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GeoFair brings crowdfunding to the community

posted Aug 10, 2014, 1:02 AM by Siamak Ebarhimi

Imagine a future where every little thing that makes a community unique - from the local winery to the lively cultural center - is crowdfunded.

It's a future that the Ohio Valley Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council is betting on.

This October, Ohio Valley, along with several other Project Sponsors, will launch the GeoFair, an online crowdfunding initiative that highlights and funds promising local projects that focus on everything from renewable energy to community streetscaping, to cultural preservation.CrowdFunding advertizing

"It's a way to catapult ideas into reality," says John Kellis, Executive Director of the Ohio Valley RC&D. "Traditional fundraising methods, like applying for grants, can be painfully slow and inefficient. We believe crowdfunding can and will radically revitalize our communities in the future."

The GeoFair exhibition will boost crowdfunding capabilities similar to site like Kickstarter and Indiegogo - but with a twist.CrowdFunding marketing

"We're not just going to give people crowdfunding technology and let them fend for themselves," says Kellis. "That just doesn't work. It's why 60% of crowdfunding projects fall short of their funding goal."

Instead, GeoFair participants will benefit from a support network and a coaching program designed to maximize their success. The Fair will be publicized on all forms of social media and the web and will run for 45-60 days in October and November, 2014. Each project will have their own space and an equal opportunity to make their case to potential funders for support.Kickstarter Marketing

"Crowdfunding projects fail when they don't cultivate a strong support base, both online and off," says Kellis. "But instead of building up a community base from scratch, GeoFair projects immediately tap into a network of supporters invested in their success. It's a network we've spent years cultivating."

“The most exciting element of this project is that it provides a platform for local project sponsors to stimulate support from those already interested in their project, while at the same time having access to a world-wide audience through the web and social media. One local project, The Raccoon Creek Water Trail Association, received almost $3,000 from more than 100 people from around the world including the US, Canada, and even Russia. Funds were to publish a waterproof map of Raccoon Creek for canoers. It is amazing what can be accomplished with a good plan and well-placed enthusiasm. The people are not in Southern Ohio to see Raccoon Creek, but they can choose to make the Raccoon Creek Water Trail a success.”Indiegogo Marketing

The Ohio Valley RC&D will sponsor a limited number of projects for the pilot GeoFair exhibition in October 2014 along with partner RC&Ds in Ohio, Maine, New Hampshire, and Minnesota. There roughly a dozen organizations initially working to establish this GeoFair Project, but we anticipate that growing and we have the opportunity to see our local projects on the ground floor of this initiative. Any project that enhances community well-being will be considered, but particular areas of interest include: locally-grown Agriculture, architectural restoration, Heritage Tourism, renewable energy, Digitizing historical documents and photos, and Trails and recreation.crowdfunding websites

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By David Khorram