Q: What do you do?
We provide tools for social change initiatives, whether non-profit, for profit or unincorporated, to raise the funds they need to make a difference. People generally call what we do “crowdfunding”.
Q: How does your tipping point model work?
We studied existing crowdfunding models and created a new model specifically for the needs of social initiatives. Each campaign identifies two fundraising goals: a tipping-point goal as well as their ultimate goal. The tipping point is the threshold amount that is needed to start doing good. In other words, if they don’t raise this much the project cannot happen. Fundraising up to the tipping-point is therefore done in an all-or-nothing fashion: friends and strangers will pledge support, but will not be charged if the campaign fails to reach its tipping point. So you MUST reach the tipping point or no funds will change hands.
In addition to the tipping point you can express your dream goal – so there’s space to be ambitious and a reason for people to continue to contribute after you’ve hit your initial goal.
We leave it up to each venture to set their tipping anywhere from 25 to 100% of their total goal. Read more about our model and why it works for social entrepreneurs in this post on our blog.
Q: What’s the difference between StartSomeGood and other crowdfunding sites, like Kickstarter or indiegogo?
StartSomeGood is one of the only sites exclusively for social change initiatives which does not restrict itself to a single country or single type of organization (ie. we’re not just for charities). We’re also set apart by our unique Tipping Point model, our commitment to collaborative support and our mission-driven nature. Read more about the StartSomeGood difference.
Q: What’s the difference between a venture and a campaign?
Campaigns are the fundraising endeavors run by Ventures. Venture pages are a space for you to share your big-picture vision for change – why you are doing what you are doing. Campaign pages are where the actual fundraising happens and are focused on a specific project. They have a specific fundraising goal and end date.
Q: Are you a non-profit?
No, we are a socially-conscious for-profit.
Q. How do you support yourself?
StartSomeGood levies a fee of 5% of the total funds received by a campaign. Just like the initiatives using our site we only receive our share if a campaign reaches its tipping point. If a campaign fails to reach its tipping point, then StartSomeGood does not receive any fees. There is no up-front or setup cost.
Q: How do I manage email updates?
You can choose whether to receive updates about a campaign you’re running, or one you’ve supported. Log in at StartSomeGood.com and then click on the dropdown next to your name. Click on “edit info” and then “edit notifications.”
Q: How do I delete my account?
We’re sorry to see you go! Simply email email@example.com with “delete account” in the subject line, and we’ll take care of it right away.
Q: I’m a journalist - can I interview you?
We’d love to share our story with you. Visit our media page for press releases and media contacts.
Q: What types of organizations are accepted? Do I need to be a charity?
It doesn’t matter if you are a charity or not, what we care about is if you’re creating a better future for your community. You can be a non-profit, for-profit, unincorporated group or any other status. We support all types of groups, including unincorporated and pre-incorporated ones.
Q: I’m from country X, can I use StartSomeGood?
We’re proud of being truly international, and we support ventures from most countries in the world. The only requirement is that in order to raise funds you must be in a country in which you can open a PayPal account which can both send and receive funds (you can check out that list of supported countries here ). To support a campaign, in most cases, as long as you are in a country that can open a regular PayPal account that can send funds, you’ll be able to make a pledge.
Unfortunately, due to current restrictions by the Reserve Bank of India, we’re sorry to say we cannot currently support ventures based solely in India.
Read more about setting up Paypal for US and non-US ventures.
If you have a question about support in your specific country, please drop us a line firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help!
Q: What criteria do you use to judge my venture and campaign?
When reviewing ventures we look to see if you’re a social venture creating a better future for your community. You can be a non-profit, for-profit, unincorporated group or any other status.
Check through our criteria to learn more.
Q: I have an artistic project; does it count as social good?
Perhaps! We believe that artistic expression and access to the arts is absolutely a social good. So if your project is participatory in nature, for example if you’re teaching arts skills or giving a marginalized group the chance to express themselves through the arts, or if you’re creating a free arts festival or touring arts performances to places who don’t usually have access to it, then we’d love to support you. Equally if you are using the arts as an advocacy or philanthropic tool, for example by creating a documentary about an issue or raising funds to produce an album for charity, that’s awesome and completely welcome on StartSomeGood. If however your focus is just on your own artistic practice and you want to raise funds to put your (non-social issue focused) play on or release your book, then you are probably better served by other crowdfunding platforms.
Q: What support do you provide?
Our approach is about partnership, not about client/provider. So we provide whatever support you need to help you get up and running! . We’ve learned a huge amount in helping hundreds of individuals and groups run campaigns on our platform, and we want to share that knowledge with you. Our venture support team provide guidance on how to make sure your campaign effectively connects with potential supporters. We can provide you with the information you need to make good decisions on everything from how long your campaign should be to what you should offer as rewards.
