Crowdfunding: the new way to finance your events?

In a post-financial crisis world where banks’ business lending is yet to return to pre-recession levels, companies are constantly looking for new ways to obtain finance. For small firms in particular, who have fewer resources to begin with, it’s become especially important to get to grips with some of the different ways you can fund marketing campaigns, expansion or perhaps the move to new premises.

You might think that businesses tend to just stop holding events if they are struggling to finance them, but that isn’t the only option. Improving the efficiency of your booking process with an online delegate registration system can be extremely useful, of course, but if you’re looking to get a meeting or conference off the ground you need to acquire some funds in the first place.

Using these alternative forms of finance could really help to keep your event calendar looking healthy, and one of the most popular ways of doing this is through crowdfunding. Websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo are among hundreds of platforms being used every day to source finance for meetings and conferences, while Picatic’s EventTilt service is another option specifically aimed at events.

Basically, you post the equivalent of an advert on the site explaining what your event is, why you should run it and how much you’re likely to need. Usually you might also include details of some reward you can offer in return, such as free entry to certain parts of the event, and then wait for interested parties to contribute to the pot.

There are plenty of advantages to funding your events this way, especially if you haven’t run many events before or are not sure how well received your programme will be. For  start, it mitigates much of the risk that comes with investing in your conference and demonstrates the level of interest you might experience. Because your investors are also going to be the people who talk you up to others, it’s also great for word-of-mouth advertising and driving engagement.

“Crowdfunding represents a step above crowdsourcing ideas,” Bret Fund, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business, told Meeting Professionals International.

“[Your audience is saying], ‘Not only am I interested in the idea, but I’m interested in putting money into the organization of a conference based on your idea.”

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