I, who am a nitwit when it comes to computerese (computer-ease), decided to crowd fund the publishing costs of my recent book, The Gift of Memoir. My only other book came out in the last century. That was before we knew that the future would run wild with connections zooming across oceans and galaxies.
Was there a fear factor in venturing into the unknown? Indeed there was. However, I didn’t want to be left behind by technology. And, I knew I would be grateful for any financial assistance with the costs. What I didn’t know was what a huge emotional and psychological support the contributions would be.
I had a role model. Dr. Melissa West www.melissawest.com has an online yoga business, and as part of that she offers a free class. That class has a worldwide audience with thousands of followers. What she needed was a more suitable microphone, one that would tuck into the waist band of her yoga pants. It would leave her hands free. It would cost $1000, money she didn’t have.
Melissa wrote a story to accompany her online campaign. Following Indiegogo instructions, her husband shot a one-minute video of Melissa talking her audience through yoga poses that showed what a difference the new microphone would make. We hear her voice, watch her movements, and see that she is a real person with a real need. She urged her followers to give just $2 each. He pressed a button, and the campaign went live. A few weeks later, she had more than enough money for the new microphone.
This is a heart-warming story on several fronts. The people taking the online class got better instruction. Those same people felt good because they were helping Melissa do her job better. And Melissa www.melissawest.com benefitted from being freer to demonstrate and explain poses without having to worry about holding the microphone. Everyone benefitted. Win. Win. Win. Crowd funding is about so much more than the money. It’s about expanding ourselves beyond the boundaries of our bodies and becoming part of something larger, part of a community. It’s a way for us to promote an idea that will benefit others. The word community come from the Latin communitas. This word has two parts, com,“with” or “together” and munus, “gift”. Gift! We have gifts to offer one another. Most of us yearn to be part of such a community where we can give. Giving, nurturing, is a primal urge.
With Melissa’s experience as a beacon, I set up my campaign. Would anyone respond? They did. I can tell you that with every contribution, I felt joy and amazement. NOT so much for the money, which would enable my book to be delivered into the world, but because my request had been heard and acknowledged, and people believed either in the book or in me. The emotional support was phenomenal. Never before had I felt so supported by a crowd, by a community, by magic.
And so, am I glad I leapt into the unknown? You bet. Crowd funding is a kind of modern barn raising. What a thrill to see timbers hoisted into position and watch the various parts be hammered into place. Thank you, Melissa. Your “Namaste Yoga TV” offers health, healing and gentle guidance. And thank you to the village who helped raise my book.