I recently had a really great idea. I am at an age when many people are asking the question, “do you want to have a baby?” I am a single woman choosing a creative path, no posh job with insurance and a giant paycheck. So when I hear that question most of the time I think, are you crazy? If I had a kid I’d have to sell my soul to the company store just to be able to afford the day care that would estrange me from my new baby. No, thank you. Not a good move, not for me or a potential little being. But in the middle of a laugh filled conversation with friends I came up with the great idea that I could crowdsource the baby. I would use my blogging skills to start a website called ittakesavillage.com … a site that someone else has unfortunately claimed. My plan included setting up an Amazon.com wish list that would provide for the baby’s every need. The first item on the list would be a pregnancy test, of course. I would attach a paypal account so that people could contribute to the college fund. I would sell the naming rights for one million dollars. Only rules would be the name couldn’t be corporate, my baby could not be named Verizon Bestbuy Jones, and it couldn’t be malicious. I was imagining a rich old man buying the naming rights to honor his dearly departed aunt Hazel. And that seemed like a good plan to me. It still kind of does. We’ll cross that bridge if we get to it.
I live amongst very creative people with good hearts, so every day on my facebook feed I see appeals for me to contribute in some way or another to someone’s project. I’m equally likely to be asked to help someone create a documentary film project, or reach a fundraising goal for an ALS foundation. My friends are awesome. Sometimes I have the resources to contribute, and sometimes I don’t. But whenever I see an appeal I am inspired that there are people out in the world making things happen. And then I hit my share button and at least try to give them a little press.
My first contribution was for eleven dollars. I can’t quite remember the cause, but I think it was a film project. I am a writer with a few short films under my belt, so I like to support my fellow film makers whenever I can. In return for that eleven dollars, I received a cyberhug. My most recent contribution was thirty-three dollars that I contributed toward what looks to be an amazing short film, written by and starring my friend Sita Young. She is nothing short of fabulous (she’s the star of my most recent short film), and she compiled a kick-ass team of women film makers to create a cool project currently referred to as “The Lenny&Dahlia Project“. I can’t wait to see it just for the visuals alone. Sita is super stylish and it appears that all of the women on the team are too. In return for my thirty three dollars I will know that I supported my sisters in the arts AND … I get a Bowjie. Bowjies are another fabulous creation from Sita, she turns old fabric into new hair accessories. Stylish and eco-friendly, what more could you ask for. One of the hallmarks of today’s crowdsourcing is the giving back part. Contributions are often rewarded with small gifts. Larger contributions with larger gifts. For the Lenny&Dahlia project, one of the medium rewards is a photo shoot with a super accomplished fashion photographer. The biggest contributions could even get your name on the big screen with a producer credit to your name. Check out the project and contribute to something amazing!
In addition to my creative friends, I have the do-gooder friends. They are raising money to help change the world. These kind of things have been around for a while. I’ve long been asked to contribute to someone’s team in training. Runner’s raising money for cancer charities and the like by getting their butts off the couch and running a marathon. Wow, I’m so happy to stay on the couch and give a little cash. My first contribution from an online campaign was for an ALS Walk. Again, I think it was eleven dollars. I must have a thing for elevens, I think they’re the most magical number. No physical rewards with these ones, just a case of the feel goods. A friend of mine named Lynn is currently raising money for a charity called Buds to Blossoms. The organization, founded by another one of my friends, provides gentle healing massage to orphans in Cambodia, many of whom are dealing with HIV or AIDS. It is a wonderful organization, and most volunteers attempt to cover their costs by starting crowdsourcing campaigns. Many cover the cost to participate and give financial gifts above and beyond. Everyone I know who has ever participated said that it changed their life. It was hard, but it changed their life. Contributing to something like that makes me feel good. If you’re interested in helping Lynn out, check out her website!
What I’ve learned from watching my friends enter the crowdsourcing world is that I have awesome friends. And that there are so many ways we can help each other reach our dreams. And that crowdsourcing works. I’ve never seen a campaign fail, most of the time they get the funding they need and then the world is a better place for it. It gives me hope in the human spirit. And one day, if I should find myself knocked up, I have hope that maybe I really could crowdsource that little bundle of joy!