• Women 2.0 HowTo Conference San Francisco, September 30 - October 1, 2014

Crowdfunding – Do You Know Who Your Friends Are?

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The vast majority of successful campaigns raise small amounts of money from large amounts of people. By Susan Quinn (Co-Founder & CEO, ToutSuite Social Club) Ok, I have a lot of friends. I love a LOT of people. Entire towns full of people, as a matter of fact. And nothing makes me happier or more fulfilled than cooking a hearty feast for them, or sabering a bottle of bubbles in the backyard, or showing up with makings for bacon-infused Bloody Marys when a friend is down, or splurging, occasionally, on a storied bottle of wine for a special pal’s birthday regardless of expense. Car broke down? I’ll be right there. Lost your wallet? Here’s $20 bucks. After over a year pitching angels and VCs on our startup ToutSuite Social Club and hearing the ubiquitous Has-Potential-But-Too-Early response, we launched a crowdfunding campaign after mucho deliberation and preparation. Crowdfunding success hinges on your inner circle taking action in two ways:

  1. Contribute a small amount of cash. And, more importantly,
  2. Personally share their support of you to their network of friends, exhibiting your social validation, and getting people excited for you.

And today, two weeks into our campaign, I stand before you asking, in the social arena, “Do we know who our friends are?” Now, as you can imagine, this is crowdfunding thing is extremely important to me. We’re raising a hefty $100,000 to build SuitePRO, the ultimate social video network. And it’s pretty damn cool. We launched ToutSuite over a year ago, and we’ve been scraping, scouring, bootstrapping, and kicking mother-f*ckin ass in every way. Our content and technology is proven and awesome. We are indeed disrupting food, wine and lifestyle. We’ve thrown everything into this – our hearts, souls, breathe, sweat, our past and our future, the last ounce of our strength (over, and over again), and given our very blood. And our friends have had a front-row seat. ToutSuite has over 7,000 “likes” on Facebook and together my co-founder and I have over 1,000 Facebook friends, yet Indiegogo analytics show after over two weeks, only 235 unique visitors have clicked on our campaign page. Crowdfunding experts maintain that you’ll need to raise the first 30% of your funding goal from immediate friends and family, your PEEPS. Subsequently, they say, the community at-large takes notice, sees the social validation of your project, and gets excited to be a part of a cool early-stage venture. The vast majority of successful campaigns raise small amounts of money from large amounts of people. If 40,000 people pitched in just $5, we’d have doubled our goal. Sounds pretty simple, right? It’s about THE CROWD. It’s about friends sharing their love. So what is the real motivator for your closest friends, your nearest and dearest, sharing your project on Facebook and Twitter? Or sending a personal email? Or talking it up at a party? Is this free? As simple as a click to share? Or is the decision “to share, or not to share” much more expensive than it may seem… As of this writing, we are at 10% of our $100K goal with 30 days remaining. Without a doubt, our early contributors have been INCREDIBLY generous with an average of $500 contribution per person, and we have several thousand on the way that hasn’t been carried out yet… But where are those crowds? The Holy Grail – attracting thousands to contribute $5 – so far, is eluding us. Check back and I’ll let you know what happens next. Or, for faster service, like us on Facebook to watch the story unfold live. You’ll know what to do, my friends. ;) Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest bloggers? Leave a message in the comments below.

Photo credit: ToutSocial on Facebook.

About the guest blogger: Susan Quinn is Founder and CEO of ToutSuite Social Club. Previously, she ran innovative technology company Wordcasters at the very birth of the dot com days. Susan conceived and developed live text streaming in the late 1990s. An early innovator in the streaming media space as the founder and CEO of two startups, Susan co-founded San Francisco Webgrrls, one of the most vibrant online communities at the time. Follow her on Twitter at @ToutSocial.