Prior to the rise of the crowdfunding platform, many building projects tended to (many still do) start collecting moss halfway through their construction process, or perhaps even die on the drawing board due to a constant threat of a lack of funding. Crowdfunding offers the ideal solution to informally collect funds from a large population and this works especially well for community-oriented building projects.
Generally, architects don’t tend to play much of a role in the funding process of a building project, but the onset of crowdfunding presents an opportunity to architects to quickly help projects take flight and now their involvement in the progress of the project is more direct and prominent. This provides an entrepreneurial dimension to the architect’s role.
5 tips for the first-time crowdfunder architect
- Choose the right crowdfunding platform depending on the kind of project you’re working on. For example, some platforms may be more global than local, while community-oriented projects are best crowdfunded for on a local platform.
- If possible, offer interesting rewards to your major backers. For example, the Thames Bath fundraising project to create a freshwater swimming pool in the Thames river offered their backers free swims.
- Be realistic about your goal, especially if you’re using a platform that offers an “all or nothing” model. It’s best to choose a platform like Impact Guru that lets you keep the funds you’ve raised, regardless of whether you’ve hit your goal or not.
- Say what you’re crowdfunding for. Be transparent and tell your donors what stage your project is at and what you need the money for, whether it’s to buy material, land or pay builders.
- Reach out to the public if you have a novel idea the community will like. Projects like forest education centres, green buildings, nonprofit educational campuses, community pools or playgrounds tend to attract attention (and donations) from the public, corporates and even businesses.
- Pick your crowdfunding model carefully. There are five types; donation-based, rewards-based (which worked wonderfully for the Thames Bath project), pre-sales based (where you offer your backers the final product), lending-based and investment-based. Research has proven that donation-based crowdfunding, the most straightforward method with no real tangible gain for the donor is the best model for architectural projects.
Crowdfunding is also a great platform for the creative dreamy architect who is constantly limited by his client’s needs to get his ideas out there. Websites like Kickstarter and Impact Guru have helped thousands of architects in this way.
Are you an ambitious architect with too many designs on your drawing board and none outside of it? Start crowdfunding today.