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Helen Lederer

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Crowdfunding: Cutting Edge or 21st Century Begging?

Posted: 21/10/2013 18:26

As a member of the word processor generation (although not quite the electric typewriter generation) I feel I've done pretty well. I've not needed an Open University course telling me how to switch on a PC, or paid an eighteen year old to boost my multi-globalisation out-reach profile with a split screen YouTube channel. But I can't hide behind a world of parker pens and biros for ever. The fearless and somewhat pioneering sprit that got me in to stand-up comedy all those years ago is now nudging me into the bosom of crowdfunding.

Like most fiscal virgins I'm blushing in anticipation. My learning curve is fast and unforgiving... and it's too late to pull out as it were.

But why, you might ask - as a mature K-division celebrity - should I ask other good folk to "dig deep" (an expression which is impossible to utter without appearing bossy) and part with a fiver?

I'm already regretting those unattended requests from friends of friends to gift a few quid towards heroic acts of running/jumping/swimming/all three, to raise funds for good causes. And here I am nervously doing the same... so... what exactly is on the table?

I'm hoping to empower others (anyone who favours their comedy with wit, warmth and music) to help fund two events that will lead to a TV series. In return, I'm offering all sorts of rewards, that my backers will recieve at a later date. I'm not saying it's in any way akin to pawning my granny's lace tablecloth, but it's not a million miles away either in a modern iteration, Adam Smith sort of way. Also, I must admit that this new system seems to spawn lots of very clever people attached to it. It's like being at a cocktail party where I'm both the host and hosted.

If it all works, I and some extremely nice guests - including Suzanne Moore, Mark Lawson, Yasmin Alibhai Brown and Jay Rayner - will be discussing the meaning of life (and sex. And side plates.) in two live Why The Fuss?! shows.

To everyone who has supported me so far, I have already emailed back a long rambling message of heart-felt gratitude - and if anyone needs a swimming/running/jumping sponsor in return, believe me, I'm poised.

The thing is, I'm at that slightly awkward age: too old for Hugh Hefner, and too young for Harry Styles. But I reckon if middle-aged comedy needs a face and an audience, I'm happy to be the comedian who gives it a proper go.

It's certainly a gamble, but so were Flo-masters. I've no idea how it will go: ask me in a week.

P.S.: Another dilemma: I'm doing four charity gigs in the next two weeks - should I appeal to my captive audience of rich people, whom I'm already trying to sting for a good cause? And if so, how? "While you're hovering over your cheque books could you just bung my crowdfunding project a fiver while you're there?"

How do I casually throw my funding page link out there without looking like I'm casually throwing my funding page link out there ? BloomVC.com: Helen Lederer WTF.

 

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