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Permaculture Crowd Funding Website (preliminary launch) We need you!  RSS feed

 
Christian Shearer
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Hi all you wonderful permies. My name is Christian Shearer. I am the founder of the Panya Project http://www.panyaproject.org in Northern Thailand, and a permaculture designer with Terra Genesis International http://www.terra-genesis.com. The most recent project of mine (besides starting my own homestead) is that I am a few other permies have been building WeTheTrees.com, a permaculture focused crowd-funding website. My goal is to help so many of my students (and other permies) to be able to fundraise for their permaculture projects, as well as to be able to fundraise for courses that they want to take.

We are soon to launch officially (July 15th) and let the world know that WeTheTrees is open for fundraising. Between now and then, we need to get some campaigns up on the site to populate the site before the official launch. I am excited to be offering this to the Permies.com community.

Here's what you need to know, if you are interested.
please e-mail me (christian@wethetrees.com) if you are interested after reading the following:

Thanks so much for being one of our very first users. It helps our our project, because we need to get the site populated with projects before our official launch (slated for July 15th). I hope that it works out well for you too, as when we do our publicity for the website it should drive a fair amount of permies to the site, who may very well check out your fundraiser and choose to give.

Here is the info that you need to know.

You should start preparing for this fundraiser now. We are not quite ready to have you get on the website and create you project yet, but it would be best if you had all your information within the next week, so you could just load it in there and go live right away. This is what you need:

If you want more information about how WeTheTrees works, please visit this page (but don't try to post your project yet):
http://www.wethetrees.com/guidelines

And if you want help with strategy about how to make the most effective fundraising campaign, go here:
http://www.wethetrees.com/strategy

As soon as we are ready for you, I will send you a link that will let you bypass the initial project acceptance and take you straight to the new projects page. If you are interested in receiving this e-mail, please let me know by e-mailing me at christian@wethetrees.com . On that day, you will be asked for a number of things. Here is a quick list of those things. The most ideal would be for you to have them all written out and exactly how you want then on your computer, and then you could just come in a cut and paste it in.

1. Name of Campaign - What is the title of your campaign? Choose with care, as this can help draw visitors to your page, and make sure to choose a title that is unique to your project.

2. A campaign Video - You need to produce some sort of video. It could be very simple slideshow style, or a highly produced call for donations. Upload your video to Vimeo. We chose Vimeo because it looks better and doesn't have ads. A video adds a lot of strength to a campaign. Produce a video specifically for your campaign and make it as high quality as possible. The most successful campaigns generally have inspiring videos. If there is a single thing that differentiates the projects that reach their goal from those that do not, it is the video.

3. Description of your Campaign. Tell the world about your campaign. Be very clear and precise in your description. Leave the readers with a clear understanding of what you are doing, why you are doing it, and why it is important that they contribute. Share your passion for your project, and let people know how it will positively affect the world. We recommend taking your time on this section, and trying to make it the best it can be.

4. Headline - Summarize your campaign in 140 characters or less. This sentence will appear on the badge and will create a first impression for your audience. Be creative, clear and direct.

5. Category - Project or Education. Choose the category that best fits your campaign: project or education. The educaiton category are for those people who are fundraising to take a course.

6. Fundraising Goal- Think hard about your campaign fundraising goal. If you meet your goal, then you are committed to make your project happen, so make sure your goal is at least the minimum necessary for the project to happen. You can ask for more than needed (to embellish the project), but be aware that if you do not meet your goal, you do not receive any of the money. WeTheTrees is a ALL-OR-NOTHING platform. You may raise more than your goal, but if you don't succeed in reaching your goal, all contributions are refunded.

7. Payments - For most projects we use paypal, and for US residents you have the choice of choosing to use WePay instead. So if you do not have an account with either of those companies. please make one. It is really quick and easy.

8. Campaign End Date. Maximum 60 days.- If you reach your goal by that time, the money ends up in your account, if not, then no money changes hands. 60 days is the most successful length of time for crowd funding campaigns, because it is long enough to collect plenty of donations, but quick enough to keep the energy high.

