Small stakes in big ideas

Natalia and Sam, two of Puffles’ followers who came along to and helped out at PufflesCamp in Brighton, pointed me in the direction of Sponsume.

Sam is a Brighton-based music producer, hence his project, New Soul is likely to be of interest to those in and around Brighton – but also to those who may have stumbled across him either at Pufflescamp or those who quite like the idea of putting a little bit of money behind a small project.

Both New Soul and the concept of Sponsume interest me. The former because it is taking a grass-roots approach to music production that is the complete opposite of mainstream TV talent shows where a handful of celebrities and big money get to decide who makes it and who does not. This is not to say that the music industry had some glorious time in the past where everything was about grass roots. The 1996 film That Thing You Do! (with accompanying headline track of the same namestarring Tom Hanks I recall gave an interesting insight into how record companies in the late 1950s & 1960s would take a stable of artists across the USA in order to promote them – with tragic consequences for the late great Buddy Holly, JP Richardson/The Big Bopper & Ricardo Valenzuela/Ritchie Valens. In terms of getting lots of different artists on the same label performing on the same show, Stock Aitken and Waterman did same thing in the late 1980s as their predecessors in the 50s & 60s. (I grew up with stuff like this on the telly).

I’m nowhere near a position where I could set up a project and make a call out for funding. That said, I’m sure there are projects across towns and cities everywhere that are in that position. The model for me is one step beyond the JustGiving model – which is more about the money and less about the output. This is not to say that it’s a bad thing, only to say that its aim is around supporting generic good causes of those asking for donations/sponsorship rather than being aimed at a specific project (and allowing people to build on a template accordingly.)

In terms of individual projects, the limitation of Sponsume’s model is that it is primarily (but understandably) focussed on the money too. Yet it may not be the money that a project needs – it may be the time, skills or other non-monetary resources that people may have. This could be asking someone to help set up a website and train others to use and maintain it, to sending a call out for a specific piece of kit (whether a laptop or a kettle) or even access to somewhere that may not be available to the general public – such as a room at a university to host an event. A number of the Occupy movements already do this whether it’s writing a list on a board that passers by can see, or as in Brighton’s case putting it up on a micro-site.

It may be the case that there is already a website that allows people to both donate in cash and in kind – and allow for much more efficient organisation of both. If so, please link in the comments section.

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3 Responses to Small stakes in big ideas

  1. Sam says:

    you mean something like kickstarter or a Cambridge branch of http://awesomefoundation.org/ (London: http://awesomefoundation.org/blog/category/chapters/london/ ) ?

  2. Just For the Love of It is not strictly about getting projects off the ground, but about sharing skills and tools. If a tool for getting skills needed to make projects happen doesn’t exist, then I’d be interested in making it.

  3. Of course I forgot to put in the link to Just for the Love of It. Here it is. http://justfortheloveofit.org/

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