It definitely convinced 102 backers who’ve pledged almost $9,000.
8. Lucid Dreaming Mask
Always wanted to master lucid dreaming, but never could? What if all you had to do was slip on a sleep mask? Bitbanger Labs crowdfunded on Kickstarter to launch Remee, the sleep mask that induces lucid dreaming. The creators claim you can now truly control your dreams – whether that’s exploring the galaxy, conversing with your ego or composing a melody!
9. India on Wheels
This last campaign is local and special. Impact Guru, known best for its outstanding work in medical crowdfunding, has hosted this project. According to an Impact Guru spokesperson, this is one of the “most colourful, interesting and unusual campaigns we have run.” From October ‘16 to Feb ‘17, Sheldon Bangera and his Christian band, India on Wheels, drove through 20 Indian cities, travelling through seven states and covering over 10,000 km, reaching 84,000 people through the music they have played in churches! In 2017, the band felt more ambitious and decided to do another tour and this time, cover more than 27 cities. Their fundraiser raised Rs 1,39,550 and was shared dozens of times via Impact Guru’s platform.
Do you have a ludicrous idea that can shake the world? Why not take a shot at giving it shape– start a fundraiser!