What is peerbackers?
We’re a community dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and innovators get the funding they need to turn a small start into a big finish. Our website offers an online “crowdfunding” platform which is a way to raise money by attracting many small donations from a large group (friends, family, professional & social contacts) to meet a funding goal. “Backers” give contributions in exchange for rewards or perks offered by those who post (rewards can be any product, service or experience to which the project owners have access).
Do I have to be incorporated as a company to post?
Who can start or fund a project?
Anyone with an idea, project, business or invention can apply to post on our site from anywhere in the world. This fundraising approach is not only ideal for seed capital or for expanding an existing venture, but it is also good for proof of concept or creating a product proto-type as part of a larger venture. This approach can really be used for funding any project or idea that is worthy of support.
Anyone with even $5 or $10 to spare can fund a project. All contributions are made online and processed through Pay Pal (see Backing a Project) and can come from anyone, anywhere in the world.
Do I have to pay the funds back?
No. The money contributed is not a loan or an investment – they are good will contributions made to support the project owner. Backers get rewards as well for their donation so it is a win-win.
Do I have to join as a member to back or start a project?
You do not have to join the site (it’s free) to browse projects but to back someone or to start a project – or to do cool things like follow your favorites ventures – you do need to join us and create a profile – but it just takes a minute! Did we mention it’s FREE?
The reason backers have to sign up (join) to donate is that their contribution has to be trackable – to a specific project (their contribution gets a transaction ID when they are registered) and the entrepreneur has to have at least minimal information about them (backer’s name and email) so they can fulfill their rewards.
Will peerbackers sign a Non-Disclosure form?
No, as we aren’t involved with evaluating your venture. It is up to you to decide how much you want to disclose about your idea or business to excite people to back you. Having said that, we are believers that ideas are, as they say “a dime a dozen” – it’s the execution that matters - so we say put it out there and get the support you need to launch!
Starting a Project
How do I submit my business or project?
Just click on the Start a Project link here or on the home page and fill out the submission form. Before you submit your idea or business, be sure you are prepared to do what it takes to run your fundraising campaign. Take it from us – it’s not a “build it and they will come” proposition. You’ll need to have an understanding of how to create a community around your project (via frequent social media updates, videos, email campaigns, etc) and give them a reason to fund you.
Why are submissions reviewed?
Our staff reviews submissions to ensure that the project creators understand how our funding platform works and what will be required of them in terms of their commitment to get out there and engage their community. We also want to make sure the content is suitable for our site and would not make your grandmother blush! We are not judging the viability of your business concept, nor do we limit the amount of submissions we approve…so feel free to tell your friends about us!
Any advice on submissions?
Three key elements are essential for the success of your peerbackers submission and campaign – your passion for your idea, your existing personal network, and a realistic funding goal. It’s important that those submitting their projects have a way to reach out to their social and professional network to spread the word about their funding campaign so already having some social media channels in place (Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Linkedin etc) is also important but not a deal-breaker.
Is there a fee to post?
No, there is no fee to post as we did not want to create a financial barrier for entrepreneurs or others to use our funding platform. Instead we charge a 5% success fee on funds raised to cover our costs. Those who post their ventures are also responsible for 3rd-party payment processing fees via Pay Pal (2.9%) on their donations so please keep these 2 fees in mind when deciding on your funding goal. (Note there may also be additional fees charged by Pay Pal for cross border payments and currency conversion).
Backing a Project
Who can back a project?
Anyone, anywhere in the world can contribute to a venture on our site. All you need is a working Visa, MasterCard or PayPal account. Sorry we can’t accept cash or checks.
Are there fees for me to back a business?
How do I back someone?
To contribute, just select a project and click the blue “Back This Venture” button. You can then choose the level of funding you’d like to give and select your reward. From there, you will go through the Pay Pal checkout process to complete your backing. Keep in mind, the contributions you are making are not for equity in the ventures – they are good will donations made in exchange for a thank you reward.
Can I pay with cash or check?
Unfortunately no – payments can only be processed through Payl Pal (but you don’t have to have a Pay Pal account – only a valid credit card). Also, in order for the project creator to have your contribution count towards their funding goal, the pledge has to be made online through our payment system.
What happens when the funding campaign ends?
Every project has a funding goal (a specific dollar amount) set by the project creator. When their allotted fundraising timeframe is reached, there are one of three results:
1) If a project has met or surpassed its funding goal, the funds backers contributed will go directly to the project creator. Project creators are then responsible for delivering rewards as promised. 2) If project has not met its funding goal, BUT the project owner can still deliver the promised rewards, then the funding raised will be released to them, or 3) If the entrepreneur CANNOT fulfill the rewards they offered without reaching 100% of their funding goal, then all monies will be returned to backers.
