Independent media crowdfunding platform IndieVoices has been in a reflective mood of late. Co-founder and CEO Sasa Vucinic has been sharing his thoughts and impressions on the first 100 days of his global crowdfunding platform. Not too long ago he posted on engagement and the global differences impacting successful campaigns. Recently he discussed “Who will constitute our crowd?” – posing a good, but rather challenging question for a journalist crowdfunding site.
Prior to the platforms’ launch, Sasa was meeting with an IndieVoices advisor and he was queried with some questions;
“What does your crowd read? What do they care about? How many languages do they speak? What do they know about crowdfunding; will you need to educate them about it before you ask them do donate? Why would someone, who lives in Falls Church, Virginia, even consider donating $50 to a project in Mozambique?”
He did not have answers to all these questions.
“So, let me summarize your hypothesis,” he said: “You think that you can convince people, those who last night went to bed thinking that information is free and that it should be for free, to voluntarily fund independent media in some other country, not one in which they live… You expect those same people who dodge pay walls of their local newspaper to fund independent media half-a-world away?”
More than three months following launch they are still figuring this out but they have discovered some interesting facts:
- Most of the contributions to projects listed on IndieVoices come from the US – over 80%.
- Contributors on IndieVoices are not only individuals. The platform managed to attract several smaller foundations and journalism associations.
- Their crowd likes photography projects as so far all listed photography projects have done very well and were either fully funded or are on the way to meet their funding expectations.
- They now understand that if they want to attract crowds from many countries, then English cannot be the only language of our platform.
- Their contributors likes focused and well-explained projects with the clear goal of helping specific individuals.
Launching any new company is a vast learning process where flexibility is paramount. The same holds true for crowdfunding platforms. IndieVoices continues to adapt and change as they learn and grow. They recently introduced multi language project pages. They are now determined to expand this space and are preparing a special partnership program for smaller foundations and media angel investors
Sasa points out that he has been humbled to be proven wrong on a projects that he felt would fund rapidly. Some of these projects include a radio station in Flores, Indonesia and funding of a public television station in Ukraine. Both of these projects struggled to capture funding.
Being wrong so many times, we decided to stop guessing. Instead of guessing what kind of projects our crowd would like to see listed on the platform and fund, we’ve decided to ask members of our crowd to join is in the process of curating the IndieVoices platform and take part in making project selection decisions. We plan to empower our crowd to directly participate in selecting projects worthy of their funding.
If you have been a contributor to any of the IndieVoices campaigns, you should not be surprised it you receive a query asking if you would become a member of their “Project Approval Committee”.