Crowdfunding is financing your project idea by posting a clear description of it online and spreading the word through social media to drive people to a website where they can give small donations toward the project. The explosion of social networking in the past decade enables people with creative project ideas to let them go viral to collect hundreds or thousands of small gifts to completely fund a project. Whether you’re making a movie, printing a book, or purchasing a historic property to save it, any good idea can raise capital through this unique technique. It doesn’t cost you a thing if you don’t succeed. What kind of money can you raise? Movie producers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer raised $212,265 to produce the film FrackNation on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, which sees 44 percent of projects achieve their fundraising goals. It’s no wonder crowdfunding will be four times larger in 2013 than it was in 2009. Read the how-to guide written by a community of professionals called G+ to help you navigate which websites to use and what steps to follow to fund your project. The guide also warns of the pitfall of having too many investors for a privately traded company, which draws the ire of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
—by Ryan Nichols