Is Your Company Leveraging the Digital Crowd?

Social Media

John Murcott of Karma411 presents at the Social Media Association event on crowdfunding.

Recently, the Social Media Association of Long Island held an event focused on crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is defined as a combined effort of individuals who pool money, typically online, to support efforts started by other organizations or people. The term has become popular and the SMA event sought to educate people on crowdfunding and how it could help companies and individuals going forward.

The Social Media Association of Long Island is a group of talented professionals with a focus on helping advance those involved in social media. SMA President Hilary Topper of HJMT made the opening remarks and started off the event with a lively discussion on several social media hot topics. Next, John Murcott, co-founder and CEO of Karma411, took the podium to discuss crowdfunding.

According to their website, Karma411 provides nonprofits state-of-the-art online solutions with no upfront risk. Karma411 provides social fundraising solutions for nonprofit companies through customized campaigns that allow a company to personalize their marketing and branding efforts. Thus far, Karma411 has involved over 350,000 campaign crowdfunders.

According to Murcott, crowdfunding is about raising money from the crowd. Murcott discussed the power of the crowd, citing the extensive and successful efforts of the Obama campaign, Yahoo! answers and Kickstarter as good examples of utilizing the power of the crowd.

Karma411 in particular is able to leverage social media to get the word out about an event while also helping a worthwhile cause, which is really at the heart of what Murcott and company do. By creating personal pages and encouraging individuals to tell friends about a fundraising event, an organization can truly spread the word about their cause while branding itself in the process.

Murcott then discussed the concept of what going viral truly is. Viral is not just about sharing content online, but about creating an incentive for individuals to register for something and involve their friends, in the business sense via discounts or gifts. Murcott cited Let’sOrderNow as one such example of a company which effectively harnesses the power of viral.

I later discussed with Murcott private companies who are not listed on a public exchange, and how they can leverage crowdfunding for raising capital to grow their businesses. Murcott responded:

First, the concept of crowdfunding is not necessarily that there is a “crowd” standing by, but that individuals and companies have more options now than before. The classic fundraising options were friends and family, angel investors and venture capitalists. Companies now have more options to reach out to for capital thanks to crowdfunding.
Second, Murcott stated that the wait time for companies is less. The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the JOBS Act), signed into law in 2012, may take some time to fully implement. However, crowdfunding capabilities through companies such as Karma411 and ProSeeder will allow companies to act now and bring their archaic processes online.
Finally, Murcott looked at the bigger picture of where the crowdfunding movement is going. Interestingly enough, Murcott stated that one day you could be eating breakfast and take a picture of the cereal box’s QR code and invest in the company in the process.
Therefore the future holds some exciting possibilities for group fundraising efforts and increased opportunities for the public to join the growing fray of investors. Murcott provided a great introduction to crowdfunding, and it could be a term that many companies may soon become familiar with.



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