Ari Neufeld Immortalizes a Musical Event

On May 21, 2010, there was an incredible musical undertaking at the Dream Cafe in Penticton, Canada. 150 people participated in Ari Neufeld’s live recording project. The project was hosted by Penticton’s eccentric top music organizer, Pierre Coutor. Ari was joined by his incredibly talented brother and vocalist, Chris Neufeld. During their performance, there was a live portrait of Ari painted by Penticton’s most sought after visual artist, Jenny Long. The project was recorded and engineered by Ari’s favorite indie producer, Corwin Fox. The concert was all captured on film by a 3 man crew of super talented film-makers. Quite an event. Now, Ari has taken to his friends and fans to help him immortalize the event and to create a multi-media package. Here is what Ari had to say about his innovative undertaking: What was the inspiration behind the music project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? Short version: my fans have been haranguing me for an album that accurately exemplifies my live experience. Ari Neufeld Live at the Dream Cafe is a visual and audio document of how I do what I do. This project is something I’ve been trying to get off the ground for years.Longer version: My project was very organized by a team of people highly trained at what they do.  First of all: me. I’ve been performing on average 200 live shows a year for the last 8 years, slowly developing my diversity into a multi-faceted journey hewn specifically to the energies of whatever audience I find myself with. Throughout the years, I’ve recorded albums on very small budgets more as documents of some of my compositions, than honest depictions of my live energy. My audience, taken in by the visual as well as audio aspects of my performance, is always nagging me to release a project that effectively captivates the energy of full-body music-making, plus some of the humor and insight spoken about between compositions. My first priority was finding a venue that optimized both my abilities as a one-man band, and the interest of my audience. Consistently, the Dream Cafe has been voted as one of the top three live venues in Western Canada. After performing at the other two consistent venues, and finding neither of them even remotely comparable to the inspirational and vibrant environment that Pierre Couture has managed to create at the Dream, where I wanted to record my ultimate live record was pretty easy to solidify. After 3 performances in the Dream and many, many concerts Pierre let me sit in on (as “part of my education”), I felt ready to capture a night of performing, confident to render my compositions comfortably and - though in a moment of spontaneous inspiration - without any mistakes. Corwin Fox is a genius. He is the mastermind behind several of my very favorite records, including Morlove, Scott Dunbar, Miss Emily Brown and NikTex. He was thrilled to hop on board and engineer the recording at the Dream Cafe. His tech assistant was Aaron Goodwin, a gifted musician and sensitive engineer with a quirky knack for sourcing “mids”. The video crew that came together for the evening involved two prominent local filmmakers and a professional photographer, filming in broadcast quality. My performance was augmented by my brother, Chris Neufeld’s harmony (brilliant and intuitive, as we grew up singing together, and inspiring one another’s art), and a live visual acrylic portrait (of my face) painting by local muralist and artist extraordinaire Jenny Long (incidentally, her portrait is the cover of my album!).Finally, I dug deep and invited all of my favorite fans from near and far to be a part of my performance. Each audience member signed a release sheet to be listed among the collaboratives involved. The booklet published with the album is a 16 page journal of the process, illustrated with many of my sketches, photos of some of my bigger projects, insights into some of the album’s content and huge thanks to the community that participated.On post-production, when I was trying to source out a line of credit to finish the job, it occurred to me that there were hundreds of people (on top of those directly involved with the night itself) that wanted to participate in the project, wanted to contribute to my career, were eager to get their hands on the product, so me and the production company I’m producing the CD/DVD with (Tribehouse, specialists in artist development) started looking for the right, organized system to effectively communicate my heart and channel funding for the project. Among the many companies that Tribehouse researched, Rockethub seemed the most slick and classy. Furthermore, Rockethub was set up to handle our 3 min explanation video, which gave us the opportunity to make the project look fun and personal, while getting all the information laid out. I also really appreciated the idea of being able to fuel the project through diversifying my creative talents into trades (many of them for physical art) for pledges. Thanks guys!! Wow, you have quite a creative and talented hive surrounding you. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of live music in Canada - how are your supporters responding? Crowdfunding is something I’m not entirely new to, as I grew up working for the non-profit missions organization my parents were involved with. We were constantly trying to raise support for various mission opportunities. Obviously, back in the day, we didn’t have the kind of slick opportunity that RocketHub provides. In those days, it was physically meeting with people, personally sending out letters and generating information through very physical means. I’m thrilled to see how my project has been inundated with interest already and clear support from people that care and want a piece of the creative process, with concise and yet not too-in-your-face advertising.  The only set-back thus far has been educating people to donate to an online presence. This format of fund-raising is still very new to the market, and many people seem hesitant to install finances into anything online. Aside from accruing donations through an actual, physical campaign, my efforts through RocketHub have been more effective than ANY other fund-raising project I’ve engaged in, to date! Keep up the good work - education is key. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? My advice for other Creatives interested in crowdfunding? Find a crowd of people with integrity and credibility to en-graft yourself to. This will diversify the project with deeper levels of creativity, expand your social influence, and increase momentum. The day that I launched my RocketHub site, the response was overwhelming, as people posted the video on their sites and facebook, etc. pages. Very cool, well-rounded push. Since launching the site, it is imperative now to keep the information flowing, let people know where the project’s at, how much interest is still needed, and how much funding still needs to be raised. Great advice - clusters of support are vital for crowdfunding success. Thank you Ari for your heartfelt and very honest perspective. Join the fun and support Ari, here. -Vlad

