Interview: Crazy Legs on crowdfunding success

Half of Puerto Rico is still without power two months after Hurricane Maria. That’s half the population unable to turn on the lights or the fridge – and many still struggling to gain access to clean water.

That’s why original B-Boy Richard ‘Crazy Legs’ Colón is aiming to double the money he’s crowdfunded for the island. The campaign, which launched in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, has already raised $105k and he’s now working to reach a quarter of a million.

Crowdfunding is now a worldwide industry, raising $34 billion worldwide between 2012 and 2015, with the average campaign raising $7,000. We asked Crazy Legs what he’s learned about how to make your crowdfunding bid as successful as possible.

Amaphiko: What do you think really helps a crowdfunding bid fly?
Crazy Legs: It’s all about teamwork. Not knowing what you are doing at first is okay, but you have to be sure about the reason behind it, it has to be authentic. I couldn’t have started this campaign without Joselle Yokogawa and Teresina Cruz, who convinced me to do something about the situation in Puerto Rico. From there we worked with DJ Tony Touch, DJ Enuff, DJ G-Bo The Pro and Puerto Rico Rob to form a team who could accomplish everything we wanted to do, provide access to clean water, electricity and fundamental resources. Although I’ve been the face of what’s going on, the team is what made it happen, by using their social media and credibility within the community to get the numbers we needed to make an impact. We started pulling favors and also gave many people the opportunity to donate and not worry about a misappropriation of funds. The people put their trust in us at a time when they were far from the island and feeling helpless.

Did anyone give you any advice that really helped you? What was it?
Knowing I was super busy with the relief efforts and my personal career, Joselle was always making sure I thanked people and gave updates on how money was being spent. Photos and videos provided by Red Bull had a huge effect.

What would be your advice to anyone trying to raise funds to change something in their community?
Authenticity goes a long way. Build a strong team around you and keep everyone in the loop about progress and ongoing intentions.

What were the key things you did that made it so successful?
I always made sure that it was about WE and not ME who were involved. Our mission was to help thousands of people and one person can’t do it alone.

How important is it for people to understand why it matters and how did you do this?
It’s about the power of someone making the decision to lead people who want to be part of the progress of Puerto Rico as it slowly climbs out of it’s crisis. If the project resonates with the masses, they will support. You have to take on the role of leader among leaders. It matters, because actual lives can be saved. Not only as Puerto Ricans, but also as human beings.

Obviously this was a huge national disaster so different to most crowdfunding bids but is there any advice you think is transferable?
Making people feel comfortable with donating their hard-earned money is important. Don’t just take their donations. Take them along for the ride and show them the progress. It connects people to the cause and makes them feel like they are part of the relief efforts, even if they can’t physically be on the ground to help.

What’s next in terms of this fundraising?
I would like to raise up to $250K and put it to good use. I’m concerned with how much money is being raised by other organizations without letting the people know how, where and when it’s being spent. What I like the most about the Rock Steady For Life fundraiser is that we post as we spend. We make it so that people can see how much was raised and how much is left. And if that transparency inspires people to support, we promise to make them proud.

Reach the GoFundMe page here.

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