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Technology & Innovation

Is Instant Gratification Really a Bad Thing?

The age of consumerism is a well known notion nowadays, and it breeds the idea that we have more freedom in choosing what we want and how to spend our money.  With this freedom comes a desire to have our needs met instantly.  Paul Roberts writes in his book, The Impulse Society, that “our entire consumer culture has elevated immediate gratification to life’s primary goal.”  This is incredibly relevant right now with social media and people spreading their opinions and ideas on the Internet.  If we want to see what our friends are up to, we check Facebook.  If we want to see what’s trending in the news, we troll Twitter feeds.  If we want to capture in time, we post on Instagram. 

The popularity of these platforms is based on our desire for instant gratification – “I want something, and I want it now.”  Online marketing expert Neil Patel writes in Entrepreneur, “waiting is hard, and there is an innate desire to have what we want when we want it.”  That said, critics say that our need for immediate pleasure is fleeting and causes us to act impatiently.

In the world of business and particularly in crowdfunding, this is not necessarily a bad thing.  Because even though there seems to be a presumption that people crave instant gratification with no consideration for long-term benefits, this is not necessarily true.  Patel explains that, “once you give your customers some level of instant gratification, they will expect that same instantaneous response in future interaction.”  For example, when someone donates to a crowdfunding campaign, they want to stay updated on how their donation has contributed to the success of the campaign, and that’s not a bad thing.

With constant access to email and social media, people do not want to wait, nor should they have to (especially when donating money is involved).  The support and interaction from within a community of impassioned people around a common project and mission is in fact, a good thing, and that is what crowdfunding is all about.

There are simple ways to instantly gratify your community in addition to keeping them engaged.  “One of the best forms of instant feedback is the downloadable product.  You can easily provide a resource for people to download within just a few clicks,” explains Patel.  This is perfect for crowdfunding because you can provide people with what they want by giving updates and rewards that can be accessed immediately ­– a digital image, a downloadable video, a social media shout-out.  The possibilities are endless.

People do not like to wait anymore and that’s okay, especially with something as special and innovative as crowdfunding.


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