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  • June 8, 2011

The Demonstrator is Going to the Toronto Fringe

The Toronto Fringe Festival, attracts over 60,000 attendees each year to 150 productions at approximately 30 venues over 12 days each summer. It is a very prestigious theatre event to which Krista Hovsepian and her team will bring their production of The Demonstrator. Krista is running a very successful crowdfunding campaing that we chatted with her about. Thank you Krista for this cool video interview. Help them make their Toronto Fringe journey into a success, here. -Vlad

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  • June 6, 2011

International Folk Hero Niall Connolly at Upright Citizens Brigade NYC

We are are stoked to be working with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in June, to showcase successful RocketHub artist, Niall Connolly, in the upcoming show Underground Americana. Niall joins a growing list of RocketHub artists that have been featured at the UCB Theatre. The June edition of the variety show Underground Americana – hosted by Andy Rocco, will be held at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York on Saturday, June 4th at 12 Midnight. Congruent with the UCB’s mission of “big names for small change,” tickets are only $5.  To reserve tickets for the show: "Brooklyn-based Niall Connolly is at the head of a new breed of politically engaged eloquent singer-songwriters emerging from New York’s most populous boroughs with his immensely literate appraisals of the personal and the political." — Death and Taxes, New York. The lineup includes Andrea Rosen from the HBO TV show Flight of the Concords, Arden Myrin from Mad TV, Curtis Gwinn from Adult Swim, John Gemberling from Death by Roo, and musical artist Niall Connolly who ran a successful crowdfunding campaign with RocketHub - and who recently returned from a successful tour in Ireland. Underground Americana celebrates the seedy and urbane life in America. Host Andy Rocco likes to say “Think of us as The Prairie Home Companion, just a little more f**ked up.” Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre was named “Hot Farm Team” by Rolling Stone magazine and “Best Comedy Club” by AOL, The UCB Theatre is widely recognized as home to today’s funniest actors and writers. Among our esteemed alumni include several performers and writers for Saturday Night Live, The Office, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, 30 Rock, Best Week Ever, Old School, Blades of Glory, Semi-Pro and countless other films, commercials and television shows. Performers who have gained success continue to lend their talents to the theatre and training center. -Niall photos courtesy and Debra Reschoff-Ahearn

