Filed under: Activism, Climate Change, Crowdfunding | Tags: Activism, Climate Change, film
So this blog is a year old. The most-read post to date is why the Plane Stupid ad works, which quickly clocked up about 4,000 views – mainly because of the controversy the ad generated (complaints to the ASA, death threats to the agency, an irate Glenn Beck, etc). It picked up over a million views on YouTube.
I caught up Plane Stupid last week. It’s been a good year: they won the fight against airport expansion in Heathrow and Stanstead, and now have a profile in the USA. At home, the battle has shifted to the regions. As Leo Murray puts it:
The big beast is dead. While Heathrow and Stansted show we can win, we haven’t won yet. The fight now is going to be messier and more regional.
Plane Stupid are featured in Just Do It, a film about the UK climate activists, including Climate Rush and Climate Camp. I spent a couple of enjoyable hours last week with the production team, talking about messaging and fundraising. They’re going down the crowd-funding route, and have a target of 1 million views in 2011, which they’ll aim to get using a community-based distribution model:
The film will be released under a Creative Commons, non-commercial license. We will distribute the film via free internet downloads, free-ish DVDs, film festivals and guerrilla screenings … This is filmmaking as politics, as well as a film about politics.
It’s good to watch some activism in action. A while ago, somebody dumped on my desk a weighty essay called On The Duty of Civil Disobedience by American thinker Henry David Thoreau – a piece of writing that apparently inspired Tolstoy, Gandhi and Martin Luther King. It’s nice to see the spirit of non-compliance is alive and well.
Here’s another example. My sister Mary sent me this little piece of activism – a bit too long (these things always are) but made me laugh:
Buzzword soup: open innovation, crowdcasting, co-creation, collective intelligence, croudsourcing, mass collaboration. Oh, and crowdfunding…
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned crowdfunding in a post on this blog – and had a handful of people asking for more information. There’s understandably a lot of interest in this area – but is it really a solution to every funding dilemma?
It’s maybe too early to say if these sites are working – but crowdfunding seems to be doing ok for the music industry. Sites like Slice The Pie, Sell A Band and Artist Share are turning fans into investors, asking them to fund artists recording new material.
It’s working for film too: A Swarm Of Angels connects investors to film projects. Journalists can get funding to work on a story from Spot Us. And of course there’s the world’s first crowdfunded football club, Ebbsfleet United.
Still, when it comes to raising money for not-for-profit ventures, it’s easy to imagine there’ll be more and more social enterprises fishing in the same pool of well-meaning funders. How to make sure the funds keep flowing?
It’s similar to the question that people asked James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds: how do you make sure that “wisdom” doesn’t turn into “groupthink”? His answer was very specific. He recommends:
- Keep your ties loose – don’t try and lock people in too much.
- Keep yourself exposed to as many diverse sources of information as possible.
- Make groups that range across hierarchies.
Maybe there’s an analogous “wisdom of crowdfunding” – the art of making sure that the pool of funders is always diverse and fluid. It feels like crowdfunding has yet to really fly – maybe someone needs to crack this formula first.
Image from Jane Mingay.