Crowdfunding for Social Good by Devin D Thorpe ~ Book Review

Crowdfunding for Social Good: Financing Your Mark on the World



by Devin D. Thorpe
Over the last year of writing my Forbes blog, I have had the opportunity to really dig deeply into the world of crowdfunding. I’ve just completed my first draft of my new book, Crowdfunding for Social Good: Financing Your Mark on the World.

The book is a guide to successful crowdfunding for people who want to change the world.
The book is not a sequel to my book, Your Mark On The World, but it is written in the same spirit. I’ve studied a dozens of successful crowdfunding campaigns, interviewing the people behind them to learn their secrets for success.

Devin’s Book, Your Mark on the World, was downloaded over 75,000 times and reached the #19 spot on Amazon’s free book list–among all free books. It remains on the top 50 free nonfiction books at Amazon.

 About the Author

Devin D. Thorpe thinks he is the luckiest person alive. After being “let go” from the best job he’d ever had—as the Chief Financial Officer of the multinational food and beverage company MonaVie—he and his wife ended up living in China for a year where he wrote Your Mark On The World and embarked on the career he’d always wanted yet hadn’t dared dream.
Now, as an author, a popular guest speaker and Forbes contributor, Devin is devoted full time to championing social good. His current life isn’t much like his past.

As an entrepreneur, Devin ran—at separate times—a boutique investment banking firm and a small mortgage company. He served as the Treasurer for the multinational vitamin manufacturer USANA Health Sciences years before becoming CFO for MonaVie. Over his career he led or advised on the successful completion of $500 million in transactions.

Devin squeezed in two brief stints in government, including two years working for Jake Garn on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee Staff and another year working for an independent state agency called USTAR, where he helped foster technology entrepreneurship during Governor Jon Huntsman’s administration.

Devin is proud to have graduated from the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business, which recognized him as a Distinguished Alum in 2006. He also earned an MBA at Cornell University where he ran the student newspaper, Cornell Business.

Today, Devin channels the idealism of his youth with the loving support of his wife, Gail. Their son Dayton is a PhD candidate in Physics at UC Berkeley (and Devin rarely misses an opportunity to mention that).


If you are a fundraiser, artist, activist, or anyone else looking to start a crowdfunded campaign and don't know where to start, this is the book for you.  Those with more knowledge of the subject will still find some valuable information in the book but may not want to read it cover to cover.  Mr. Thorpe covers all of the major topics that need to be addressed - how much time, energy and money you should be prepared to invest, how to get other people to help share your message, how to use social and traditional media to your advantage - and mixes in some great success stories of different types of crowdfunding campaigns so that you can learn from what has worked in the past.  There are some great tips in this book on how often to update your supporters on your progress, why it is pivotal to have strong financial support as soon as the campaign launches by securing a few major donors prior to the campaign going live, and how to build a strong team of supporters.

There are also some troubling aspects of the book.  The first is that any book referencing social media is bound to have issues staying current.  Social media is constantly changing and new networks are popping up on almost a weekly basis.  The value judgements in the book - promoting Facebook as the 'unquestioned king of social networking" even adding the caveat "as I write this" (59)makes the book seem less relevant when constant changes to Facebook are driving people and pages away from the platform.  The author doesn't distinguish between a personal Facebook account and a cause-based page.  Most of the tips are more based towards building a personal network, completely ignoring the utility of a Facebook page for a cause that is separate from your personal account.  The second troubling aspect is that there are unreferenced statistics.  On page 62, the author states that "Twitter is used by barely more than 10 percent of people on Facebook" but there is no reference to where that number came from.

Overall, if you are looking for a starting point for a crowdfunding campaign, this book is a good place to start. The success stories are great motivation and it's a good base of information with which to start planning.

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