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  • June 3, 2011

A Volunteering Adventure with Aaron Frank

Aaron Frank is taking a very novel and brave approach to crowdfunding. He is engaging his family, friends, and fans in order to support his volunteering trip to Israel. I’ll let him take it from here: What was the inspiration behind the pro-social mission project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? At the beginning of my freshman year, I joined the Syracuse University Ambulance Corps., a 98% student-run volunteer organization, which sparked my interest in Emergency Medicine (EMS) because of the direct impact on someone’s life. This has been an extraordinary experience because I have the opportunity to save a fellow student’s life. EMS empowered my desire to make an impact, and it is the most fulfilling feeling to volunteer for a Saturday-overnight shift during the school year and to say, “I did something important.” This summer is going to be my chance to give back to Israel, a country I fell in love with last summer when I went on birthright. Pursuing this love for EMS, I am going to be volunteering with Magen David Adom, the Israeli Ambulance Dept. I didn’t want to party through my summer break, but to be a crucial member of an ambulance squad saving lives on a daily basis. With tensions rising, I understand the risks of traveling to the Middle East at this time, let alone working with EMS in this environment, but it is something that I have to do because I need to lend my hand and help.  This project is important to me because it will give my supporters an inside look to the best and worst parts of Israel. It will hopefully bring to light the hardships that come with working on an ambulance in the Middle East and a slice of life that many people will never be able to experience. Wow - that you have a very important summer planned. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of volunteering, particularly going to Israel - how are your supporters responding? It’s been a fantastic experience because at the age of 18 I am able to spread my project around the world. I have been very lucky with the donations that I have received through RocketHub, in addition to outside scholarships, but it hasn’t been as easy as I thought it would be!  I leave June 14th to Israel, which is coming very close, and I keep my supporters updated through emails on the preparations for the trip. I’ve even asked a couple of my lovely supporters for advice. The most fun will come when I start working on the ambulance and I can give my supporters an inside look at the daily life of a First Responder in Israel through my blog.     Keep at it and keep us posted on your travels. You’ve built a lot of momentum quickly. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Aim big. Don’t limit yourself to only a few friends and family members to ask for contributions. RocketHub is a powerful crowdfunding destination and you have to utilize every opportunity the site offers to reach as many people as possible. Thanks Aaron - we’re rooting for you at RocketHub HQ and we’ll be following your progress. Help Aaron succeed and support his very worthy project. -Vlad