Check out our How It Works section for more on how to create a campaign. You can also read up on killer strategies at our Resources page.
Q: What are your fees?
There is no cost to sign-up or to create a campaign. We only charge fees if your campaign successfully reaches its tipping point or beyond. No matter how much you raise, our fees are 5% of the total. Our payment processors, WePay and PayPal, also receive about 3% of the total raised.
For example, if your campaign passed its tipping point goal and raised $5000, StartSomeGood would receive $250, and the payment processor would receive about $150.
Q: How do I receive the funds I raise?
We provide two payment processors, PayPal and WePay. PayPal is available to most countries in the world, while WePay is only available for individuals and organizations with a US Bank account and US Social Security or EIN number.
For more information on how WePay and PayPal work, please check out the respective guides we've put together in our Resources section.
Your supporters will only be charged at the close of your campaign and only if it is successful. You will usually receive the funds in your WePay or PayPal account within 1-3 business days.
Q: What are the steps and timeline for running a campaign?
Step one is clicking on “Raise Funds” to submit information about your venture -- this provides a high-level look at the work that you do. Once you’ve done that, you can go ahead and start working on your campaign as well. The campaign is a specific project for which you’re raising funds. You can save a draft at any time, but in order to submit it, you’ll need to have all of the information filled out, have a video, a few rewards and have your payment information connected. Once you submit your campaign, our team will be in touch with any feedback to help you make it truly outstanding and then you’ll be ready to go. Campaigns can run from 7-60 days. If you have a specific deadline for launching your campaign, please drop us a line email@example.com to let us know and we’ll do everything we can to help!
Read our guide to creating a campaign on our How It Works page.
Q: What are tax requirements for my campaign?
StartSomeGood cannot provide any legal or tax advice, but we strongly recommend that you get counsel. There are lots of variables, including how you are incorporated (LLC, non-profit, etc.), where you are located, and how you reward your supporters. We recommend that you talk to a tax professional about your specific campaign and insist that you comply with all relevant local laws. For individuals this usually means reporting funds raised on StartSomeGood as income.
Q: What makes a good campaign video?
A campaign video is the single best way for you to make a human connection with your supporters, and for supporters, there’s nothing more motivating than that. On Kickstarter, projects with videos have almost double the success rates of those without. At indiegogo, campaigns with videos raise more than double the funds. At StartSomeGood, we don’t have those stats, because we don’t offer you the option of running a less successful campaign than your idea deserves. But if the personal connection is so important over on those creative/commercial crowdfunding platforms, how much more so must it be on a site about changing lives?
You can read about how to make a great video over on our How It Works page.
Q: Are there any rewards I can’t provide? What about equity in my venture?
You are not allowed to offer any type of equity in your venture in exchange for support, or any expectation or future financial return (so no revenue splits). Other no-nos: loans, lotteries, raffles, sweepstakes, and coupons/discounts on future goods. Like a chaperone at a middle school dance, we don’t make the rules, we just enforce them.
Q: Are the rewards gifts? Why am I spending money I'm raising on buying gifts to send back to my donors?
Rewards can serve as a tangible reminder to your supporters of their involvement in your cause and help cement the connection between you. As for spending money, rewards can be no-cost, low-cost or valuable goods or services provided pro-bono by sponsors or partner organisations. Rewards can also help your supporters further promote or connect with your cause, for example t-shirts, stickers, invitations to events and educational or travel opportunities.
Think of rewards as a way to say “thank you” to your supporters.
Read more about setting rewards on our How It Works page and check out our blog post on “Why Have Rewards”.
Q: How do I represent shipping costs in my rewards?
We pride ourselves on being a truly international platform, so don’t underestimate how far your campaign might reach, and prepare to be upfront about your capacity to ship rewards.
Unless otherwise stated, all shipping costs must be borne by you, the venture, so take care to assess what postal service you'll be using and which countries you can ship to cost-effectively. Then make a clear statement explaining to supporters which countries you can ship to for free, and which you can’t. For example, you might write: "Add $10 for shipping outside of the United States/Australia" in your reward description.
Q: Where will my initial supporters come from?
It’s important to realise that you need to reach out to your own networks first. We’re not saying your friends and family are the only people who’ll donate to your campaign, but those who do are more likely to come from a similar community or share similar values with you. Engaging your family, friends and peers is crucial to getting off to a good start, and momentum is very important in crowdfunding.
