Raising Money for Baha’i Projects with Kickstarter and Indiegogo

Whether it’s an individual initiative or a community-backed idea, projects in the Baha’i Faith often need resources to get off the ground. While the institutions are certainly an option for finding support, a number of Baha’is have begun taking to the web, specifically to crowdfunding sites, to find backers for their projects. And they’re finding success too.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo are the most popular platforms. Here are five recent successfully funded Baha’i-related campaigns.

How Crowdfunding Works

Crowdfunding is about drumming up support for an idea or project through a campaign. People interested in backing the project choose a financial level to commit to, often selecting between different rewards. Depending on the platform, different rules apply, though typically the project only gets the cash if the funding goal is reached.

While the main benefit of a crowdfunding campaign is definitely financial, they’re also a great mechanism for building a bit of excitement and momentum for a project!

Crowdfunding platforms do provide a little exposure themselves,but you should be prepared to promote your project heavily on Facebook and other social media, amongst your networks, and in any other way you can.

There’s lots of great sites offering tips for successful crowdfunding campaigns including how to present your pitch and how to market and promote your campaign. Check out:

Kickstarter vs Indiegogo

The two main crowdfunding contenders are Kickstarter and the smaller Indiegogo. There are other options including Tilt, Pozible and even the DIY Selfstarter, but the main game is at the big two.

There are some key differences between the two leaders. While Kickstarter explicitly aims at campaigns to ‘create something’ (in one of 13 categories: Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater), Indiegogo is much more open and free form allowing all kinds of projects.

Kickstarter has a famous rule – meet your funding goal or receive nothing, while Indiegogo has two modes – fixed and flexible. Flexibly funded campaigns cost more in fees but you’ll get whatever you raise, while fixed campaigns operate just like Kickstarter.

Both sites will charge fees on your campaign of about 5-10% of the campaign’s fundraising plus payment gateway fees. Here’s more information on both site’s rules and fees:

Kickstarter’s Fees & Kickstarter’s Rules.
Indiegogo’s Fees & Indiegogo’s Rules.

Fundraising, Individual Initiative and the Baha’i Faith

It’s worth a quick reminder that only Baha’is may contribute to the Baha’i Fund. While crowdfunding platforms are great for initiatives and projects, they shouldn’t be used for fundraising for the Baha’i Fund, deputisation funds, or similar funds.

On a related note, always keep in mind that while individual initiative occupies a key role in the Baha’i Faith, we have the institutions to play a guiding role. The Universal House of Justice has written on the subject:

Individual initiative is a pre-eminent aspect of this power; it is therefore a major responsibility of the institutions to safeguard and stimulate it. Similarly, it is important for individuals to recognize and accept that the institutions must act as a guiding and moderating influence on the march of civilization. In this sense, the divine requirement that individuals obey the decisions of their Assemblies can clearly be seen as being indispensable to the progress of society. Indeed, individuals must not be abandoned entirely to their own devices with respect to the welfare of society as a whole, neither should they be stifled by the assumption of a dictatorial posture by members of the institutions.
Source: From a letter dated 19 May 1994 from the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly (via Baha’i-Library.com)

What Kinds of Projects Do Well?

All kinds of projects succeed at crowdfunding, but a quick peruse of the five listed above tells you that Baha’i music is a popular subject for crowdfunding. It’s early days for Baha’is and crowdfunding, so consider experimenting.

If you’ve got a campaign going that needs support, let us know in the comments! Good luck!

About the Author

Collis is a designer, entrepreneur, writer and Baha’i. He is the CEO of Australian tech company Envato, and cofounder of Baha’i Blog / Half Light Media.

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Discussion 7 Comments

  1. I am currently brainstorming ideas for documenting my present travels, and am hoping to do something more than the normal blog. Working on a plan to start a podcast. More so looking for advice at the moment rather than funding.

