Asking for help, especially in the form of financial assistance, is not something that comes easy to a lot of people – myself included. Having a self-sufficient streak serves you well when you don't really have a family to lean on or any other solid net to fall into. And, yet, that very same life-saving tendency can hinder someone's ability to break down the walls between independence and community. It's the blessing-and-curse duality that attaches itself to so many things.
Crowdfunding, by its very nature, demands that we set aside both our egos and our insecurities. We must humble ourselves enough to ask for support from others while fully believing that we are worthy to receive the offerings that come. Funding a project in this way, well, it's a dance, to be sure.
Many musicians I know have used Kickstarter or Pledge Music or some other such tool to raise money to make their records. But when I considered launching an IndieGoGo campaign to move forward into the next phase of my life, I didn't want to ask for something from others without offering something of myself. After all, I wasn't aiming to be a “money for nothing” rock star. (And we all know chicks aren't free!) I simply needed a little help from my friends after trudging through nearly three years of severe underemployment with no relief in sight.
My goal was to raise money to buy and renovate an old motorhome to live in so that I could cut my overhead and live within my minimal means. I reckoned, because I have myriad skills and plenty of time on my hands, those were the things I could give in return, but not to the contributors – to non-profit organizations. So, I laid out my terms: For every $20 someone contributes toward my motorhome fund, I will volunteer one hour of my time to help a non-profit of their choosing. Everyone pays it forward here, and that feels really right to me, fully shareable through and through.
Only one person has taken issue with my project, accusing me of using non-profits for personal gain. Now, this was someone who I'd consider to be somewhere between a buddy and a friend, and she came at me with both guns blazing. I withered in the face of her attack,