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  • June 2, 2011

Going to Tahiti Goes to their Crowd: Launching New Theatre Talent

Going to Tahiti Productions is a young and exciting theatre company in New York. It is a company dedicated to providing more opportunities for women in theatre and was started in 2008. So far they’ve been kicking ass. I had the pleasure to speak with the company’s founder and executive producer, Jessica Ammirati, about their new production: “SKIN FLESH BONE - which will premiere at The Secret Theatre in LIC this summer. Their crowdfunding campaign has been doing quite well and I wanted to get the story behind the new show and the cool campaign. What was the inspiration behind the theatre project you are currently running on RocketHub?  I’ve been a theater director since college - well actually, I think I’ve been a director since birth. I still remember “directing” both my big and little sisters where to put their clothes and books in the playroom we shared growing up - but I chose directing as a career when I was in college. After I moved to New York and had directed a few shows off-off-Broadway, I knew it was time to take things to the next level. Believe it or not, there weren’t hundreds of independent producers clamoring to hire me and throw money at my projects. So, I realized if I was going to direct the plays I wanted to direct, I’d have to produce them myself. I started Going to Tahiti Productions ( with the intention of providing more opportunities for women (like myself) in the theater world. Along the way I gathered an ensemble of actors and an amazing stage manager and technical director. Last winter we started thinking about our 2011 season. What immediately came to mind was a play my little sister had written a few of years ago. It fit GTTP’s mission perfectly and after a few minor revisions, my ensemble was raring to go. So, four months later, here we are up to our ears in rehearsals for SKIN FLESH BONE. We love what you’ve accomplished so far. Why is this project important to you?  There are many reasons, but the simplest answer is: family. For me, the most important thing in life is family - the one you’re born into and the one you create for yourself. I started GTTP in the hope that it would develop into a family - and I’m blessed because that’s exactly what happened. The play is written by my sister, features music she composed and performed and I have this amazing group of actors and technicians bringing it to life - it just doesn’t get any better than that. If SKIN FLESH BONE is a success it will enable us to continue doing good work. Every GTTP project brings us together as a family and like I said, nothing is more important than that. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of theatre in New York - how are your supporters responding? To be honest, it’s been good but also really hard. I absolutely LOVE the idea of crowdfunding. It makes me think of that old shampoo commercial - “I told two friends and they told two friends and so on and so on and so on.” Small amounts added up really can make the difference. But, the hardest part for me has always been asking people for money. I mean the actual “Hey Aunt Betty, could you give me some money?” It’s really tough. Even if it’s someone you know and love, someone who’s always been there for you…Anyway, it’s a hurdle you just have to get over. In my experience people want to help, even in tough economic times. But they won’t help if they don’t know you need it. So you ask. The worst thing that will happen is they’ll say no, but if you’re a creative type it’s not like you’ve never heard that word before. So far, our supporters are responding well. We’re more than 25% funded and we have more than two weeks to go. We have some cool things planned for the next week so we should be in good shape before our deadline. You’ve done quite well so far. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Creatives should be exactly that: creative. Be crazy. Be different. Try stuff and if it doesn’t work try something else. You can accomplish the impossible on a shoestring. Trust me, I’ve done it before. Thank you Jessica and thank you Going to Tahiti Productions for continuing to innovate and to provide new theatre opportunities. Get your cool rewards, here. -Vlad

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  • May 31, 2011

Bringing the Wisdom of the Jewish Sages to the Musical Future

Amanda Monaco is an extremely talented musical artist, based in Long Island City, New York. Her prowess and curiosity has led her to the universal wisdom of the Jewish Sages in the Pirkei Avot. Also known as “The Wisdom of the Jewish Sages,” it’s a compilation of rabbinic teachings compiled in the third century C.E. Now, Amanda is turning the lyrics into a guitar-led musical masterpiece. I spoke with Amanda about her process and crowdfunding adventure: What was the inspiration behind the unique music project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? The inspiration for my project comes from a compilation of rabbinic wisdom called the Pirkei Avot. In these crazy times, I found the teachings in this text to bring a sense of clarity to the way I thought about life, and also wanted to share them with others as I feel the message is universal. I also wanted to do a musical project with my dear friend Ayelet Rose Gottlieb before she left NYC to move to Israel. She is back in NYC in September, so I felt that now was the time to get this CD out there. That’s quite a deep inspiration. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of worldly music - how are your supporters responding? Many of my supporters have responded immediately, which is great. I’m also learning that there are others who I thought were on my email list, but are not, so I’m adding them to the list. It’s helped me get organized and reach out to my audience completely, instead of simply thinking that I was reaching out to them. Organization and persistence are key. You’ve built a lot of momentum quickly. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Tell everyone! Don’t just think that you can contact a few people here and there and be successful. You will be surprised to see who fuels your project and who doesn’t, and who pledges way more than you think he/she will. And be persistent – keep reminding people or they will forget and miss the deadline and will be sad that they didn’t support you. Thanks Amanda for sharing this story with is and for bringing this wisdom to the world. Get your copy, here. -Vlad

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  • May 25, 2011

Life Through Photography

Photography can a powerful medium. It can capture struggle, pain, and real-life journies.  Tony Fouhse is taking his journalistic talents to new and important depths. He is documenting a young woman’s life as a former heroin addict through photography and writing. Tony is successfully leveraging the power of the crowd to fund his project and related travels. What was the inspiration behind the photography project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? I had been collaborating with a small society of drug addicts that congregate on one corner of my hometown…..shooting portraits. I did this for four years (2007 to 2010). My intention with that project (titled: USER) was not to colonize, judge or change the subjects, just to acknowledge and respect their presence. Last year, when I was shooting on the corner, I met Stephanie and, like I say in the video, there was just something about her that compelled me to blurt out: “Is there something I can do to help you?” She said: “Yes.” and it all just started happening. This project is important to me for a couple of reasons. First, Stephanie and I have become good friends who have been through Hell together (she more than me), and that certainly creates a bond. Secondly, I believe that showing the human side of addicts is important. Too often they are seen (if they are seen at all) as sub-human non-entities. What Stephanie is willing to show the world, the face of her addiction and struggle, is something that needs to be seen. That’s quite a powerful story. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of photo journalism in Canada - how are your supporters responding? Well, so far, so good. I set a modest goal, one that would allow me to complete just one more aspect of this project (even though there will be many more aspects to come). In retrospect, I probably should have asked for more, to enable me to support and move Live Through This forward in more ways. For instance, there is  the dedicated website that is in the works for Live Through This, and that costs money, plus it would be good to be able to make the trip to the coast, to keep shooting, more than the one time I’m trying to finance through RocketHub. I’m not too sure about asking again, later on, for more money from my supporters. There is such a thing as donor-fatigue. I suppose I’m sort of hoping that I will surpass my goal by a fair amount so I can have some funds in hand to really round this project out. (And I hope I didn’t just jinx this whole thing by saying that right out loud.) Your honesty seems to be very well received by your fans. I believe that running a second-leg of this project on RocketHub is very much do-able. You’ve built a lot of momentum quickly. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? One thing I didn’t mention in my RocketHub appeal is that I have been blogging on a weekly basis about this project since November 2010. There were many twists and turns, ups and downs during that time and my blogs’ audience really felt a connection to Stephanie and what she was going through. I suppose that that feeling of connection is a great help. As well, I sent out 7 or 8 personal letters of appeal the day I launched. But, in the end, I believe that it is the fact that this was a known project that people had been following and were already emotionally invested in that really helped. So far I know everyone who has contributed. What will make me even more excited about this process is if I begin to get to get donations from those who I don’t know, people who have just bumped into LiveThrough This on RocketHub and believe the project is worthy of support. This is a meaninful and important project. Thank you Tony for bringing it to RocketHub. Support Tony, here. And check out more of his incredible work (where these pictures comes from), here. -Vlad

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  • May 23, 2011

Making the Urban Musical

Charles Bernard Murray 4th  (a.k.a. CB) is leading the crowdfunding campaign to bring a new urban musical, “Children of God,” to the Midtown International Theatre Festival. CB is a talented guy who has overcome much in his life and is now a successful performer, and so much more. I had the pleasure of speaking with CB about his life and his current journey: What was the inspiration behind the theatre project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? I was the classic bad kid. No father, doing drugs and completely out of control. There were people who thought I was a hopeless cause. One of the teachers in my neighborhood took an interest in me and his consistent mentorship helped me find my way. I found my way onto the Broadway stage and a few years later began running programs for teens and at risk youth. I love theater but I also have a story to tell. This is a musical of hope for any child who feels helpless and lost but it is also an inspiration for adults to become more involved in the lives of children everywhere. That’s quite a journey to where you are now. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of inspirational entertainment - how are your supporters responding? I must confess I’m amazed at the people who are responding. Our greatest supporters have been people I barely know. Strangers who read our synopsis and hear our music have been sending notes of encouragement, promising to donate and asking what other ways they can come aboard to help. Along with raising capital I’ve found RocketHub to also be an awesome tool for raising awareness. We have a whole new buzz thanks to internet crowdfunding. You’ve built a lot of momentum quickly. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Don’t be shy! Persistence is absolutely necessary. You must ask over and over and over again. Remind your friends and family. Enlist as many people as possible to also ask their family and friends. Be diligent in posting on line, sending emails and talking up your project. You are your own best promoter. Thank you CB for these smart words. Book your tickets for this show, here. -Vlad

