Raising Money

As many of you know I am currently running a Crowdfunder campaign to crowdfund the print version of my book ‘Unbreakable Bond.’ You can find out more about it and donate to the cause by going here:

http://www.gofundme.com/unbreakablebond

Through this experience it has shown me how the internet has helped so many people with good causes and ideas raise money, that they wouldn’t have been able to do 10 years ago. Securing funding for projects used to be about filling out funding application forms, pitching ideas to panels of investors and standing behind a stall in a street or at an event. Now in the space of five minutes you can set up a crowdfunder page for free, where people can donate online and the money gets dropped straight to your account.

As easy as online shopping

There are lots of people out there who have money, who are generous and who are willing to give. People are becoming more aware of crowdfunding everyday and everyday it is being seen as a normal and successful way of raising money, with more people donating to crowdfunder campaigns. The other beauty of crowdfunder sites is that it is as easy to donate money to something as it is to buy something off Amazon, so there is nothing putting people off. With more and more people shopping online, more and more people will give to crowdfunder campaigns.

Media, Social Media and YouTube have made it so easy now to let people know about your project and to encourage people to support it. On social media I think people share statuses and links a lot more with other people now, so by putting something online it can quickly be spread and be seen by 1000s of people who you don’t know or will never meet. I have had so many people donate to my crowdfunder that I have never met, which I think is amazing. It touches me when my story touches people that have never met me and they feel so supportive of the project that they feel led to give. This is when crowdfunding is at its best, as it shouldn’t be just friend funding.

Media is a powerful tool

Regardless of what you are raising money for, media is such a powerful tool. Media has the ability to shape our opinions and can encourage us in to action. Well-worded statuses and well-created media can be the difference most of the time between people giving and not giving. Even though I passionately believe in my cause, sometimes media is that powerful that if done well it doesn’t matter what the cause is.

With social media everyone is watching and can watch what you do, so when you start a campaign like a crowdfunder, organisations like news companies, magazines, blogs etc. can pick up on your campaign as they are actively scouring the internet for stories. By this happening you can get coverage for your project and have it exposed to wider audiences.

I am so happy I got in to the crowdfunding game and I hope this project is the start of many more in the future. Crowdfunding is something which is evolving and an industry where there is lots to learn and I would love to experiment further with it.

Playing a part in the democratic system

I find politics fascinating, I love when we are in the run up to an election and politics is the main subject people are talking about. I think it is important that we all take time to think about the issues that matter to us and to see which policies of which parties, we think will be best for us or our country.

My wish is that people would keep hold of that passion they feel today as the results are announced and keep that with them. As I scroll through my social media accounts, I see post after post of reaction to the results, but in a weeks time I’m sure very few will be posting about anything, which is even marginally related to politics.

Getting caught up

With the 5-year gap between elections; to me it just seems sometimes that people just get caught up in the 5-week campaign that the parties embark on before polling day. During this period the last 5 years doesn’t seem to matter, neither does how people felt when they last went to the ballot box. There just seems to be so many votes, which people make based on what media coverage has swayed them.

One website that I enjoyed using before I voted, was one my wife told me about:

https://voteforpolicies.org.uk/

This website allowed me to choose which policies I thought were best for the country, without knowing which party the policy belonged to, until I completed the survey. The results were quite interesting and really helped inform my voting choice. I wish we lived in a world where people voted for policies, rather than campaigns and personalities.

Problem voters

Above everything the one thing that got to me more than any result this week, was my frustration with tactical and protest voters. I will only ever vote for the party I want to get in power. If everyone did this we would have a fairer, more balanced view of who, people actually want to run this country. I will always lead by example when it comes to this and I hope others will to. The more people who vote for the party they want to win, the better this country will be. I never want to use my vote to vote for a party I don’t want in power, just because they aren’t as bad as someone else or because it will help the party I support in the national picture. If you vote for a party that gets in, either in your area or nationally, you along with everyone else who voted are responsible for that.

So regardless of how you are feeling today, please remember this feeling and use it wisely. Results may have not gone your way, but the only way you are going to make a change is by engaging more with the system and with people around you on politics. No party stays in power forever and regardless of how bad things get never lose hope that things can be turned around.

For all those that voted for the winning party today, you are responsible for them being in power – so I hope they don’t let you down. I hope in 5 years time you are happy with how you voted this year. For all those that voted for other parties that didn’t win, please don’t think your vote was wasted, your vote is only wasted when you stop using it, because of your vote I am hopeful for the future of this country.

Are businesses ruining the name of crowdfunding?

Over the last year I have grown quite tired of seeing companies and businesses asking their fans to bail them out of bad financial positions and using crowdfunding as their vehicle to do this.

Crowd funding websites and services, like Kickstarter and Crowdfunder, have led this growth market, that sees people pledging money to support projects and ideas that they are passionate about:

https://www.kickstarter.com/

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/

I think these services are great for people or organisations that don’t have the resources to accept their own donations and have no other way of raising money. I love going on these sites and seeing people trying to gain support for ideas they are passionate about, people that are trying to make something happen and aren’t letting their dreams or ideas go to waste.

Crowdfunding to save a business

The one thing I detest though, is when I see established businesses who have fallen on hard times who use crowdfunding just to stay afloat. These organisations ask their customers, supporters and fans who have paid in to their organisation for years by consuming their products or services, to then hand over even more money, just for the privilege to continue paying for their products or services.