9. Rewards - We believe that the best way to inspire people to contribute to a campaign is to offer excellent – and creative – rewards. Home made crafts, home grown food, postcards from afar and joyfull experiences. Spend some time devising creative rewards and people will be more likely to contribute to your campaign. You can set as many reward levels as you like. The idea is that if a person gave $5 they would get x reward. If they gave $25 they get y reward, and if they give $1000 they get z reward.

That's it. Again, if you wonder about the best strategy for any of those sections, please check out the strategy guide.

Also, read about promotion of your project, because that is probably the most important step to making your campaign successful. Getting the word out to all your networks.

Remember that your campaign needs to be for something clear, specific and finite. You can fundraise to buy bees and bee boxes, but you cannot fundraise to start a bee keeping business. You can fundraise to take a specific course, but you cannot fundraise to live a permaculture life. I hope that distinction is clear. It should be clearly laid out to the contributors what exactly the money is going towards.

As one of the people posting a project during our preliminary campaign, we thank you very much. We ask that if you experience any bugs with the site, or even anything that you think was not ideal to please let us know. There most likely will still be issues that we need to work out, so please bear with us if something goes wrong. We will do the best we can to correct issues right away. Like I said, we hope to go fully live on June 15, and tell the world what we are doing, so we would like to have everything working as best as possible by then.

Any feedback is welcome.

Thanks much, and thanks for being one of the first to utilize WeTheTrees!

Christian Shearer
christian@wethetrees.com
WeTheTrees.com
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Fantastic! I know of a project which might be appropriate for this.

 
Elia Charalambides
Posts: 78
Location: Boston
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So this is a Permaculture Kickstarter? Great idea! Where are you planning on marketing the site? What exposure is it going to get and on what other sites? Are you expecting it to be mostly SEO driven or are you going to place ads on other sites?
 
Christian Shearer
Posts: 28
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Hi Tyler, great that you are interested. Send me an e-mail for more information if you want to be one of the first to post on the site.

Hi Ella, Our company is run, built, managed and funded by a group of DIY permaculturalists, and we are working to get the word out without too much expense to the company. We have already connected with the page moderators for PRI australia and the Global Permaculture Network and will have an article published for all to read when we officially launch. I also have a huge list of permaculture connections that I will be personally sending the word out through and asking that they spread the word to their permaculture students and contacts.

I imagine that once we are a bit established and have our site well populated with campaigns, then we will run an add in permaculture activist and permaculture magazine UK.

For the most part I imagine that the word will spread somewhat organically through the permaculture community, especially since it is in the best interest of each campaign creator to share their campaign with as many contacts as they can, through their social networks as well, it will be driven by this expansion, much like kickstarter is.

Do you have any advice?
Thanks
Christian
WeTheTrees
 
Christian Shearer
Posts: 28
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As of two days ago, www.WeTheTrees.com has gone live, and I have posted the first fundraising campaign to the site. (We are raising money to gift the Panya Project in Northern thailand a really nice solar cooker). We are looking to get at least 8 campaigns up on our website before we officially launch with a large publicity campaign. If you were interested in posting a fundraising campaign, the publicity could potentially bring a lot of views to your page.

It would be a help to us, and could potentially help you raise money for your project.

In any case, come check out the website: http://www.WeTheTrees.com
or visit our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/wethetrees

Thanks all, keep doing what you do!
Christian
 
Nathan Wrzesinski
Posts: 79
Location: Austin Texas
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I would be interested in doing a fundraiser for Project Upcycle. We want to teach the world about renewable energy and how people can implement green solutions into their lives cheaply and easily. We will be traveling the country in an eco-van/rv conversion and stopping in different towns or cities, doing workshops, demonstrations, or just showing off our cool solar stuff. We will be documenting the trip on video and uploading to youtube as much as we can.


http://projectupcycle.blogspot.com
 
Neal McSpadden
Posts: 269
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I'm trying to think of a way to say this without sounding like a jerk.

You should probably know that since the SEC hasn't formulated rules for registering crowdsourcing funding portals that you could be charged with securities fraud.

http://sec.gov/spotlight/jobsact/crowdfundingexemption.htm
 
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