  2. Stevie Vagabond, We have an initiative running for some years now which is called ‘Archives – the Memory of Community’. While it is entirely in Russian we may as an experiment try to collaborate with you and do something together both to preserve and share your memories about your travels. Please write to us at [email protected] if you interested.
    And anyone wishing to help ‘Archives – the Memory of Community’ may contribute to the initiative as well. Donations are welcome. There is a PayPal button on the right on our website http://www.bahaiarc.org/

  3. Hey great Article,
    I studied and worked over the last 2 years, in my free time as a pioneer, on creating a Bahai Library app that has some particular features.

    The app is now online since a few month and the response is okay’ish. There are so many things I would love to implement and I believe most are pretty extraordinary and a fresh approach to technology from a practical perspective.

    My wife is now expecting our first son and our financial situation is getting very excitingly tight.

    Some days I am excited because I know about the feautures and ideas and I know how beautiful their implementation would be. I think every technology interested Bahai would love it once they give it a chance.

    But other days when I think how I shared my app with bahaiblog or with institutions and am still waiting to get even any sort of response I feel disheatened…

    I know I love to show the Bahai world what my vision is and already friends from countless countries showed interest.

    So the question of crowdfunding seems to be how many connections in a business level do you have, how many friends do you know who can create amazing looking video productions and a website that looks top notch. On how many social networks can you be active and deliver content suited to every networks own personality and at the end: are there people who are actually willing to give you a chance even though you don’t know the “celebrity circles” ?

    Any thoughts

    1. Hi Eloy,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Crowdfunding, like any other initiative, is partly about getting the word out, but is also about whether those who come across the idea or initiative want to support it, and unfortunately this cant be controlled by the creator all the time. Unfortunately there are so many wonderful initiatives which go unnoticed and don’t get the support they need (trust me, I’ve been a part of many of these), but this just comes with the territory.

      It’s also a matter of numbers, and unfortunately the Faith just doesn’t have the numbers to necessarily make certain things profitable. If the initiative is an English one for instance, and you think of how many Baha’is are in English speaking countries, the number shrinks incredibly, then take into account the number of English speaking Baha’is living in wealthier nations who have access to the internet and who can afford certain products, and the number shrinks even more. So don’t be disheartened, it’s not always about the product, it’s often just a lack of numbers and a bunch of other reasons.

      I can understand that you feel frustrated as I’ve been there many times, and I can’t speak on behalf of others (and I’m not sure what you mean by ‘celebrity circles’), but if you’d like to share your initiative with Baha’i Blog, then please send an email to [email protected], and you can also always submit it to our Resource Directory if you haven’t done so already. Also, please also understand that we get a high volume of emails and correspondence, and we do our best to get back to everyone, but ask for your patience.

      I hope this helps Eloy.

      1. Hey Naysan,

        thank you so much for your wise words. I have to apologise for maybe putting to much emotion in the comment but its hard to detach from our emotions if you put your heart in your service.

        Actually i found your words very helpful so thank you, ill keep them in mind in those moments of feeling frustration. For now i will just continue to follow my calling until i feel this project is reflecting the basic vision i have for it.

        I think Baha’u’llah said that He wants us to finish what we started, and that He wants us to follow our calling.

        Much love and gratitude to the Bahaiblog team Allah’u’Abha

        PS: Not sure myself what i meant with ” celebrity circles ” probably more like “connections” to people who have a higher stand in their respective society ^^ allgood

        1. No worries at all Eloy!

          Sending you a BIG HUG!

          It’s important that service is done in ‘the spirit of service’, and not done with any expectations. I know this is easier said than done, but it’s something I’m always trying to remind myself of.

          Don’t forget to send me an email about your initiative so I can take a look at it. My direct email is: [email protected]
          I’m really looking forward to seeing what you’re working on and will definitely help spread the word if I can! 🙂

          Also, a BIG CONGRATULATIONS regarding the baby on the way! 🙂

  4. Hey thanks Naysan i just noticed your reply.
    Thanks for the congratulations as you can imagine, things getting more and more exciting and time runs fast these days.

    Thanks for the email adress, i look forward to send you a email soon.

    Allah’u’Abha

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