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  • May 20, 2011

Texas Treat: Delicious Delights from Audrey Schwartz

I have a soft spot for tasty crowdfunding projects. And Audrey Schwartz has delivered one of the most enticing projects I’ve ever seen. Audrey bakes beautiful treats and is engaging her friends and fans to support her growing bakery in Texas. Here’s what she has to say about her culinary adventure: What was the inspiration behind the food-making project you are currently running on RocketHub? The inspiration behind my project on RocketHub is both literal and figurative. My grandmother, Nola Jacobs, is the name behind the business and my product. Her gift to me was to always remember to stay strong in the face of adversity and to build everything you do with a foundation of love. And of course spending time in the kitchen with her was pretty amazing too. She was one of those culinary geniuses that never had a recipe for anything written down; it was all in her head! When I would ask her for measurements her standard answer would be “Oh just a handful of (insert ingredient), a couple of pinches of this or that….even for recipes calling for exact measurements and everything she cooked or baked came out perfect. While attending culinary school it was always in the back of my head that one day I would open a business of my own but how that was going to happen was an unknown. A lot of time was spent thinking about product, talking to my friends and family about my dream, writing all of my ideas down and basically laying the foundation for what has become a reality. One of those old school composition books became my “If you can dream it, you can LIVE it” journal for “Sweet Nola J’s” and served as the  springboard to become part of the culinary landscape in Dallas, Texas. It took being fired from my last job February of this year (non-culinary related by the way) for me to realize that the time was now to move forward with my dream to open my business. It really was a matter of sink or swim, so I took a leap of faith to follow my PASSION and do what I feel is my true calling; to make people happy through my baking. And I couldn’t be happier! Great inspiration - we can see Nola’s passion in your work and campaign. Why is it important to you? It is important to me on many levels but the one that jumps out in front is female empowerment. It is for women to always remember to believe in themselves no matter what anyone else tells them, to stay strong, and to overcome whatever hurdles lay in front of them. It is about creating our own reality, living our dreams, waving our own banner, and shouting out to the world “I AM”. On a more personal note, I am proving to myself that my mantra is more than just talking about my goals, its about LIVING them! Eventually through this journey it will make me able to foster young chefs in my own kitchen and teach them our craft. Passing on the joy of baking and proper technique through a nurturing environment is very important to me. Rock on! How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of desserts and business - how are your supporters responding? My experience on RocketHub has been amazing so far! As for being called a pioneer that feels a little like being called a genius (it makes me a little nervous) but someone has to be the first, right? Given this is a fairly new way to grow a business RocketHub it is an opportunity like no other. I will liken it to when “Google” and “Facebook” arrived on the scene; those who got in on the ground floor were poineers and those entities are huge now. Hopefully when this project is a huge success (fingers crossed) and RocketHub has become another “Google” some young chef will look at “Sweet Nola J’s” and say to themselves that they can be just as successful. My supporters have been their usual, fantastic selves encouraging me to “Go for it” and cheering me every step of the way. In every ones life we are blessed with a group of people who just love us no matter what and I’m no different. I sometimes have to pinch myself because I’m living the dream and have a wonderful group of people to network with, bounce ideas off and to love unconditionally. Attached are a few comments from some of my most loyal fans: Elizabeth P: Every time I see an ad for your company mama, I want cake!!!! Craig B: Just watched the video! Awesome job Audrey! You looked gorgeous, and the cookies and cupcakes looked scrumptious. Way to go! XOXO Maggie W: Congrats Audrey!!! Much success to you… which won’t be needed once your happy customers get your delicious goodies in their pie-holes… it will be repeat business for sure! Gary M: OMG!!!!!!!!! Let me know when you will be shipping across the country! Maria L: Good luck girl! I had no idea you were so talented; you are my new idol. Jay Z: The website looks great!!! Is anyone else hungry for cookies or cupcake? You’ve built a lot of momentum quickly. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? A: It is important to read everything on the RocketHub site to fully understand how it works. Read everything and be prepared beforehand; it will really work in your favor if you do! Fortunately for me, my business advisor has been my sounding board and mentor and she turned me on to RocketHub. She knew someone who had HUGE success through crowdfunding and suggested your site. RockeHub was on the radar as one of the major components of ‘Sweet Nola J’s” to do list and we are impressed by how well the sire works. Also, I would suggest to anyone looking to crowdfund a similar project to find someone who is impartial to lend as a business advisor. Someone who has had successes in their business career an act as a mentor is an invaluable tool. If that isn’t an option, get yourself organized and have a plan in place. Set daily goals as well as weekly goals to help keep yourself on track. Research local businesses that are doing what you want to do and you know it you will well on your way. And most importantly………BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Wow! Your energy is contagious and your treats look awesome. Grab a bite of this project, here. -Vlad

