One of the most revolutionary uses of online social media for creative types—second only, perhaps, to the collaborative photo book—is the rise of crowdsourcing websites that help to raise awareness of—and funnel money to—projects aimed at social good. A great example of one such project is a film entitled “Way of Life,” which is currently in its active funding phase on the crowdsourced fundraising platform, Indiegogo.com. The filmmaker David Driver has worked for eight years to complete his film that tracks the life of an artist who finds a valuable piece of artwork in an abandoned studio, and then sells the piece for a large sum of money. Instead of keeping the cash for himself, he chooses to open a hospital in a remote region of India. It’s a story that needs to be told. And after eight years of blood, sweat, and tears working on the project, the filmmaker is in need of a final infusion of funds to have a score composed, and to release and distribute the film. With Indiegogo, David is currently at about 70% of his goal. Hooray!
It’s so easy to have an aversion to social media, to write it off as a narcissistic, self-promoting waste of time. And it’s true, social media can be all of those things. But if you have a clear vision of what you want to get from social networking—plus a decent amount of self-control—it can really be a powerful tool for real good. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, photographer, craftsperson, educator, writer, or filmmaker, using one of the many crowdsourced funding platfoms can be a highly effective way to raise a little money from a lot of people, and reach a financial goal that can help you kick off—or complete—a labor of love. And a custom photo book is the ideal way to thank contributors.
In David’s words, “Crowd funding is this 21st century idea of people whom you never met pitching in to help you fulfill a goal. What an incredible feeling! It just points to the fact that THE most important thing for anyone who is using a crowd-funding platform, whether artist, filmmaker, or small-business entrepreneur, they need to be able to offer their contributors a note of gratitude that reflects the importance of their participation. Mixbook is a great way to provide an authentic "Thank You" for the most important people you may have never met.” It can also be a real incentive to donors to create a Mixbook photo book that chronicles the project, tracks fundraising progress, and thanks anyone who contributes.
Here are a few ideas for how David—or anyone involved in a crowdsourced project—can create a Mixbook photo book, then send it out as a meaningful way to express appreciation to contributors.
1. Gather Photos and Stills
An eight-year project is bound to have lots of landmarks. In David’s case, some of the people who became a key part of the project didn’t even know him when the idea was just taking form. By gathering photos and film stills, he’s able to link them to the history of the project and give them an inside peek at what it took to get to the present moment. It’s one thing to tell people he’s put his heart and soul into the work for eight years. It’s much more powerful to create a photographic timeline that illustrates the magnitude of the project.
2. Track Funding Progress
Since the Indiegogo push for “Way of Life” is about six weeks long, David can create six pages that chronicle the progress of his fundraising each week. Pie charts or bar graph illustrations that show clear progress toward his goal—culminating with a final page that celebrates a goal reached—are a very powerful way to convey to donors that he couldn’t have done it without them. On each of these six pages, David can list everyone who’s donated anything from $5 to $5,000 or more.
3. Create Dedicated Thank You Pages
On his crowdsourced funding platform, David can incent donors by offering to dedicate space—anywhere from a quarter page to a whole page—in his photo book as a thank you. David can include a photograph of the donor along with a personal note on the specific way that person has contributed—even if it goes far beyond a financial output. Or, he can give a donor an opportunity to dedicate his or her contribution to a person or the memory of a person who was inspired by similar philanthropic work. Some donors may want to remain anonymous, but still might be interested in including some remarks on why they were compelled to contribute.
Before long, a book will take shape (like the one below) that’s an inspiring example of what can happen when a community of people come together to make something great happen. This is a book that anyone who contributed to the creation of “Way of Life”—or your crowdsourced project for social change—will cherish for a lifetime.
Have you ever used Mixbook to create a photo book that tracks the progress of a social project?
Discover more photo book ideas!