Think about it this way: people may love your idea, but if they don’t know you personally and you haven’t got a strong pre-existing track-record for this kind of work how do they know you’re someone they can invest their money in? The best way to reassure them is to already have supporters on-board. This creates a social proof which encourages more people to jump in and support your project.
is You can read more about broadening your support base on our How It Works page.
Q: What is the Start Strong requirement?
Getting off to a strong start is one of the key criteria for a successful crowdfunding campaign - in fact, it’s so important that we insist on it. Once a campaign is approved, it is open for pledges to start coming in. But it will only appear on our homepage and our list of live campaigns once it has received three pledges - of any size. Your campaign will need to receive those three pledges within 7 days of launching in order to remain active. Read more about the Start Strong requirement and how it helps you succeed.
Q: Can changes be made to a campaign once it's live? What kind of changes?
We strongly encourage you to finalize your campaign with all stakeholders before setting it live, so that you can present a consistent, confidence-inspiring face to your potential supporters. We provide an Updates tab for you to keep supporters posted on your progress and any exciting new developments in your organization. But we recognize that occasionally changes must be made to the main campaign page. With that in mind, you can always adjust the campaign description, add in new photos and switch your video. The things that can’t be changed are your funding goals, the title of your campaign and the date on which your campaign ends. Individual rewards can be edited up until the point that someone has selected one, at which point they are locked in.
Q: What information do I receive about my supporters?
You’ll receive the following information on your supporters:
Q: Can I raise more than my total goal?
Absolutely -- there’s no limit to how much you can raise, and your funding won’t be capped if you surpass your goal.
Q: Can I support my own campaign?
Absolutely not! Not only does doing so risk tearing a hole in the time-space continuum, any pledges where the name on the supporter's PayPal account and the name on the venture's PayPal account are the same might cause PayPal to cancel your venture's account, making it impossible to receive or withdraw funds. Not cool. PayPal really will check names and credit card numbers to make sure that this doesn’t happen, so don’t be tempted. Even more worrying - PayPal might not detect these dodgy payments until after your campaign has reached its deadline, at which point it may suspend your account, leaving you high and dry with no access to your hard-won pledges. The moral of the story: please don't try to pledge support to your own campaign.
Q: What are the featured campaigns and how can I be one?
Featured campaigns are selected by the StartSomeGood team to reflect the amazing diversity of types of projects, organizations, cause areas and locations of our campaigns. There’s no guarantee of being selected, but in general, the more traction your campaign has, the more likely it is to be featured.
The homepage also has an option for “newest campaigns” where your campaign will appear when it first goes live, so everyone has at least a moment on the homepage (only once you’ve met the Start Strong requirement though!).
More good news: all campaigns have the chance to appear on our homepage because we also feature the hottest campaigns and those closest to tipping.If your campaign really gets going it will almost certainly show up in these places!
Q: Can I run more than one campaign with you?
Absolutely, we welcome it! The venture LearnToLive is a great example, raising funds for their first project and then again for their 2012 endeavours. Creating the Future have run three successful campaigns so far, all to raise funds to provide scholarships to their training programs.
However please note that you may only run one campaign at a given time.
Q: My initial campaign wasn’t successful. May I run another one?
Of course -- we welcome you to do so, but encourage you to reflect on what worked and what didn’t in your previous campaign so that you’re better aligned for success in your second one. Have you read our article on the Top Ten Crowdfunding Mistakes? Check it out, have another run through our page and take advantage of the sage advice of our Venture Support team firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Do I have to be based in the United States to support a campaign?
Absolutely not! For campaigns using PayPal as their payment processor, as long as you can create a verified PayPal account, you can support a campaign. For a list of countries supported by PayPal, please visit Paypal World wide.
For campaigns using WePay to process transactions, all you'll need is a valid major credit card or bank account, regardless of your country.
Q: How do I know if a project I supported was successful?
You’ll receive an email from our team at the close of any campaign you’ve supported with an update. Usually, we’ll have good news and inform you that your payment is about to be processed. But if the campaign doesn’t reach its tipping point, we’ll let you know, and you won’t be charged.
Q: Can I donate anonymously?
Absolutely! You’ll need to log-in to pledge, but that doesn’t mean we disclose your name on the campaign page without your permission. Supporters can choose from three options when pledging:
Q: When will I be charged for my donation?
Only at the close of a successful campaign. If a campaign reaches its tipping point, then within one business day we will run all of the transactions and your card will then be charged. If a campaign doesn’t reach its tipping point goal, you’ll never be charged.
Q: Is my financial support tax deductible?
Unless otherwise stated, your support is not tax deductible. However you will get some awesome rewards, and the even more awesome feeling of helping someone start good!