Evita Robinson and Kimberly Bryant are no strangers to crowd-funding. In fact, it’s safe to call them experts.
In 2011, Robinson turned her love for travel and cinematography into a bourgeoning brand by creating the Nomadness Travel Tribe, an online community for travelers around the world. These days, Robinson and her “tribe,” as she refers to her members, can follow her travel adventures on her Nomadness TV web series, which she funded, and continues to do so, through crowdfunding. Kimberly Bryant found the same success when crowd-funding her project BlackGirlsCode, an organization dedicated to introducing coding and technology to young black girls through hands-on programs.
On Saturday, June 22, 2013, Robinson and Bryant led an inspiring panel at the Blogging While Brown Conference, held in New York City, discussing how to utilize crowdfunding tools to get your project off the ground. The female business owners encouraged audience members to be courageous when asking people to assist them with their personal projects, something they believe many black entrepreneurs find a difficult time doing.
Founder Gina McCauley Talks About This Year’s “Blogging While Brown” Conference Below:
“As people of color we need to get over asking people for things,” Evita Robinson told the crowd. “Stop looking at it as asking for money and look at it as an investment.” Bryant stressed that as long as you have a legitimate cause you believe in, the money and supporters should follow. “Movements are created on narratives, so it’s important to make sure your story comes out in the campaign,” said Bryant. “People give to people, not causes.”
Despite the on-going success the ladies have received from crowdfunding, they admit that often times it’s not enough. “As you’re building your campaign, you should do a lot of offline funding as well,” said Bryant. “It’s hard to raise large sums of money on just social media.” Even with an online community of 4,000 members, Robinson isn’t shy about cold calling or cold emailing in order to expand her sponsorship opportunities.
Keynote by Markus Robinson of InteractiveOne Below:
As in any business, it’s important to get support when spearheading a crowd-funding project. Bryant recommends creating a team before jumping into a campaign, someone other than you that can assist with getting the message out. If people believe in your cause enough to donate, then there’ll be people willing to help you spread the word.
So, what happens when you’ve succeeded in raising your total amount needed to start your project? Robinson believes it’s quite simple: “Do exactly what the hell you said you were going to do. That is your only responsibility from that point on.” With three successful crowdfunding projects under her belt, it’s safe to say she knows what she’s talking about.
Watch Closing Keynote Session Highlights with Necole Bitchie, Karen Civil and Claire Siobhan Sulmers Below: