The Role of Employees in your Crowdfunding Campaign

As we celebrate Labour Day, it seems apt to discuss a topic that often gets sidelined in the crowdfunding sphere: the role of employees in your crowdfunding campaign. Their untapped potential could very well be the secret ingredient for your venture’s success.

Activating Your Internal Crowd

When it comes to crowdfunding, the notion of “activating your crowd” is often bandied about. However, this crowd should unquestionably include your employees. They are not merely individuals who execute tasks; they are your brand’s first ambassadors.

Providing the Necessary Tools

If you’d like your employees to share your campaign effectively, you need to arm them with the right tools. Consider creating a social media toolkit that includes ready-to-use tweets, compelling visuals, and key talking points about the campaign. You might even run a short training session to guide them on how best to share these assets. 

Authentic Endorsements Build Trust

An endorsement from an employee carries a unique form of credibility. Employees can authentically answer questions about your company culture and the work ethic behind it. This adds an invaluable layer of trust to your campaign, often making the difference between meeting your fundraising goals and falling short.

Offering Investment Opportunities

The next step is giving your employees an avenue to invest in the campaign. It’s important to note that this should be an option, not an obligation. The last thing you want is to create an environment where people feel pressured or judged based on their financial choices.

Value Alignment Drives Investment

People often choose their workplaces based on how well the company’s mission aligns with their personal values. If your organization stands for something meaningful, you’ll find that employees are more likely to support it—not just through their labour but also through investment.

Benefits of Employee Investment

1. Enhanced Commitment: Employees who invest are likely to be more committed to the company’s objectives, essentially doubling their stake in your success.

2. Alignment of Goals: When employees are also investors, there is a shared sense of purpose and a unified vision for what the company aims to achieve.

3. Transparency: An employee who is financially invested will value transparency, which can lead to a more open company culture.

4. Boost in Innovation: Investment from employees can also stimulate creativity and innovation as they become more committed to the company’s long-term success.

As we take time this Labour Day to appreciate the hard work and dedication that fuel our enterprises, let’s also consider how to empower our employees as both contributors and beneficiaries of our crowdfunding initiatives.

Until our next communication, remember that your most potent crowd might be the one that’s already with you—right in your office.

Lessons from Social West: A Glimpse into the Complex World of Cybersecurity and Marketing 

In June, we attended the Social West Conference, and what we learned about the intricate relationship between cybersecurity and marketing left a lasting impression. The event delved deep into the history of marketing, data revolution, and privacy concerns. This potent mix has paved the way for our current era, where marketers have an insatiable hunger for data and the technology to collect it. From unified marketing measurement to personalized marketing experiences, data forms the lifeblood of current marketing strategies.

Currently, there are over 11,038 organizations in the marketing technology landscape, all voraciously collecting data. On the one hand, this massive influx of data empowers us to deliver highly tailored marketing experiences. Conversely, it presents a labyrinthine challenge in understanding how the data is collected, managed, and protected. 

The magnitude of data collection is staggering—humanity creates over 2.5 quintillion bytes daily, with Google leading the charge. But, this evolution is not without its dark side: privacy concerns. Many tech companies have faced criticism for data mishandling and lack of transparency. Without clear-cut policies and regulations, consumers are left in the dark about how their data is used, posing a serious data privacy conundrum. 

With vast datasets comes great responsibility—and risks. The possibility of significant data breaches, theft, and illicit sale on the dark web has skyrocketed. Cybercriminals, who capitalize on valuable information like brand identities and trade secrets, increasingly target industries ranging from insurance to IoT.  

The motivations of cybercriminals are primarily financial. They seek out personally identifiable information, credit card details, and other sensitive data, often hacking large numbers of accounts and selling in volume. Businesses, especially those in marketing, must be vigilant and proactive in countering such threats. 

So, what can marketers do to ensure cybersecurity? Firstly, always use a different password for multiple accounts. Hackers have sophisticated tools to crack predictable patterns and sequences. Email marketing, though a staple of digital communication, is a standard method scammers use to trick users into clicking malicious links, often through brand impersonation. 

To counter such threats, it’s crucial to scan for spoofed websites and unpatched software regularly. Also, requesting third-party vendors to provide security policies in line with GDPR can ensure compliance with data protection laws, which is why we use MailChimp. 

Finally, remember that customers gravitate toward brands that prioritize privacy and transparency. In this era of data awareness, consumers are conscious of their privacy rights and will shift loyalty if a brand fails to meet their expectations. Brands that prioritize privacy by design and uphold clear, comprehensible privacy policies are likely to earn the trust and loyalty of their customers. 

The interplay between marketing and cybersecurity is complex and continually evolving. The need for marketers to safeguard data while still delivering personalized experiences is more significant than ever. It’s time to navigate this intricate landscape with caution, transparency, and respect for consumer privacy. 

Top Tips: 

  1. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. 
  1. Regularly scan for spoofed websites and unpatched software. 
  1. Request security policies from third-party vendors. 
  1. Prioritize privacy and transparency in your brand. 
  1. Have a clear, easily understandable privacy policy. 
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Why there is less Venture Capital this year

Two workers discussing

Are you wondering what alternative options you have in 2023 to finance your business? This article will tell you all about the venture capital and angel investors available in the market and how they can help you obtain the funding you need.

Why there is less Venture Capital this year

The 2021 Covid-19 induced recession has impacted venture capital investments in 2022 and 2023. With corporations tightening their purses, their need for such innovative start-ups has reduced, giving rise to the decreased availability of venture capital. This economic downturn has prompted many companies to look towards alternatives such as private equity and angel investors who can provide them with opportunities for reinvestment or exit strategies.

Accelerated due to the pandemic, it is believed that venture capitalists are now being more selective about investing in true innovation rather than stability and long-term scale. Start-ups now wish to find alternative ways of financing, especially if they plan to make it through the seed round or future series A rounds of funding.

The issue becomes one of risk: How can investors be sure that a start-up will succeed despite current market pressures? This leads many investors into a wait-and-see approach for the seed round that relies heavily on articulating a great deal of vision and tangible proof points later to obtain funding.

With the uncertainty of 2023 looming in front of us, we must pay attention as startups search for alternative means of finance while also waiting out this period before they can thrive again with Venture Capitalists more willing to invest. With many stocks suffering from market turbulence, saying which stocks will soar or fail is difficult, so Angel Investors have stepped up and provided late-stage financing during these turbulent times. As well as helping struggling start-ups acquire venture capitalists’ late-stage investments. The emergence of new technology firms increases competition, making it easy for investors seeking an exit strategy in 2020 and beyond due to their short-term projects having achieved success faster than expected, making supplying needed funds less necessary.

These changes demonstrate why there is less available Venture Capital this year than compared to pre covid 19 years, with more smart money focused on alternative finance investments in 2023.

Angel Investors are still there, just investing less.

Venture capitalangel investors and alternative financing are terms often used interchangeably when discussing early-stage funding. While distinct differences distinguish all three, the same general principles apply to any business seeking investment. Angel investing is a type of private equity investment where investors “fund” early businesses with their capital in hopes of reaping significant returns on dividends years later.

As venture capital firms have increasingly become the dominant source of early-stage funding in recent years, angel investors have increasingly become less active. In 2023, many angel investors will likely continue investing less than in prior years as venture capital firms increase their dominance. That being said, those select few angel investors who still actively invest will remain important players within the greater private equity sector and should not be discounted entirely.

What this means is that while angel investing will still exist as an option in 2023, entrepreneurs looking for alternative sources of finance have more opportunities to explore than ever before, including:

  • Debt-financed crowdfunding campaigns
  • Peer-to-peer lending platforms (P2P)
  • Mezzanine finance
  • Impact investing products from socially conscious fundraising firms and impact investors

Each has its own strengths and weaknesses that are important to consider before making an investment decision for your business. Understanding these various forms of financing can prove beneficial when deciding which approach is suitable for your needs by 2023 and beyond, so make sure you do your research ahead of time.

Alternative Investing may be the solution.

The new year has brought changes in how investments are made, from venture capital and angel investors to the emergence of alternative financing sources. In 2023, more and more companies have adopted crowdfunding and other alternative finance methods to support their projects.

Alternate investment sources offer advantages that traditional ones do not, such as increased access to retail investors who can contribute capital but need to be considered qualified investors under existing laws. Online portals create greater transparency between companies and investors and offer faster access to the funds needed to realize the full potential of a project or business idea. Moreover, start-up owners have greater control over the investments they receive through these platforms compared with having a limited say over venture capital options.

Crowdfunding, in particular, has become a widely used source of alternate financing due to its low-cost option and wide reach to the 97% of the population who have been unable to invest before and who may be potential investors. As such, small businesses can receive the necessary funding from anyone who believes in their product or service idea and is willing to promote it for success actively.

