What is FundUSLocal?

FundUsLocal is a funding platform that allows creators to connect with people who will financially back their projects.  Creators put their ideas and products out there, create interest and raise the funds necessary to bring them to fruition.  While you’ll find nationwide or even global projects on our site, you’ll also see many local projects that are designed to improve communities, bring great business ideas to a city or town and help neighbors in need.

How Does FundUSLocal Work?

Our project creators spend a lot of time planning and then perfecting their projects before backers ever see them.  They perfect their project pages, create videos and then connect them both to their social media outlets.  The projects include things like starting a new business, doing something worthwhile in a local community, helping out a family in need and all types of art, film music and literary projects.  The creators retain total control and ownership of their project, and while the backers contribute financially, they receive no monetary benefit from it.  Instead, the project donators or Dream Enablers that we like to call them, are offered unique rewards from the project creator as a thank you for their contribution. These rewards vary at different levels of donation.

The project creators decide on two funding goals: an ultimate goal amount as well as a reserve amount to be used in case the ultimate goal isn’t met.  FundUSLocal will release funds - first when the reserve is met and then again when the goal is met and then again in the case of overfunding when the final project end date is released.  The creator can keep track of their funding amounts by utilizing the dashboard provided free of charge when a project is established.  The creator also sets a project end date, and if the goals aren’t met by then, the Dream Enablers (donator or backer) won’t be charged and no funds will be released.

What is a Reserve Goal?

Other funding sites won’t allow project creators to collect funds if they don’t reach their ultimate goal, but we understand that just because you don’t collect all of the funds, that doesn’t mean you can’t go forward with your project—it will just be on a reduced budget and may have to be done in a little different way.   It may mean using a less expensive recording studio, putting up fewer park benches in a community project or helping a family pay for only some of their medical bills, but even on this limited basis, goodwill is still being spread into the world.

  What Types of Projects Does FundUSLocal Allow?

If you have a great idea that will better the world, create beauty, help others, improve a community or launch a great business, chances are that you can post your project on our site.  Artists will find a funding platform for their every goal—including projects that involve music, dance, publishing, food, comic books, theatre, games, technology and photography.  Entrepreneurs can easily get the money they need to launch their business, and do-gooders can ask others to get involved in their causes to better a community, improve living conditions for others or help a family in distress. 

The only things we don’t allow is a “fund my life” type of project.  In other words, don’t ask someone to pay your rent this month or support you in your writing career, but instead ask them to help publish your book or start a business.

Who Holds the Project Creators Accountable?

In a word—you do!  Our creators agree to certain project guidelines and then it’s up to their backers to determine whether or not they believe they are up for the job.  FundUSLocal can’t guarantee that individual projects will be completed, and that’s why it’s important for you to pay strict attention to the details the creator provides.  Ask yourself if they have the experience necessary to fulfill the project requirements, whether the plan is well thought out and planned for and if you believe there is truly a need.  Look at the resume they provide, the video they offer and the details about how they plan to go about completing the project.  Look to see whether they offer links to relevant projects or work.

If you still have questions, go to their social media sites—do they have a personal community that will hold them responsible or have they set up a Facebook page for the project with only a few new friends?  

Finally, we encourage you to contact the project creator before pledging and ask them any questions that haven’t been answered on their project page.  Additionally, FundUSLocal does everything they can to hold project creators accountable to the terms and reward levels they themselves set and establish for their own projects.

How Do I Keep Track of My Project/Donation?

Whether you are a project creator, backer or affiliate, you’ll have access to a dashboard to help you track every aspect of the project in an easy-to-use format.  You’ll see incoming donations, funding goals, communications, deadlines and the progress of the project as well as the status of the rewards.

The dashboard allows you to track multiple projects and will alert you when something has happened with the project.

Why Should I Back a Project?

There are many great reasons to back worthy projects on FundUSLocal.  You may be tired of simply writing a check to a faceless charity and want to see the results of your donation and be involved in the process.  Maybe you want to support someone in your community instead of on the other side of the country.  Perhaps you just love people with innovative and creative ideas and want to  help them bring those ideas to life.  It’s even okay if you think the reward is great, and you want to get it by backing the project.

Many backers are family members, friends and social media connections of the project creator.  Others are strangers who just love the idea that the creator is putting forward.

What if the Project Goes on to Make A Lot of Money?

It’s important to realize that when you back a project, you won’t reap financial profits from it—even if it goes on to make a million dollars.  The project creators retain 100 percent control over their ideas and products, and don’t share the profits.  The backer’s donations aren’t to be considered loans, investments or equity, but instead a helping hand to a creative but underfunded project creator.  But in most cases, you will receive a cool non-financial reward.

What Happens if the Creator is Having Problems With the Project?

Things don’t always go as planned, and that’s even true when trying to complete a project that’s near and dear to your heart.  Unforeseen circumstances can arise, and sometimes things just take longer than expected.  When this happens, creators have a few options to keep their backers happy.

Communication is key when things go wrong.  Most backers would rather know the truth about why a project is running behind than to be told that things are fine when they obviously aren’t.  Trust is key between creators and backers, and most backers will understand delays if they’re kept apprised of the situation.

If the worst happens and a creator is unable to complete their project, there are a few ways that creators can satisfy backers.  If there are funds left, they can refund a portion to their backers.  If the funds have been spent, the creator can provide a detailed accounting of how they were spent to their backers, along with an apology and explanation of why things went wrong.

Does FundUSLocal Expect Creators to Finish Their Projects?

Yes.  When a project is created, the creator signs a Terms of Use agreement that states he or she will make a good faith effort to complete the project, and if they can’t they will refund the backer’s money or send them a reward..  If they don’t, the backer has legal recourse, but FundUSLocal will not get involved in the process.  Most creators are honest and make every attempt to fulfill their promises, and we hope that backers will keep this in mind when a project is experiencing bumps in the road.    

Will FundUSLocal Refund My Money if the Project Goes Bust?

No, the financial transaction is between the project creator and backer via a third party payment processing firm. (PayPal).  Since we don’t receive the funds, we don’t refund them to backers.  If the project is never completed, we hope that the creator refunds the monies to the appropriate backers. 

What Happens if I Suspect Fraud?

We love our creators, but if one isn’t acting responsibly, we need to know about it.  If you suspect that a creator isn’t acting in good faith, please report it to our fraud team and we will investigate it.

How Much Does it Cost?

It’s free to post a project on FundUSLocal, but there are some fees associated with running a successful fundraising campaign.  We charge a 5 percent fee of the total funds collected.  In addition, if you choose to make use of our affiliate “Dream Avatar” program, you’ll pay an additional percentage fee for any donations that resulted from them.

We use PayPal to process donations, and they charge roughly a 3 percent fee.

What is an Affiliate and Why Should I Use One?

Not all of our project creators have the personal community to raise enough funds, so we have aligned ourselves with affiliates – actually Dream Avatars who can help get the word out about worthy projects.  They have the network and connections to tell people about your project and can help to influence them to donate.  If you decide to use our Dream Avatar affiliate program, you’ll be charged an additional percentage fee of the funds they collect.