I hear you — “$560,000 in 48 hours” (OK, call it 72) — how can you apply this crowdfunding phenomenon to your business or service? That’s the question a lot of business owners, organizations, and individuals want answered as they read the amazing and gut-wrenching story of school bus monitor Karen Klein. Is it possible? How soon can you get started? How much can you raise? Well hold on Nelly, because there are some factors in play that you should examine before you make your crowd appeal. I’m going to share five key elements that you’ll need to have on your side.
Klein became an overnight YouTube sensation when the video of her being relentlessly taunted and bullied by seventh grade students on the school bus in in Greece, New York went viral. Not only has one of the videos received nearly five million views, it helped spark a media frenzy including broadcast television, radio, bloggers, social media sites and of course — crowdfunding which added a dramatic financial element to the story.
Karen Klein’s case is showing the fundraising power of crowdfunding in an unprecedented manner. The crowd has donated more money (nearly $600,000) in less time (48 hours) than any previous campaign launched on the crowdfunding website IndieGoGo.
“As soon as I heard of Karen Huff Klein I had to create a fundraiser here for this nice lady,” Max Sidorov wrote on the fundraising page he set up for Ms. Klein. “Let’s give Karen a vacation of a lifetime, let’s show her the power of the internets and how kind and generous people can be.”
Says Slava Rubin, a co-founder of San Francisco-based IndieGoGo, “The world has never seen such a convergence of social media, communication, transparency, and connection. That’s what crowdfunding is. What has happened in the 48 hours is absolutely remarkable.”
But is it duplicatable? Having crashed a few servers myself, I would say the first critical element that makes stories “go viral” is the emotional appeal. The Karen Klein video is literally a tear-jerker as she is seen wiping her eyes and even stating during the ten minute plus video that she is crying.
The second element you’ll need in your approach is selflessness. It’s about other people. Karen didn’t go ballistic on the bullying students. That probably would have been an entirely different video. It certainly would not have had the universal appeal of an adult literally turning the other cheek. People really won’t share you blatantly promoting your own self-interest.
Third is the universal appeal. Other people have to take an interest and be able to see themselves in the shoes of the subject. Who has not been stressed out on their job? And who would not enjoy a vacation, a chance to get away from the people on your JOB who make your life miserable at times? And who would not want to provide some relief to Grandma?
The fourth element is critical — it’s the monetization opportunity. In Klein’s case, she didn’t even make the initial appeal. The campaign on IndiGoGo was launched by a viewer of the video. But the point is a mechanism was put in place for people to take action — financially.
And the fifth element is the law of big numbers. The power of the internet is that millions of people are online globally. The prospective audience is in the billions and if the idea is hot enough, the crowd will adopt you — and take you along for the ride.
Putting it all together we get this. Watch this heart wrenching video of this defenseless 64-year old grand-mom (emotional appeal). See her refuse to retaliate and resort to physical or verbal violence against her attackers (selflessness). There is no movie script or slickly produced media production. It’s simply an appeal to help send this grand-mom away for relief from the stress of her JOB (universal appeal). We now give you the opportunity to do something at whatever level fits your financial condition by making a donation (monetization). In addition, you can share what you’ve done with your own personal network and keep spreading the love (the law of big numbers).
So there you have it. Five critical elements that if you put them together at the right time –could help you be the next crowdfunding success story.
Are you ready to go for it?