Alternative financing has revolutionized how investments are made by giving greater power to entrepreneurs looking for alternate solutions for funding their business ideas in an unconventional way, as well as opening up opportunities for everyday people that were previously only available to sophisticated venture capital firms. Alternative investing will likely remain an attractive option for entrepreneurs in 2023 as well, offering increased access to funds this year than ever before. If this article has piqued your interest, join our sister platform The Crowdfunding Hub to find out more.

Is Crowdfunding Right for Your Business?

Crowdfunding is a popular way to raise money for businesses, but it’s not right for everyone. Before you decide to launch a crowdfunding campaign, ask yourself these important questions.

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is the use of small amounts of capital from a large number of investors to finance a new business venture. Crowdfunding is a way to raise money for your business without going through the traditional channels of banks or venture capitalists.

There are three main types of crowdfunding: equity-based, donations and reward-based. Equity-based crowdfunding allows investors to own a piece of your company in exchange for their investment. Reward-based crowdfunding allows you to offer products or services as rewards to investors in exchange for their investment. Donations enables people to back a cause that they believe in.

Crowdfunding can be a great way to raise money for your business, but it’s not right for everyone. Before you decide to launch a crowdfunding campaign, it’s important to understand the risks and rewards associated with this type of financing.

What are the different types of crowdfunding?

Broadly speaking, there are three types of crowdfunding: reward-based, donation-based, and equity-based. Here’s a quick rundown of each type to help you figure out which one is right for your business:

Reward-based crowdfunding involves offering rewards to people who give money to your campaign. For example, you might offer donors a free product or exclusive access to your company’s beta launch. Donation-based crowdfunding is just what it sounds like: people donate money to your campaign with no expectation of anything in return. This type of crowdfunding is often used by charities and non-profit organizations.

Equity-based crowdfunding is a bit more complicated. In this type of crowdfunding, people who invest in your campaign receive equity in your company. This means that they are essentially buying a share of your business and will receive a portion of the profits (if any) when the business is sold or goes public. Equity-based crowdfunding opens up access to investing in businesses, that historically only the most wealthy could invest in.

So which type of crowdfunding is right for you? It depends on your business goals and the amount of money you’re trying to raise. If you’re looking for quick capital with no strings attached, donation-based crowdfunding might be the way to go. However, if you’re looking for long-term investors who will help you grow your business, equity-based crowdfunding could be a better option.

Benefits of crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a way of raising money from a large number of people, typically via the internet. It’s often used by startups and small businesses as a way to raise funds without going down the traditional route of borrowing from a bank or pitching to Venture Capitalists.

There are several benefits to crowdfunding, including:

You can test-drive your business idea. If people are willing to back your project, it’s a good indication that your business idea has potential.

You can build a community of ambassadors for your brand. The people who back your project are essentially people who believe in you and what you’re doing. This can be invaluable when it comes to marketing and promoting your business further down the line.

You can get feedback on your business idea. As well as financial backing, many crowdfunding platforms also offer the opportunity to get feedback from backers on your business idea. This can be useful in terms of refining and improving your offering before you launch it properly.

Crowdfunding can be a great way to get your business off the ground, but it’s not right for everyone. You need to have a clear plan in place and be realistic about how much money you’re likely to raise. You also need to be prepared to put in the hard work to promote your campaign and make sure it stands out from the crowd.

Want to learn more? We’re hosting a webinar on Tuesday October 4th 9am PT 5pm BST. You can register here.

Alternatively you can follow this free course to see if crowdfunding is right for you and to help you understand the process.

Is crowdfunding right for me? Five questions to answer.

By Victoria Bennett, Strategic Marketer, Crowdfunding Ambassador

In the five years since I ran my first successful crowdfunding campaign, I’ve learned a lot about which products and organizations are right for this model. Currently, I take a few meetings a week from companies and individuals who are considering their first crowdfunding campaign. What they usually want to know is, will crowdfunding work for us? These are the questions I ask them:

1. Do you have a product or service that meets a need?

We’ve all seen that person on Dragon’s Den who has spent their life savings and mortgaged their house developing something that they are passionate about. The only problem is, no one else wants it. Don’t be that person. Remember: something you love that doesn’t make money is called a hobby.

If your product or service meets a measurable need, you can define a meaningful addressable market that you can reach, and you can clearly differentiate yourself from the competition, you have the potential for a backable business.