Can I give even if I don’t want a reward?
Yes…oftentimes giving is reward enough when helping someone launch their dream! You will have to first choose a reward /pledge level but can then select “No Reward” once you are on the checkout page.
Who is responsible for sending my reward and when will I get it?
Each project owner is responsible for developing and fulfilling the rewards they offer. If you have any questions about the rewards, you can always email the individual directly from their venture page. If applicable, be sure to note sizes or colors, or formats required, etc with any rewards that you are selecting. The rewards will be sent out only AFTER the fundraising campaign is concluded.
Can I ask the entrepreneur for stock instead of a reward?
Unfortunately due to SEC regulations, entrepreneurs can only offer cool rewards – and their undying gratitude - at this time! They are not allowed to solicit investments through our platform or offer any equity in their ventures or financial return in exchange for your support. This may change in the near future though so keep coming back! The SEC is currently entertaining an exemption from some of their restrictions which would allow for equity based crowdfunding.
Will the public know how much I gave?
Nope. Only the project owner will know as they must have your contact information and pledge amount to ship your reward.
Are contributions tax-deductible?
In most cases, probably not. But if the posting business is a non-profit and has 501c3 non-profit status or has fiscal sponsorship, the contribution can be tax-deductible. Backers can use the “Message Me” button on the business profile page to directly contact the entrepreneur about this issue.
Launching your campaign
Why do projects require a funding goal and deadline?
Every project has a funding goal (a specific dollar amount) and a time limit (from 15 – 60 days) set by the project creator as we believe in the power of a deadline as a motivator. It motivates the entrepreneur to keep their campaign fresh & energetic and it encourages the backers to take action to help before time runs out.
What if I exceed my funding goal before my deadline expires?
That’s a great problem to have. Exceeding your funding goal just means you’ll have more capital with which to launch or grow your business so keep those contributions coming until your campaign deadline ends!
What if I don’t reach my funding goal?
You still get your funds if you can fulfill the rewards you offered in exchange for the contributions. However if you don’t reach that threshold, then we return the funds to the backers. We do this primarily so that you aren’t expected to accomplish what you told folks you would with their contributions (buy an oven or build a website) – but with only having raised a portion of the money you would have needed to do so. In a nutshell – this protects both parties from disappointment and unmet expectations…and most importantly you have to be able to fulfill the tangible rewards you offered.
Is there a limit to how much a venture can raise?
No but we highly recommend staying under $25,000 – unless you have a particularly large & strong network to mobilize for support. Historically with crowdfunding, 85% of the backers give $50 or less, so you can see that the higher your funding goal, the more people you will need in your circle from whom to draw support.
How many backers might it take for me to reach my funding goal?
It can take as few as 20 or as many as 200 or more depending on your financial goals…or how generous your friends are. To raise up to $2,500 is usually fairly easy to accomplish (as long as you do your part to reach out & inspire folks!) and can probably be attained with 20-50 backers over a 30 day period. To raise between $2,500 and $5,000 can take up to 100 backers and might best be reached over a 30-45 day campaign period. $5,000-$10,000 would also fall in this 30-45 day timeframe and can take up to 200 or more backers. Obviously to raise over $10,000 you’d have to engage a significant following of friends and fans – this is more easily done if you already have a large email or subscriber list – and you’d probably want 60 days to run your campaign. We don’t tell you this to discourage you but to help you gauge the work required and to help you set realistic funding goals.
Who creates the rewards to give the backers?
The project owner is responsible for coming up with their rewards. In many cases, it is simply the products the business already creates but they can be any product, service or experience you have access to. You will want to use a tiered reward system (offering something at $10.00 and $25.00 and $50.00 etc). See Tips section for specific reward ideas.
Can a reward be limited?
Yes. You have the opportunity to limit the rewards at each pledge level and the number still available will automatically be updated on your page as the rewards are selected by backers. This is particularly useful for one-of-a-kind products or experiences.
Who delivers the rewards and when?
The entrepreneurs who post for funding are responsible for fulfilling the rewards to backers. When calculating your reward levels, as well as your overall campaign goals, keep in mind that you will have some expenses for packaging and mailing the perks to your backers when your fundraising concludes. Remember, you do not send out the rewards until your funding has been successfully concluded as if you do not reach your goal, the contributions will be returned to your backers so the rewards will not be sent out.
What can be offered as a reward?
See our ideas here. Also, there is a limit of $10,000 on any one reward (although we highly doubt many folks would have items of this dollar value to offer!)
What are the best pledge ranges for rewards?
Data from crowdsourcing indicates that the $50 tier dominates the pledges, attracting almost 25% of all earning. $100 is a not too distant second at 16%. The $25 level is popular too but it seems most people don’t mind offering $50 or more for a project (or person!) they love.