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  • May 19, 2011

Crowdfunding Memories in Minnesota - Journals for All

P.J. Fanberg is on a mission to provide 111 journals for his squad of choirboys. As the Executive Director of the Land of Lakes Choirboys, he is dedicated to utilizing crowdfunding as a way to preserve the memories of those who experience the journey of musical travel. I spoke with P.J. about his mission: What was the inspiration behind the pro-social journalism project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? The inspiration behind our project was actually an idea that came from my experiences as a Choirboy. I came from a low-income family, where money for extra things like journals for writing was a low priority. Subsequently, I managed to have just cheap notebooks to take on our concert tours, which generally lasted around 3-4 weeks. After a few days of traveling, the covers usually were torn-off and my journal was mostly in ruins by the end of the tour. Over the years, most of those writings are gone and lost to time. I wanted to make sure the boys that are going on these tours today have a keepsake of their experiences that will last them a life time. These boys range from ages 7-15 and travel extensively throughout the United States and the World. The experiences they gain, at such a young age, are invaluable to their growth as productive, responsible members of society. With many lower income boys in our program, this felt like an ideal project to try on  Great inspiration! How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of public support in Minnesota - how are your supporters responding? My supporters are in love with the format and ease of Minnesota is usually atop every single list when it comes to philanthropic giving, so it comes as no surprise that our supports have connected with this project so easily. To be able to find a new and exciting way to give in this state is a great promotional tool to use in our area. Additionally, finding funding for specific projects, like our journals, has been much easier than raising funds for general operating costs. People love knowing exactly what their donations are funding, especially when it’s a great project. I plan to promote other projects on in the near future. Thank you for being a RocketHub supporter. You’ve built a lot of momentum quickly. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Sell your idea with enthusiasm and fun. If you aren’t excited about your idea, your potential fuelers will not be either. That goes for financial contributions as well. If they look and see that you don’t even believe in your project enough to support it yourself, then they are going to be hard-pressed to put their hard-earned resources into it. Facebook was a great asset for us to use to promote this idea. Within minutes of posting in on our site, we had three fuelers. I was barely done with the registration of the product before it was making us money! For those looking to launch their own project, think of the networks of people you already have in place that can help your project succeed. For us, it was the friends and families of the Choirboys. My next step is to gain the support of our alumnus who went through our program in the past. Have a plan before you launch to help build momentum fast. Nothing worse than days going by without your project taking-flight. At this point, you have pretty much missed your launch window and will have a much more difficult time fueling your project. Very good advice - useful for all types of project. Thank you P.J. for your innovative approach and heartwarming project. Support this crew, here. -Vlad

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  • May 17, 2011