"Crowdsourceress" Alex Daly on Fundraising Online: "Take Matters Into Your Own Hands"

Kenneth Bachor
Since Kickstarter's launch in 2009, its users have pledged $3.3 billion. Miami native Alex Daly and her two-person team at Vann Alexandra are responsible for raising $20 million of that and counting.

Daly’s The Crowdsourceress: Get Smart, Get Funded, and Kickstart Your Next Big Idea is the ultimate crowdfunding manifesto for creatives looking to launch their dream projects. The internet will ultimately destroy us all, but in the meantime, Daly teaches us how to use it to produce, support, and monetize meaningful work. At her book signing at Books & Books last weekend, Daly shared her trade secrets with Miami entrepreneurs of all types.

“It’s pretty cool that my career started out of the need that people have for crowdfunding, to get support to run their campaigns,” Daly said.

Daly told New Times that Miami creatives have tremendous opportunity to get their work funded with platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter. She encourages people to experiment, ask questions, and work hard, but also be willing to take risks.

Less than five years ago, Daly struggled to figure out her own path, much like the folks who turned out to hear what she had to say about an industry she is now pioneering. She left Miami and took jobs in journalism, working for New York Magazine and the Wall Street Journal, but soon realized that career wasn’t what she wanted. After speaking with a mentor, she became a documentary filmmaker, managing various projects and writing grant after grant for funding. Soon after, a producer friend asked her to help him fundraise for his movie.

“I said, ‘Why don’t I write you a grant?’ He suggested Kickstarter... I didn’t know what it was. I had a vague idea that it was this thing on the internet. It was 2012. So we partnered and I helped him launch his campaign and we raised $80,000 for his film.”

Daly spent the next two years as a filmmaker by day and freelance campaign manager at night. She was successfully Kickstarting documentary after documentary and was dubbed the “crowd-sourceress” in a blog. “In 2014, I got recommended to work on my biggest campaign yet, which was [for] Neil Young, and that’s when we raised $6.2 million in 30 days. I was like, Oh my God, I guess I am good at this. I have to embrace that this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I also loved doing it."

Now Daly has more than 100 people a month reach out to her agency with ideas. But she believes in touching every project she backs with her own hands, so she's kept her company small. Her book is an attempt to impart everything she has learned to the rest of the world's crowdfunders.

If you’re trying to start a new business, career, or haven’t the slightest idea how to get your project supported, The Crowdsourceress begins to resonate as soon as you crack open the spine. Daly even arms her readers with resources to help them take their projects from concept to closeout.

Daly’s Books and Books appearance was the last of five stops on her two-week tour, and she felt it was necessary to end in Miami. "When I left, Miami was a very different place. I come back now with such excitement and joy because it really evolved so much culturally, on the entrepreneur side, on the tech side. That's why I wanted to end the tour here. This is where I grew up.

“There are a lot of people starting things on their own here. Little communities, organizations, special projects…People need to take matters into their own hands, and a great way to do that is through crowdfunding.”

You can pick up a copy of Daly’s book at Books and Books, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.