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Crowdfunding site plans to offer fundraising opportunities

Greg Gombert hopes to provide an avenue for area fundraisers through his crowdfunding site. (Rio Rancho Observer—Lee Ross photo)
Greg Gombert hopes to provide an avenue for area fundraisers through his crowdfunding site. (Rio Rancho Observer—Lee Ross photo)
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Greg Gombert of Rio Rancho is part of an innovative way of raising money in how business is done, and he’s bringing that knowledge and experience to bear on New Mexico.

Gombert, who runs Crowdforce Sales and Support, will soon launch a crowdfunding site specifically targeted at fundraisers in New Mexico. The site will help pool small donations from the supporters of a neighbor’s cause.

And that goes straight to the core concept of crowdfunding, which isn’t as complicated or strange as it sounds, Gombert said.

“A lot of people think there’s this mysterious thing called crowdfunding …” he said. “There was crowdfunding at the end of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ just without smart phones and PayPal.”

At the end of the well-worn 1946 film, everyone from the local community pitches in a little cash for Jimmy Stewart’s character to pay off an $8,000 debt.

Gombert said the first instance of crowdfunding may go back even further, though, to the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s, when many of the farmers whose crops hadn’t been devastated helped support those whose crops had failed.

But now, instead of deciding who is in need over a cup of coffee or down at the pub, we can look to the Internet to alert us about causes that may need some help.

“People really do have empathy,” Gombert said. “And we’re in tough economic times.”

The site, crowdforceNM.com, will officially launch on June 1. For now, Gombert is gathering contact information for anyone who has a nonprofit or a cause that is in need of money.

Gombert has worked in web development and marketing and has developed crowdfunding software for years, but his company launched its own site for causes worldwide late last year.

In just a few months they’ve taken on 50 customers.

“In 2 1/2 months, (that) is a pretty good chunk,” he said.

His company makes money by taking somewhere between 3 and 5 percent of the total donations from successful campaigns. There is no charge for unsuccessful campaigns, he said.

And generally less than half of those projects will be successful. One of the largest crowdfunding sites, Kickstarter.com, claims to have about a 47 percent success rate, he said.

It’s not like shaking a money tree, though, he said. Successful campaigns are hard work.

“To get $50,000 in 30 days … you have to prepare for two months in advance, accumulate a good fan base and get them motivated,” he said. “There has to be that work ethic.”

Gombert wants to reach out to locals who are motivated and interested in laying the groundwork for their campaigns over the next few months, prior to the official launch of his company’s New Mexico crowdfunding site.

The site, which currently has the label “Breaking Good,” may end up being a play on the popular television series “Breaking Bad,” he said. Only he sees his site as a source for positive change, rather than a television show about a man turning into the kingpin of a methamphetamine empire.

(For more information or to sign on for updates, go to crowdforceNM.com.)

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