Crowdfunding is something of a risky way to start a venture. While it can be a huge help in terms of getting a project off the ground that might not otherwise have had such an opportunity, getting the crowd behind that project can be difficult, especially if the right crowd isn't in the room at the time. But the folks behind some successful crowdfunding ventures are out to help on that front, and have started a community specifically geared toward helping crowdfunded ventures get off the ground.
The community in question, “Harness the Crowd,” offers up a variety of tools to help potential crowdfunding users get the most impact out of a crowdfunding system. There are a host of educational resources on hand, all of which have been personally vetted by the team behind Harness the Crowd, a three-student team of successful Kickstarter veterans Dan Thompson, Greg Lyon and Dan Haarburger. There are links to companies that offer professional services in terms of video and website development, as well as PR functions and several others, and a set of forums for project creators to get advice on more specific topics.
The community as a whole has the overall goal to make more successful crowdfunding seekers, according to Haarburger, and the various tools and advice found therein should be a help on that front, especially given that the three behind Harness the Crowd previously succeeded in Kickstarter efforts. Crowdfunding itself is a rapidly growing market; given that Kickstarter itself accounted for over $2.7 billion in funding—and that just a fraction of the sheer number of projects that graced Kickstarter—there's quite a bit of interest in the field, and in both directions. It's not just Kickstarter, either; with other companies like Indiegogo getting involved, crowdfunding is expected to top fully $5.1 billion by the end of 2013, representing nearly a doubling in just one year's time.
But making a project that appeals to a crowd can be difficult. For those without a crowd to tap—major names, established properties and the like—already in place, the objective becomes not just to harness the crowd, but to get one in the first place. Making a project that has such wide appeal—and making that appeal apparent to those who would invest—is a difficult process that may never actually work, even with advice and practical tools. There is no pre-determined route to Kickstarter success—if there were, everyone would be using it—so the best that services like Harness The Crowd can really do is offer up a better chance than an uninformed user might have.
Still, slim chance will always be better than no chance at all, and with a little information in the right spot, perhaps more crowdfunding projects will see a successful conclusion. With more successful projects, more will arrive to put crowdfunding measures to use. That means the market will only get larger, and the success of crowdfunding overall will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Edited by Alisen Downey