• Lizzie Small

You too can be an Armchair Philanthropist!

Updated: Aug 27, 2020

Crowdfunding explained.

When the threat of COVID19 locked down Alberta, closing schools and cancelling all events for 2020’s summer, SouperSpudz went into an economically induced coma. After 8 weeks of assessing the local economy, I decided to take a leap of faith and launch our food truck. But, with all our projected summer revenue up in smoke, it was a daunting financial commitment. It was my business coach who introduced me to the ATB Financial BoostR crowdfunding platform.

And so was born.

I had limited knowledge of what Crowdfunding entailed, but I was also surprised at how many of my peeps had no clue what a crowdfunding campaign was, how it works, how easy or how much fun it could be to open up this new can of worms!

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture (like mine) by raising money from a large number of people who each contribute a relatively small amount, typically through the internet.

Back in the day, if you wanted to start a business your choices were limited to going cap in hand to Mommy and Daddy (if they had the money),the dreaded bank loan or finding a partner or formal investor who would then have a certain amount of influence or contrOL, AND the ability to call in their investment or loan whenever they pleased.

Crowdfunding turns that on its head. It means that you (as a business) can quite literally approach family, friends, friends of friends, complete strangers, businesses, and more; and ask them to contribute as little (from $10, yes that does say $10) or as much as they choose to your venture. Their ‘seed money’ in return for purchasing a ‘gift’ or service from the business to be delivered at a later date. (In our case it’s funky TShirts, VIP Cards or colouring pages) This is not a sophisticated financial transaction requiring pinstriped suits and a business lunch afterwards! For some, it will be for nothing more than the warm glow of being an armchair philanthropist for a moment or two!

Internationally there are many platforms offering to host campaigns to raise seed money for special projects, new product launches, or new businesses like mine. You have heard of them of course. They are the Kickstarter, the GoFundMe, Indiegogo and Fundrazrs of this world. Typically, the platform takes a percentage of the money raised (normally around 5%) and charges a processing fee which can be absorbed by the investor if they choose, and most also insist on an “all or nothing” model. Meaning if you aim to raise $3000, then every penny of that must be raised to benefit from the campaign at all.

I’m fortunate. SouperSpudz is an Albertan start-up, which qualified me to apply to the ATB Financial BoostR.

One of the things I particularly like about Canadians, is their tendency to be supportive of small businesses. In Alberta in particular, ATB Financial is known for their efforts and focus on supporting and encouraging entrepreneurship in our Province.

During the COVID19 crisis, the ATB BoostR initiative has adopted a number of fantastically beneficial incentives. They have done away with the “all or nothing” model, thus, those running campaigns can benefit from every penny raised. Additionally, until July, they have waived all fees, which really does mean you get what you are given, cent for cent. .

In preparing my small (in comparison to many) campaign, the BoostR team was patient and helpful. Above all, they were encouraging and positive about my campaign, which was vital when entering into what can be a daunting arena for the first time.

I’m a convert. (even though my campaign has barely started) I’m fortunate that I have the ATB Financial to endorse my efforts. But, I would recommend this method of reaching out to small (if not tiny) investors to help you strike out and be your own boss!

If you would like to feel the glow of being an armchair philanthropist, please feel free to visit our campaign at I’m certain you would look fabulous in one of our T Shirts, and just think of the investment you are making into our future, for which - needless to say, I would be eternally grateful!... and if you are feeling flush, you can browse lots of other campaigns just like mine, and support other Calgarians, in helping make their dreams come true.


I read of one guy who put a campaign on Fundrazr, to develop a new recipe for a potato salad. His goal was $10 (seems a little minimal but that’s what it was). He raised over $55,000 from 6,911 backers! Now that’s good crowdfunding!