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Appropedia:Fundraising/2013 crowdfunding campaign

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After the 2012-13 fundraiser has raised money for the server, we can run a more serious campaign for funding and awareness.

Tasks[edit]

  • Work out: "Crowdfunding" style fundraiser, or a more straightforward "ask" like Wikipedia? (Note: Wikipedia has massive traffic, so most huge numbers of people see their site notices.) Going with a crowdfunder. GreenCheck.pngDoneDone
  • Choose platform: we're going with StartSomeGood.[1] GreenCheck.pngDoneDone
  • Find communications interns/volunteers. (Chriswaterguy working on this, through UNV and setting up our own application form & process.)
  • Collect stories!
    • Run a survey to learn about our audience and gather stories. (Chriswaterguy - help welcome.)
    • Invite people to record themselves talking about Appropedia for a sentence or so. (Kiva helping with this. Chriswaterguy to blog the request?)
  • Collect examples of awesomeness on Appropedia - top appropedia pages, esp those with nice photos. (Kiva and Chris - suggestions welcome.)
  • Develop a budget - what we want the money for. See below, #The need. (Don't put a lot of detail in the pitch, though.)
  • Design banner or popup ads for Appropedia. Incorporate a regular payment option.
  • Create video messages. Some will incorporate contributors' stories that we've solicited. (Personal message is most important. If it's super catchy and gets shared a lot, even better.)
  • Work out rewards.
    • Focus mainly on experiential rewards - connecting with Appropedia people, visiting (if you're nearby), even dance lessons...
    • Consultancy with an Appropedia director on (not-for-profit issues, online community, sustainable tech, development tech...)
    • A 3D printed object (Joshua?)

The story[edit]

Appropedia is a collaborative effort, run by a group of passionate people. To continue what we're doing, and take it to the next level, we need your support.

Appropedia 2.0 (this requires we go past the tipping point, to the funding target).

The need[edit]

Our opportunities to do awesome things with a modest amount of money. (We don't need a budget, but we need to know what the money is for.) This is for our decision making, and the Value on each item helps us describe it to donors.

Decision 1: Set the "tipping point" (on StartSomeGood, the point at which we will receive the funds raised - if we don't reach the tipping point, donations are refunded). It should stretch us somewhat (so we have a reason for rallying support) but be an amount we can definitely reach. It should be an amount that will make a big difference to Appropedia. $12,000? $15,000?

If we reach the tipping point, we can pay for:

  • Server costs for a year (faster, more reliable). $5000 for 6 months, but let's say $10,000 so we've got it confirmed for the year. Value: Help us to continue to share solutions to sustainability from around the world. (Stats and stories about the people sharing and using Appropedia.)
  • Perform the merger with Ekopedia? Tech work of making Appropedia multilingual. Spam clearance work, including setting up spam-removal bots (that can check history, so spammed pages can be reverted to their non-spammy form). (Note additional difficulty of spam cleanup in other languages.) Possibly hire a part-time community manager fluent in French and Italian (and Spanish, but we can help with that). Get help with the Polish Ekopedia. Big job - ballpark figure of $10,000? Value: Bring together contributors from around the world, in different languages. Revive the awesome Ekopedia project.
  • Resurrect the lost wiki resource at permaculture.info. Small job, once other work is done. Value: Platform for sharing permaculture knowledge, starting by recovering the corrupted database of the dead permaculture.info wiki. (clearly distinguish our role from Practical Plants and Growstuff.)

Decision 2: Set a funding target: An amount that will let us go beyond this minimum and do really awesome things. Can be up to 4 times the tipping point. ($35,000 might be a good amount?)

If we reach our funding target, we can:

  • Make our content accessible using Semantic MediaWiki. We have a great collection of how-tos, projects, case-studies and info from around the world, but it's hard to navigate. Add an ability to filter and find what you're looking for. (Lonny to describe this better.) Value: Make our content more accessible and searchable, so you can find the solution that you're looking for, that suits your context.
  • Have an on-call tech person to coordinate our site development efforts and troubleshoot problems, one day per week on average, at $10,000[2] for 6 months[3] is at least $10,000.[4]Is that accurate? Value: keep improving the usability and functionality of the site [in what other specific ways, beyond the semantic work? Adding to the book functionality, or will that be already restored? Also emphasize ongoing costs.]

Stretch goals Once we get to around our target, we can start to talk about what we could do with an extra amount.

If we reach $X, or $Y, or $Z, we can:

  • Make it much easier to add projects, to share knowledge, using semantic forms. (Lonny has a better way of describing this.) Value: Improve the way we gather knowledge, to let more people share their experience and expertise.
  • Staff... (frame this in terms of what it will let us do, which is more helpful and more inspiring than "hire staff"). Amount: 2 part-time positions at one day per week, depending on skill level might cost in the order of $10,000-$15,000[4] for 6 months.[3]
    • Part-time paid position to develop partnerships, e.g. with academic programs. Value: Get students creating and sharing value, getting inspired, learning to participate and contribute in a peer-to-peer world.
    • Part-time community manager & volunteer coordinator. Value: Support and grow the community of Appropedians, assist people in contributing, inspire and grow the effort.

Thoughts:

  • Set specific goals, so we're not making exactly the same request next time.
  • Avoid underestimating costs. We serve a lot of people and do a lot of work - it's okay to ask for what we need. Make realistic promises and use realistic costings.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. Third party platforms include Indiegogo, StartSomeGood... StartSomeGood have a nice site and have been very helpful.
    We could have our own platform (only feasible with a strong tech team): CiviCRM (very big & complex); WordPress (probably only good for presenting the campaign, not so great for supporter database, newsletter or other specialized functions);... Maybe in the distant future when we have the experience and resources.
  2. Ongoing tech cost guesstimate: Competent tech people start at about $80-100k per year, more as consultants, so 1 day/week for 6 months will be $10,000(?)
  3. 3.0 3.1 We should expect to have major fundraisers once or twice per year (and smaller requests in the interim - including recruiting donors to give monthly. Suggestion: we raise enough to pay people for around 6 months, then fundraise again every 6 months. We'll want to fundraise ahead of time in future, so we either make the first amount stretch longer than 6 months, or we hold the 2nd fundraiser 4-5 months after the start of the first.
  4. 4.0 4.1 What are the additional costs to Appropedia for managing staff/consultants? It is sometimes estimated that total cost of staff for a business is around twice the actual salary - what's the ratio for a small foundation hiring a contractor?