Tis the season to build networks – inside the invited circle

Inside the Invited Circle.

It’s the Christmas season, and that means parties! Everyone loves a good party, but some more than most: we all know a friend who loves to make introductions. A name just came into your head just now – yes?

I have to admit – I’m one of those people. I love being able to help bring a great combination together, if it’s romantic, professional or even just conversational. And of course I love it when it happens to me. Even more, I love the people who can do it with real style, so that I don’t feel the pressure if it doesn’t work out. I’m sure we’ve all felt the dread on hearing the phrase ‘you must meet so-and-so, you’ll love them’ or even worse ‘you’re going to get on so well with what’s-his-face, you’re so similar’ – because if when we meet so-and-so or what’s-his-face and they’re a tool, you start to wonder whether they think you’re like the tool.

invited into a circle you don't want

But some people really have the knack, and to them I am eternally grateful. They flourish both in the party season and throughout the year on Facebook.

Putting the ‘social’ in social media.

They’re the people who are always tagging you in someone’s post about a great rental opportunity – just when you were panicking about spending another month with your mad flatmate. They’re the people who create a messaging group to introduce you to a potential colleague – just like they said they would. And you’ll know them best of all as the people who are always enthusiastically shouting about your new start-up, side-line or crowdfund project – just when you thought no one was listening.

There must be a place where these wonderful people can really develop their inner promoter. They have the gift of creating connections in a world where everything is a potential marketplace and where networking events are king.

LiveTree gives those people the chance to let fly their secret marketing professional. And as part of the unique Invited Circle, they get rewarded. Because as anyone will tell you, word of mouth is the most powerful way to advertise.

Any project, if it’s a piece of art or a new business, needs more than just a lump of cash to get started – though goodness knows that helps. Businesses need suppliers, short films need a crew and every person who is going out into the world and trying to make their ideas take flight, needs a team to support them and keep them moving.

When people put up money to contribute to your crowdfunding project, they get Facebook shout-outs, posters, a signed t-shirt and all sorts of swag. Even private companies make money from it: your data is being bought and sold whenever a link is shared or a post is liked. But what about those champions who might not have the ready cash, but who tirelessly campaign to get your project seen? What about those who put you in touch with great people who can help you along? Well I guess you owe them a pint.

supportive circle for entrepreneurs
It’s warm in the invited circle

Get into the invited circle

LiveTree creates a network, not only of creative people and suppliers, but of great influencers and communicators, and rewards them for their efforts. Not just the supporters, and certainly not those mega-rich businesses looking to get their hands on your data. The invited circle allows those matchmaker friends who are always on the look-out for the next great team to get paid for their good work.

They might be the sort of people who are always trying things out and telling people about it. They might already have a blog and a following. Or maybe they’re just dedicated to the fine art of a good introduction.

That person you thought of at the beginning of this blog? Share this article with them. They could be making more from their talents than just being owed a pint by everyone on Facebook.

 

Influence Your Future

 

The Crowdfunding Revolution is Dead: LiveTree vs. Crowdfunder

Growing plant step with coin money

The crowdfunding revolution was exciting, wasn’t it? Essentially, it began the slow path towards democratising and equalising venture capitalism.

But the crowdfunding revolution is dead. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you. Revolutions are just the means to an end. They’re all bloodshed and upheaval, uncertainty and ‘what ifs?’; they’re the untidy, chaotic mess out of which something new and better rises.

Revolutions are the rubbish bit. It’s the glittering new solution full of promise and improvement that we have them for.

With that in mind, it’s time to talk about LiveTree, a UK crowdfunding platform based in London, Hackney. LiveTree is the concomitant of the crowdfunding revolution. Where the other crowdfunding websites offer what could best be described as an ‘own brand’ service, this one goes one, two, three steps further.

You see, LiveTree is more than just crowdfunding. It is an effort in community empowerment.

Branching Out

So you want to raise the funds to carry out a project? Well, with crowdfunder.co.uk, for example, you could click on, set up the page with your description, your target and all the admin, share it on your facebook and your twitter, get your friends to share it, and hope the moolah starts to roll in.

LiveTree wants more from crowdfunding than that. And it wants more for you, for less: crowdfunder takes 5 – 8% of your funds in fees. LiveTree? 1 – 5%.

LiveTree was built not just as a way to get people to make money for their projects like crowdfunder was; it was made with social goals in mind.

