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A Dutch take on crowd sourcing
Last week I had a few hours spare while I was coming back from Utrecht, and I took the opportunity to stop in and meet Niels Jansen (you can follow him on Twitter @NieJa) from the 1% Club in Amsterdam.
To say Niels is the communications manager of a crowdfunding platform is doing a disservice to both! The 1%Club only asks for one percent of what anyone has to offer, and is the largest crowdfunder in the Netherlands, and Niels is more of a digital story teller than a common or garden Comms Manager.
What struck me about 1%, aside from their fantastic offices converted from a 17th Century warehouse was the importance they place on the connection between supporter (or investor) and the project being supported. I am familiar with more mainstream ways of thinking about fund raising, but the emphasis on speaking from the heart and engaging on a visceral level was quite powerful. The “social” nature of crowdfunding lends itself to this and I think the 1% team tap into this method of engagement very effectively.
I found another aspect of their approach interesting. There are several forms of crowdfunding but the vast majority of these take pledges (like a promise to pay) which are only converted once a fundraising target is reached. This has advantages as it protects the potential supporter from lame duck projects that don’t really go anywhere but also has the downside that is a threshold isn’t reached the promised funds are lost. 1% Club don’t take pledges, instead they charge immediately and the funds are held in escrow. If the target is met all funds pass to the project, but if the target is missed the partial funds are passed to a similar project.
There are merits and demerits to these approaches and having a wider understanding of the crowdfunding mechanisms available will help you make an informed choice if you’re considering raising funds this way.