2. Can you deliver?

I’m not talking about UberEATS here, more do you have a believable business plan that details how you will execute? Backers need to see you have the right partners and a fully-costed plan to deliver. Additionally, when you apply for equity or debt crowdfunding, your business plan will be reviewed by the platform’s due diligence team, and you may also need to provide audited accounts.

3. Do you have a team?

So, you have a plan. Great! But do you have a team that can deliver the plan? Throughout a crowdfunding campaign, you are looking to build trust with potential backers. Those backers want to be able to trust that you know what you are doing and that you can deliver. You’ll need to show that your team has the skills and experience to follow through on your promise.

4. Do you have a story?

Venture capitalists and bankers focus primarily on the numbers – they want to know if you’re financial feasible and likely to make multiples return. Your crowdfunding backers want more. They need a story they can believe in – something worth sharing (which is how you build the crowd). If you haven’t developed a story yet, start thinking about the following: How did you discover the need for your product or service? How did you invent the product? What impact has your product or service had or will it have in the future (once you’ve raised funds).

5. Do you have a crowd?

I often say there is a clue in the name, crowdfunding. You need to have a crowd of people willing to back you, willing to share, willing to support your campaign. This typically comes from your personal network of friends, family and business connections (and those of your team). You should plan to achieve between 10 and 33 per cent of your goal from your personal contacts and advocates on the first day of your crowdfunding campaign. This provides social proof to those who don’t know you personally.

Another thing to remember is that you’re not just asking your network for money. You need your network to help you get the word out about your campaign, talking about it over coffee, at the water cooler, over a beer on a Friday night, and also online.

Your job is to articulate your story, find passionate advocates who believe in your story, and provide them with the right tools to share it. Once you’ve established social proof, you can continue to build your crowd through social media, bloggers, influencers, the press, events, and paid advertising. That’s how you build your crowd.

If you have answered yes to these five questions, then I’m going to sneak one final question in. Are you willing to invest significant time, effort, and money into your campaign? Crowdfunding is not a quick and easy fix to your funding gap. However, if you’re committed to doing it right and want to raise funds while building a group of advocates who are committed to you and your product, crowdfunding may just be for you.

Principal joins the NCFA Ambassador Program

CALGARY, Mar 21, 2018 – The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) today announced that Victoria Bennett, Strategic Marketing Principal, Bennett Milner Williams Consulting Ltd., has joined the Association’s Ambassadors Program.

NCFA Canada Ambassadors

NCFA Canada Ambassadors are leaders, educators, supporters and advocates of an inclusive and broad-based alternative finance crowdfunding industry in communities across Canada. They are circles of influence and ‘go to resources’ for small businesses, organizations and investors to connect with, share and learn about crowdfunding via locally hosted events and initiatives. Ambassadors are specialists and plugged into an international network of shared resources, thought leadership, and industry professionals striving to cultivate and shape the future of finance in Canada and beyond.

Victoria Bennett ran her first successful crowdfund campaign over four years ago, a long time in crowdfunding years. A strategic marketer by training, she has worked on many major brands including Tide, Pampers, ENMAX and TD. She has used her skills as a marketer, to identify the solution the product or service provides, the target market, the so-what, and to communicate clearly, effectively and consistently to the crowd; all skills vital to crowdfunding. She has run successful campaigns in Canada and in Europe and her team is currently consulting for a number of Canadian equity and rewards crowdfund campaigns.

“Entrepreneurs are not well served by the current, closed networks, if you don’t have a good network of friends and family, any great idea will fail. The Canadian government opened up equity crowdfunding in 2015 and we have seen companies in both the start-up and growth stage benefit. The benefits, whether it be rewards or investment crowdfunding are much more than just the capital, a community of advocates, who believe in the company. The pace of adoption has not been at the same rate as in the US and particularly the UK where government policy has strongly encouraged investment crowdfunding to finance companies. I am pleased to see NCFA lobbying the government for further support and policy change for crowdfunding, and hope to see the benefits across all crowdfunding platforms,” said Victoria Bennett, NCFA Ambassador

“The fintech and crowdfunding sectors in Canada need more experienced advocates who truly understand the capital and growth benefits for small businesses launching ventures or products to market inherent in crowdfinancing, along with the wider economic benefits and job creation for the country and welcome Victoria’s sustained expertise and industry support,” said Craig Asano, CEO, NCFA Canada.

# # #

The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry in Canada. For more information, please visit:

Source: NCFA Canada

For more information please contact:

Media Contacts:

Craig Asano
NCFA Canada
Founder and CEO
p. (416) 618-0254

See the press release