Take Branch. It’s one of the unique elements of LiveTree that sets the platform apart from others like crowdfunder. Simply put, Branching is just people sharing your project on their facebook or their twitter or their blog or instagram or wherever else. But what makes it interesting is that LiveTree’s Branch incentivises people to share your project.

Whereas with crowdfunder people share your project because they’re your nan and they want to help, or because you pestered them in the twitter DMs; with LiveTree, if someone shares your project and someone else clicks through the link and pledges, the original sharer will get a commission for having been the Branch that connected that backer to your project.

So no more must you rely on your witty project bio to spur people to spread the word, because now they get money if they do!

Build Your Project; Build a Better World

What’s more, with LiveTree there is so much more scope to entice potential backers than with ordinary crowdfunding platforms like crowdfunder.

LiveTree’s roots are dug into a soil of support and community. Because of the grossly lower fees LiveTree takes in commission from the funds raised for your project, as a project-creator you have more leeway in deciding the amount of your funds to donate to charities that LiveTree has links with, such as Hope for Children, Doctors of the World and Youth Music.

And then, because of LiveTree’s inextricable links with charitable organisations, as a result of your decision to donate a greater percentage of your raised funds to charity than you would have been able to had you been using crowdfunder, your project will reach a wider audience than it would have done with crowdfunder.

Branchers; you know how you earn money from branching? That commission can also be donated to charity.

You know what they say, you’ve got to spend money (on causes that help shape a better world) to make money.

The crowdfunding revolution is dead, because with LiveTree there is no need for it to continue.

And there is so much more. To discover it, just get involved!

LiveTree vs. Kickstarter: get planted-not kicked

Kickstarter is the largest platform for crowdfunding a new business or creative project. Alongside it, the relatively new LiveTree is a just a sapling. But it’s growing.

kickstarter offers failed campaigns a relaunch
Getting kickstarted

When considering your options, there are two big questions you need to answer: Who are you funding for? And who are you funding from?

Who are you funding for?

Sounds pretty obvious: what is the project and how will the money be used? This will become the central framework to any good campaign, establishing why you need the money, and why anyone should hand it over.

To an extent you’re also funding for, well, the crowdfunder. Upwards of 8% of the money you raise through a Kickstarter campaign will go in fees.

But have they persuaded you why you should hand over your money?

Let’s have a look at what you get for that fee. The Kickstarter model relies on the creator’s own social media network to form the initial donor base. Kickstarter is a way to organize and activate your tribe, it does nothing to create or build it.

It’s not all about the money

Kickstarter follows an all-or-nothing set up, so you only get charged a fee if you reach your target, as do your donors. The idea is that it takes away the fear of giving money to a project that will be a dud, because it guarantees social proof, which is what we all experience before watching a new series on Netflix: if I’m going to sacrifice another twenty hours of my life mindlessly absorbed in another program, it needs at least three unprompted shoutouts on Facebook before I do.

If we’ve learned anything from recent global events, it’s that social (media) proof can’t guarantee we a good idea will get approval. In a great blog, Dale Pearson describes how ‘group-think and insularity have been hard-coded into our everyday lives via a vast online echo chamber’.

Social proof is no longer enough, and without it your project might sink. In fact as of August 2016, the success rate of fully funding a project on Kickstarter was just 35.85 percent.

Dale is right that this generation needs to be not just the ‘online generation’ but also the ‘networking generation’. But don’t worry, you wont have to engage your racist uncle in debate to break out of this echo chamber – LiveTree will help build a network of creatives (that you don’t have to see every Christmas).

A creative network to power your project
A creative network that powers your project

Who are you funding from?

Like Kickstarter, LiveTree uses a rewards system, where a successful campaign will send thanks and goodies to its contributors. Unlike its rival, however, LiveTree also offers supporters the opportunity to become ‘branches’, and receive commission every time they promote further fundraising. Branches can support other projects and gain access to a network which extends into creative communities and beyond.

This means anyone in the LiveTree network could end up supporting and promoting your idea.

Crowdfunding has taken off partly as a result of the difficulty in accessing individuals and organisations who traditionally support such projects. What if, as well as developing an online community, you were able to open up opportunities with industry funding bodies and professionals? LiveTree does more than just provide a platform, they work with creators to support development before, during, and after their campaigns.

