Banks deal in financing real businesses – retail businesses, manufacturing businesses, educational institutions – things that make profits. In the Carrey movie Yes Man, the bank that Carrey works for doesn’t even like to fund tiny home businesses – little home birthday cake bakers and the like. What do you do if your idea is even more off-the-wall then home bakeries? What if you wanted money for something that you cared about but that didn’t stand a prayer of making any money? Then, you would turn to crowdfunding.
If yours is an unconventional idea that anyone would dismiss out of hand, you could try it out on a crowdfunding website like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. If your idea strikes a chord with people somewhere, you could find out quickly on these websites. You could either turn a surprise hit or fade anonymously. There’s no harm done.
Here are some of the strangest crowdfunding ideas that people around the world have voted for with their money. Most people would never know that these were valuable ideas if it weren’t for their crowdfunding success.
Suits for Wall Street
Whatever people may learn in school about not judging a book by its cover, the cover is how books get judged all the time. There are nonprofits that provide people fresh out of jail with decent clothes so that they are taken seriously at job interviews.
Suits for Wall Street had a similar angle. When people gathered for the Occupy Wall Street protests in Zucotti Park in New York City, often, they were people without resources. They would camp out there for days on end and end up looking disheveled. They would get no respect from the police or the media. While being a hippie won you respect in the 60s, in 2011, it just got you dismissed out of hand.
Suits for Wall Street was a crowdfunded project that offered a way out. It wanted to raise $800 to buy every protester at Zucotti Park a business suit. The idea was a great success. People hated Wall Street enough that they raised nearly $3000 on IndieGoGo.
Are you a fan of the Extra Credits webseries? It’s a very popular niche show for people who wish to see the world accept that video games are an art form.
How does a strange idea like this win more than $100,000 in crowdsourced funds? To begin, the group of people behind Extra Credits marketed their idea very well. It also helped that millions of people in the world or fanatic about the videogame cause. They would really like to see the world accept that video games are artistic, beautiful and meaningful. It’s no surprise that they would back an effort to popularize this view.
Do you love pizza?
What if your love of pizza was so great that you wished to open a shrine to it? It wouldn’t make much money, of course. You would stand a chance to build something that meant a lot to pizza devotees, though. You can look up one such effort on the Guinness Book of World Records – it’s called Pizza Brain. The idea of creating a museum to “all things pizza” kicked off on KickStarter in the year 2012. This year, they are already on the Guinness Book for being the largest museum dedicated to the pizza. They collected $16,000 and change.
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter that you don’t stand a ghost of a chance of turning a profit. You just need to stand up for something. You give voice to the feelings of many like-minded people then and they support you.
Elizabeth Garvey is an accountant for various upstarts. She enjoys passing on her new business knowledge and ideas through blogging. Visit the NextDayLenses.com to see how they serve their customers.