It’s also worth considering going beyond $100 into the $250 and $500 tiers as compared to other expensive tiers they resulted in relatively high pledging rates.
The lower tiers — less than $25 — are so statistically insignificant (representing a combined 5% of all pledges) that we recommend avoiding them — although you might want to offer a $10 tier to allow all folks to participate.
How many reward tiers should I offer?
Having too many tiers is very likely to discourage supporters. People want to help you and give you money so keep it simple – don’t make them stumble through too many choices in order to back you. Anything more than five or six tiers is probably too many.
I forgot my password. What do I do?
Just go to the Forgot Password page and we’ll email you a temporary password. If that doesn’t work, you can always email us at [email protected]
Tips for Success
If you’re uncomfortable reaching out to friends, family and strangers about your venture and asking them for their financial and social media support, then crowdfunding isn’t for you. But if you are dedicated to your dream and have faith in what you are building – and can share this excitement with others – this fundraising model can be a great solution for you!
Gather List of Supporters. First thing to do is to make a list of all your potential supporters – and, along with the obvious friends & family – don’t forget teachers, colleagues, co-workers and other associates that actually care about what you’re up to. If you are young (right out of school or college), this list might be mostly your parents network. Direct emails to your first level contacts is the most effective way for your campaign to be successful.
Work your online network. If you don’t have one, create one, then work it. Start a Facebook, twitter, Linkedin and YouTube account – it’s easier than you think (or you can have any 10 year old you know set it up for you like we did!). Then go out and get people to follow you so you can build your online community.
Team up. The more folks you have promoting your fundraising campaign, the better. Go beyond just your business partner (if you have any), get your family involved (sending your link to their network), organizations you belong to, or even get vendors who may benefit when your venture is a success to also promote your campaign.
Use video. Projects with a video raise almost %125 more money than projects without a video. Keep it short – 1 or 2 minutes – and fun. Even better if you can shoot 3 or 4 of these throughout your campaign to keep encouraging supporters to back you.
Be Specific. It helps if your funding goal is related to a tangible item – such as buying an important piece of equipment, or for getting your website up, or for creation of your product proto-type, etc – not just for “general expenses” for your business. Tell your backers how this item is going to help you – or better yet, help others – when your venture is successful.
Periodic mini-deadlines. At regular intervals, send out emails or new videos offering new incentives…maybe an extra reward (2 dozen cookies instead of 1 dozen to the next 3 backers!), or threaten to pull an “all-nighter” until 2 more people back you…often backers just need these little reminders of your passion and efforts.
Personal Thank You’s - Don’t forget to personally thank each supporter when they’ve backed you – they took the time and their resources to help, so of course showing your gratitude is in order!
Press - Reach out to your local media (TV, radio and newspapers) to let them know you are using this innovative new funding model and see if they’d find it newsworthy to follow your campaign. Don’t forget online media as well such as bloggers in your industry.
Aside from the products or services your company may already create, here’s some ideas for other rewards (many folks add them together to escalate the value – ie., the $25 reward includes a new item as well as the item from the $10 level)
A Thank you. Have a clever way to offer this? Maybe a mention in the menu of your new cafe (or better yet – name a dish after a backer!), or printed in the forward of the book you are publishing, or simply a promised postcard from a unique location? Your gratitude doesn’t have to be exotic but a little creativity does go a long way!
Company Tshirts with your logo or fun slogan (keep in mind, they do not have to created until you have contributions from backers to pay for the printing cost post-campaign). Another tip – you can go to an online promotional item company that allows you to upload your logo on a sample virtual shirt (to preview the product) and then use this image to illustrate your reward on your project page.
Downloads of things you (or your friends) create such as Ebooks or music.
Baked goods – who doesn’t like these?! (Can be a one time event – a cake or 2 dozen cookies being delivered – OR a monthly event for a series of months (meaning for $150 perhaps you offer to send 2 dozen cookies a month for three months…with recipes cards).
Artwork – Do you or your friends paint, take nice photos, make jewelry, knit…remember if your friends offer you items they make for your fundraising, you can even pay them for their cost of materials but offer the reward to your backers at full value…with the difference going towards your campaign.
Tickets - Do you have access to any special event, concert, play or movie?
Invites to lunch, dinner, or a business kick-off party…or you can offer to cater a meal to any local based backers.
Service – For any local backers you can offer to clean a house, wash a car, walk a pet.
Baskets – Create your own themed baskets – Coffee baskets, beach baskets, office supplies…you name it! Just make sure your cost to fill the basket leaves room for profit to go towards your required funding.
A mention…of the backers name in your book, song, on the menu in your restaurant, etc.