Team:UFAM-UEA Brazil/HumanPractices/Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding: a quick guideline

In 2015, economic crisis cutted education and science fundings in Brazil postponing our participation in iGEM. In 2016, this barrier could not stay in our way. Soon many ideas emerged to solve this problem. Our idea was to do an online campaign for fundraising. Other great thing was to engage regular people (not only official govern agencies) to help financially our project. Plus we could disseminate our job, spreading our message about the problem of Mercury in Amazon and how we could solve this case throughout Synthetic Biology. You can check your experience below!

How we got the idea?

Recession is the economic scenario for Latin America. Due to that, there are many examples in Brazil of scientists using crowdfunding strategy to make their projects happen. We drew inspiration from neuroscientist Suzana Herculano and quantum physicist Gabriel Guerrer to build our own crowdfunding! The core of our campaign was credibility, after all, we believe in our project. So, the big challenge was to convince people that our idea was worth it.

How we developed the idea?

First, we chose the website that would be the platform. With a quick research, you will find several websites with diverse tools and advantages. After that, create an scheme of the project, team and matter presentation. Show main informations about the research and it’s importance through well written texts. We also came out with a video presentation. Video is an efficient strategy to reach a huge amount of people simultaneously. By being a dynamic resource, it demands a certain skill. Ask for colleagues with ability in video programs and camera, light, action!!

Tips for video production

It is not necessary sophisticated equipments to production. An animation, for example, will require computer graphics features and technical abilities. But a “draw my life” kind of video, chosen by us, is a simple and carefree option to spread our message, and demands few materials. Having it in mind, a good quality camera, even not a professional one, improvised illumination and a tripod will impact positively at the end. It is important to have a good performance computer and, especially, a nice editing software. Editing makes total difference and will give a look less amateur possible.

Keep attention to:

Framework: all the elements in image must be: visible, satisfying preferences of first and second plan, harmoniously placed and be in the same format in every take (for example, shoot every take in widescreen).

Colors: The tone and shadowing affect the feelings and perception of the viewer about the scene. Avoid flashy colours as red and blue. Try to favour warm and neutral colors, as pastel shades.

Focus: It is crucial to set which elements will be placed in main plan, in other words, which elements will caught the viewer’s attention primarily.

Subtitles and narration: the key aspect to define the idiom of subtitles is the target audience of the crowdfunding platform. In our case, the narration was in Portuguese while the subtitles were in English, since we chose a Brazilian platform. Try to match the colors of your subtitles to the colors of the video.

Editing softwares

We recommend Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro. However, they are paid. Windows Movie Maker and iMovie are free alternative, although it’s features are very limited.

How we disseminated our project?

The range of audience is directly proportional to the efficiency in promotion, therefore it is, without doubt, the trickiest step to take. Be careful! At first we verified if most people at our own social circles were aware of our campaign. These people will always be your first source for help, since they already feel some kind of empathy towards you or your project. Then, we contacted every media outlet we thought of, as radio stations, television broadcasters, websites and newspapers. If your crowdfunding platform is an international one, make sure to contact media from other countries.

We got some aid from people that work with communication that helped us not only to find ways to contact media, but how to establish this contact, an approach called “press release”, based on a text of journalistic nature containing all informations about the matter. It must be a material that catches the attention of the editor since its title.

How we prized those who helped us?

As extra motivation to contribute to our campaign, we also provided exclusive prizes to donors. The prizes were different for each value donated and might be cheap, practical and connect with the project’s theme. The prizes and corresponding donating value were:

Creative prizes and delivered to donors at the specified time are a helpful way of tightening bonds between the team and people who are moved enough to give their money because they believe in the project. It’s a way to show that the team is grateful for the confidence received and is aware of the responsibility it has to bear. That is essential to keep having society’s support!

What we got with the crowdfunding campaign?

Our first goal was to get enough money to pay the team’s register for iGem. However, we got so much visibility that not only we reached our goal but we also got two times more money than expected! Just at the platform, we got donation from 168 people, not to mention the open doors which came up at us during the promotion. We got sponsorship from some companies that helped us to grow as a team.

Besides that, we also received a huge amount of affection, respect and encouraging messages from different kind of people, even outside scientific sphere! In this video, we leave our eternal gratitude for those who directly or indirectly supported us: