Beat World Cancer: a birdseye view of crowdfunding

by Peter Cook

I have just started a 30 day crowdfunding campaign to raise a small fortune to Beat World Cancer. In order to do this I have had to learn strategies and skills that I have never used in my life. I’d like to invite you to have a birdseye view of the progress of the campaign over the next 30 days until April 5th. In a 36 second nutshell, here’s the “Life Aid” project in profile:

The trigger for this project was the day when David Bowie died – I was called up at 7.30 am by CNN News to comment. I was filled with a complex set of emotions – at some level I considered David Bowie immortal. With a heavy heart I went to London, quite unable to foresee what was about to happen.

After the CNN broadcast, some music friends contacted me about building a tribute concert. Through further conversations with Patti Russo, songstress with Queen, Meatloaf etc. and Sir Paul Mc Cartney and Queen’s Monitor Engineer, I decided to see if we could scale the approach to global proportions.

So I decided to organise a series of concerts around the world, starting in a small English village in May 2016 and scaling up to a series of major events in Summer 2017 all around the world on the scale of “Live Aid”. As well as approaching corporates for sponsorship, I decided to use Crowdfunding as a vehicle to reach people the world over.

In researching this as an innovative approach to making something amazing happen, here’s some of the wisdom I accumulated along the way:

  • Like most things in life, you must have a potent goal and it should be time limited. I decided on a 30 day “all or nothing” approach using Kickstarter in order to create a sense of urgency about the project.
  • I decided on a ratio of >> 10:1 of funding options : money required to give some kind of safety net.
  • The average contribution to such campaigns is around the $25 mark so it helps to have a wide range of funding options around that area. I also have options at a very modest level and some extreme ones to cater for different interests
  • I am using an online collaboration strategy to engage people.  This is of course tricky, given attention spans and so on, so we’ll see if our various online strategies grip people or not.
  • We are presently working on endorsements of the projects, having also written to President Obama and Sir Richard Branson amongst many others to gain support for this audacious project.

I’m inviting you to watch the progress of the campaign at Kickstarter. At this point I have no idea whether it will fund through the power of viral marketing, so we may have a massive success or an abject failure on our hands here. The people will decide!

I’m also inviting you to add comments here in terms of your thoughts and ideas as to how to make the project succeed. You will be actually participating in an online “thought experiment” and be able to see the results of your ideas on the end result by April 5th, making Innovation Excellence an online laboratory or Skunkworks.

You can view the wider project proposal at SlideShare. I welcome your thoughts.

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Peter Cook leads Human Dynamics and The Academy of Rock, providing Keynotes, Organisational Development and Coaching. He is the author of seven books on business leadership. His three passions are science, business and music, having led innovation teams for 18 years to develop life-saving drugs including the first treatments for AIDS and the development of Human Insulin. Peter is Music and Business editor at Innovation Excellence. You can follow him on twitter @Academyofrock.

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