Brooklyn, NY- About two years ago, we began watching the beginnings of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and while we admired the help they were providing to the creative community, something big seemed missing. Knowing the passion and dedication that goes into any creative project, especially film, we firmly believed that most artists would, if they could, give back to the world (and not just through their work).
So, we secured the domain HelpersUnite.com and went to work! We launched on September 20th to awesome praise, media coverage and thoughtful projects.
What we have seen in our one month of life is that creativity and passion inspire people to do really cool things. Take one of our film projects, Computer Potato by Todd Kipp. Here’s a filmmaker who was turned down by six grants, even though he has a short film on the festival circuit and was able to choose any crowdfunding site to fund his next short. He chose HelpersUnite.com because we require (versus prohibit) a charity association and ‘paying it forward’ was important to Todd. We are the only site that facilitates creative and charitable fundraising in parallel. All is done through our platform, and the artist simply needs to choose which of the 1.5 million U.S.-based charities to which to share a small portion (we ask for a minimum of 5%) of their funding. Even more outstanding about Todd is that since he is Calgary-based (and we don’t support Canadian charities as of yet), he is actually supporting two charities at once: White Buffalo Calf Woman Society (U.S.based) and Awo Taan (Canadian-based), both women’s shelters. For Awo Taan, he is taking out of his own pocket and sending them a check after the funding is complete. Todd is the kind of creative talent that we attract, and we are proud of that.
Crowdfunding is incredibly difficult for an artist: it doesn’t matter what site you launch your campaign on, you will have to do the bulk of the work. This means constantly reaching out to friends, family, fans and using social media throughout the campaign. Given this difficulty, why not align your efforts alongside something that extends the benefits to the greater good?
I thought the below excerpt from an article written about us by crowdsourcing expert Casey Armstrong was on point and worth folks considering regardless of which site you choose for your crowdfunding.
When you are thinking of launching a crowdfunding project, how can it positively affect your experience to launch it attached to a cause? Here are a few thoughts to consider:
•The anxiety from asking the crowd for money for your project might be lessened because you are no longer just asking for yourself, but for something others and you already believe in: fighting animal suffering, for example.
•You increase your audience not only to your crowd and your project’s related subject, but now to the supporters of a cause.
•You feel that you are helping not only yourself and your project’s goals, but you are in effect doing work for charity, a big motivation boost!
•You can advertise, if you are funded, that your project not only was crowdfunded, but that it has raised money for a cause– not something many other freshly funded projects can say!
Another really interesting aspect of aligning with a charity is that the creative gets another “evangelist.” For every project that launches, we let the charity know that an artist cares about them and this creates a synergistic relationship between artist and charity that may not have existed before.
HelpersUnite.com attracts a type of “Creator” who is looking to fund their lifelong dream project along with helping the greater good. The fact that an artist has chosen the only platform in the world that requires a charity be selected says a lot about who they are. Crowdfunding is hard work, these people reach out to friends, family and followers to help support their dream and they are asking that same network to help the world along with them.
Additionally, we in turn attract a loyal user base interested in more than just donating to their favorite artist’s project but also supporting a charity that the artist thought was important. Over time, our hope is that this user base should only want to support artists who have linked themselves to a cause or visit the site to browse generous artists.
With HelpersUnite.com, our vision is to help artists extend their impact on a potentially global scale. By sharing a portion of their raised funds, not only do they literally “pay it forward” immediately, but they also gain a potential partner (the charity) in the process. We’ve had tremendous positive feedback, both from the creative and non-profit communities, on this aspect of the platform.
Luan’s lifelong philosophy of embracing humanity and kindness has become the driving force behind co-creating HelpersUnite.com. After over 15 years in the internet and finance space (split between New York and Silicon Valley), Luan now commits her experience toward social and creative progress. She loves animals, tennis, music, and film and spends any free time she has with her partner and their beautiful son.