Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Farm venture fundraising - but what?

So I'm reading through the fundraising post of a farm venture, this one wants to teach people to farm, and I'm all for that, and I run across this:

First, I'm pretty skeptical that crowdfunding donors actually get good value for what they donate.  Dont' get me wrong - these crowdfunding efforts are GREAT for the farmer - they get the money and have few or no restrictions on it, and in my opinion don't have to ever complete their stated project, or if they do, they can do it on their own schedule -- like sugar mountain that has slipped their schedule between 3 and 5 years so far, and it's slipping further as time goes by.

"young female farm manager" - not the best qualified, or the best fit, but the age and sex is specified.  That's pretty amazing to me.  Imagine if I posted an advertisement like that for my farm:

  "Hiring a farm hand.  Males only, women need not apply, and no one over 20"

I'd probably get viral status, don't you think?  And the headlines would be great.  Maybe you can suggest a few in the comments.

With this sort of fund raising request, there's no backup for the things you'd normally see in a grant request, or a proposal to a bank for a loan.    Stuff like a business plan.  A copy of the most recent results.  Even the biography of the founder of this farm is blank:

If you want to rely on the good intentions of generous individuals I think that you have the responsibilty to use their funds in an appropriate manner.  Discriminatory hiring and black-box numbers don't really leave me with the impression that they've really throught this out.  And the leave the prospective donors with no way to verify if the proposed changes were made, or in fact if there's any progress at all.

Here's where I will give Walter Jefferies full credit:  Despite being years behind in the schedule he's doggedly pursued completing his project, and has posted many updates showing the projects status and the milestone passed.   And that's wonderful, and basically missing from most crowdfunded projects.

While I did donate to Sugar Mountain, I'm not going to be donating to Tricycle farms.  I'd prefer they get their training wheels first.

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