After the campaign, LiveTree helps creators to move beyond funding, and connects them with respected suppliers. If you don’t reach your target, you have the chance to make your case directly to your donors.

LiveTree grows your project
A community that grows with you

When an organisation is motivated by building communities and developing creative projects, it is in their interests to nurture them from the start. Projects need more than just capital to get started. It will ensure those projects are ready to fly before being launched, and will provide a network of branches to call home.

Create one today. Get growing.

LiveTree vs IndieGoGo: important differences explained

LiveTree vs IndieGoGo: important differences explained

Before launching a campaign, all project creators want to ensure they’re using the best crowdfunding platform to suit their needs.  

Many creators will have already ruled out Kickstarter, which gives you £0 of funds raised if you don’t hit your full target.  LiveTree and IndieGoGo both let you keep all your cash, whether or not you reach your crowdfunding goal.  With that in mind, we outline in this blog how LiveTree compares with traditional crowdfunding platform, IndieGoGo.

Potential reach: how far your campaign’s message will spread

Individual recommendations are the best way to get your crowdfunding campaign funded.  People are much more likely to donate to a project if the call-to-action comes from an online voice we trust – be that an old friend you know personally or a prolific blogger you admire.  

What most sets LiveTree apart from IndieGoGo is that, with LiveTree, there’s a huge incentive for people to promote your project among their own networks.  

In short, users get paid to share your project.

LiveTree harnesses the power of the recommendation through one beautifully simple idea: branching.  When a user shares your project to their own network, they become a ‘brancher’.  Then, when anyone donates via that link – or branch – the brancher will earn £££ at a percentage you set.  

The implications of this are huge.  Branchers get to realise the value of their own online presence, which otherwise will invisibly line the pockets of data-harvesters like Facebook and Google.  Everyone is given that crucial extra bit of incentive to share the projects they believe in.  

This is why LiveTree campaigns spread like wildfire, and why so many campaigns hosted there smash their funding goals.  By comparison, only 28.4% of IndieGoGo projects reach their goal at all.  There’s nothing like branching available on IndieGoGo.  

The human touch: how LiveTree and IndieGoGo support their users

Another important factor to consider when deciding between LiveTree and IndieGoGo is how much help you’re going to get along the way.

Every LiveTree project receives bespoke support from LiveTree’s crowdfunding experts, from start to finish.  They’re experienced at providing insider guidance for all kinds of projects that are seeking funding on all different scales.  

From the moment you sign up, you’ll be assigned a dedicated Support Analyst from LiveTree.  You can call up your Support Analyst for advice at any stage of your preparation and campaign.  Analysts can also connect you to additional grants, communities of influencers, and funding partners like the BFI – all at no extra cost.

A major disadvantage of IndieGoGo is that its sprawling scale and impersonal infrastructure mean that the platform is flooded with projects: some brilliantly put together, others not so much. To make matters worse, IndieGoGo’s ‘featured projects’ are selected by an algorithm; you’re unlikely to ever talk to a human being. As a result, potential backers can’t see the wood from the trees. And, indeed, because of the lack of human intervention, IndieGoGo’s brand has been damaged by ‘scampaign’ scandals in the past.

Doing good: LiveTree’s integration with charitable donations

LiveTree directly facilitates donations to charities and social causes.  Project creators can optionally select a Project Charity and choose a percentage of the funds to be donated.  In return, the selected charity will help market the project through their own powerful reach.

The IndieGoGo brand, with no charitable function built into its platform, simply doesn’t have that same feel-good factor, which is so vital to projects going truly viral.  

Here’s how LiveTree integrates branching and charitable giving into your campaign:

So which is more expensive, LiveTree or IndieGoGo?

With all the above features in mind, you might expect to pay through the nose for the bespoke LiveTree service.  In fact, LiveTree’s fees are less than half of what IndieGoGo charges.

With IndieGoGo, you’ll pay 5% of the total amount raised plus payment processing, which is between 3-5%; this means that up to 10% of your funding can be lost to IndieGoGo’s fees.  By comparison, LiveTree’s fees are set at 4.65%, all in.

With fees far lower than IndieGoGo and other crowdfunding sites, LiveTree gives project creators the freedom to let branchers and charities share in the benefits of their success.  

With LiveTree, hitting your target is just the beginning. The revolutionary and ethical LiveTree platform will help to create passionate, invested communities around your project.  

Got an idea in mind?  Start fundraising like never before with LiveTree.