These businesses, when they ask to be bailed out by supporters are normally ran and owned by people, who have a better quality of life and are in more privileged positions than the people they are asking to put their hands in their pockets. In these situations they are asking for more loyalty from their supporters, but yet these supporters haven’t been treated with any loyalty by the business.

It would be one thing if the business asking for money were offering you the chance to fund something tangible, like a new building or a new scheme but to simply say we have run our organization badly, have got ourselves in to debt and now want you to pay it off is staggeringly poor. If I were to get myself in to debt, I couldn’t set up a crowdfunding page asking members of the public to pay off my debt that I incurred through poorly managing my finances.

Abusing loyalty

I also take a dislike to when social media campaigns start up saying something along the lines of save our organisation, club or company. The way to have save it would have been to run it better in the first place, the horse has already bolted on the easiest way to save it.

If you are a for profit company, you should live or die on the strength of your business and your plans. As a business you shouldn’t let yourself get in to a position where the only thing that can save you is the public’s generosity.

Charities – the original crowdfunders

If you are looking for the public’s generosity to survive, you should be running a charity not a business. Charities are the original crowdfunding platform and have been doing crowdfunding even before anyone had the term crowdfunding. That’s why I love charities and happily donate to them, as by donating you are supporting a cause that you feel passionately about and are doing something to help that cause. You give, knowing that your money is going to fight a battle that can’t be supported in any other way and that the organisation aren’t just using your investment to generate profits for people.

I would implore crowdfunding services to stop businesses using this source of moneymaking to get them out of financial problems. I would also like to implore the businesses themselves to look at other ways of raising capital to get themselves out of trouble, rather than take money away from projects and ideas that could really do with the support.

Support

If you have the spare money and you feel the urge to crowdfund something, please go on to one of the many crowdfunding sites that are out there and find something that inspires you to support. By doing this you can make sure your money is going to help make someone’s dreams come true and that you are investing in something new that you want to see happen, done by someone that couldn’t make it happen in any other way.

Change Your World

So how is 2015 treating you so far? Did you make any resolutions? If you did – Have you kept to them?

The start of the year is always a tricky time. It is a time where anything is possible to achieve for the year ahead. It’s a time of coming back to work or school after a rest for many so it can take a little while to get back to firing on all cylinders but already you are being forced to think about plans for the year.

I have been thinking about this first blog of the year over the Christmas break, originally I was thinking it would be “Change the World” but on reflection I think the mission for this year should be “Change Your World.”

Thinking about the possibilities for the year ahead can be overwhelming as there are just so many, like if you were to try and think of a way to change the world, it would be overwhelming. On the other hand I believe changing your world is very possible and if lots of people did it we could change the world together.

Your world is something you are very familiar with. Your world is the people you interact with, the issues that affect your daily life and the places in the world that you live in and that you go to. Your world is easily defined and should be something that you could find a way to influence positively.

The great thing about our worlds is that they all overlap with each other in some way. There are many people affected by the same things that you are, many people living in the same area as you and many people that are friends with or work with the same people that are in your world.

You can be a world changer by making your world a better place. By making your world a better place you can make it better for someone else too and you can make their world better at the same time. I am going to make it my mission this year to change my world for the better. I am going to look at my world, think of ways that I can make a difference then go out and do it. If you want to improve your life and the ones of those around you then you need to change your world.

I want 2015 to be the year where your world was changed for the better. So lets get to it people.

Open Letter to football teams, players, staff and TV Companies that screen football in the UK

Dear Football Community,

I am writing to ask very kindly if you would all reconsider the level of betting and gambling adverts you display on your channels, social media feeds and websites.

I pay my subscriptions for your channels; I buy your merchandise and pay for tickets to watch games. I do this because I support football, however I am not doing this so I can be bombarded with betting advertisements. I know you are all businesses who need to make money and I don’t begrudge that, but can this not be done at the expense of the fan who is already paying so much to follow a sport they love.

You all do fantastic things in the community, so please don’t forget that community when looking at other areas of your business. Your community is made up of young impressionable people, people battling financial hardship and people who struggle with addiction. Now I wouldn’t say I fit in to any of those categories but it doesn’t mean I want to be bombarded with betting advertisements either. Most of you must have had young people in your family at some point and many of you will have had people you know battle addictions or fall on bad financial times. Next time you think about signing a lucrative deal with a betting firm can you keep these people in your mind and ask yourself if you would want them being bombarded with these adverts?

Could you all also take a minute to think about the long list of retired football professionals who have given us many hours of joy, but have found themselves battling addictions and financial hard times. Can we honour those heroes of the game with the way we display it today?

You have a captive market so please continue to captivate them with amazing games and interesting talking points. The power football has is an amazing thing and as guardians of it can you please use that power wisely. Lets make it a sport that anyone can watch and interact with, without having to worry about what they are watching.

I would like to challenge a club, a league or a TV company to become the first footballing entity that makes informed decisions on what if any betting adverts they allow to be displayed by their organisation and does it with their community in mind, not finances. Speak to your fans and viewers to see what they have to say. Look out in the crowd and see the child going to their first game with their parents, think to yourself – what messages do we want them to see? I would happily sit down with any football club, TV company or league to discuss the best way forward.

To end with I would like to say that I am not for censorship, I am not against peoples right to bet or the betting companies right to advertise, I am for the beautiful game and the supporters who deserve better from the game that they are so invested in.

Yours Faithfully Adam Sibley