For the inexperienced, crowdfunding looks like free money.
It's really not.
Our current campaign to complete 'Sisters For Sale' and combat human trafficking crisis in Vietnam has taken months of work.
It's been a physically and emotionally draining time.
With crowdfunding, no matter how hard you work or how much you believe in your cause, there is no guarantee of results.
After the initial burst of contributions from your core supporters, there's no way of knowing whether your campaign will sink or swim, and it's easy to get discouraged.
Sometimes, amazing things come from surprising places, when you least expect them.
That's what happened 2.5 years ago, during our last crowdfunding campaign. After two slow weeks, the campaign was given a sudden dramatic boost by a 23-year-old stranger from Pennsylvania.
Her name is Myste Laquinta, and she's done it again.
This time around, Myste wasn't in a position to make any major financial contribution - but that didn't stop her. What others might have seen as a good excuse to do nothing, Myste saw as a challenge, and she rose to meet it.
Myste spent several hours putting together a short story with images and videos, to post on the image-sharing website Imgur.
I woke up this morning to an almost-apologetic message from Myste, saying she'd shared some of our content without permission and hoped I didn't mind. She seemed a little worried, because the post had started running out of control.
In the past twelve hours, Myste's post has hit the front page, helped spread awareness of the global human trafficking crisis to hundreds of thousands of people, and has been directly responsible for over $5,000 in support for our cause.
In the words of my brother, 'She might have just saved your documentary.'
We're offering the experience of a lifetime - a month living amongst the Hmong people in a breathtakingly beautiful corner of Vietnam - for the person who shares our campaign the furthest.
In that regard, Myste just blew everyone else out of the water - at least, she would have, if that's what she was aiming for. But Myste isn't doing this to win a month in Vietnam: she's doing this because she believes in a better world for all of us.
In her own words:
"When presented with the opportunity to do good, I find that most people rise to the occasion and accomplish great things. The problem lies in giving them awareness. 'Sisters For Sale' will do exactly that; grant awareness, so that we can come together and put a long overdue stop to the human atrocity that is trafficking. The care, passion, and self-sacrifice that Ben has bled into the project is something that can't be ignored once it is seen, and I fully believe it has the ability to put the change we need in motion. It hooked me, it hooked others, and now it's time to hook the world."
Myste is a beautiful example of what a difference one person can make, and an inspiration to anyone who thinks they can't help because they don't have the money.
Here's how you can help end a human trafficking crisis and win the experience of a lifetime in northern Vietnam, in three easy steps:
1. Open an account at Indiegogo - this takes literally 3 seconds using your Facebook account!
2. Click the 'Link' button near the top of our campaign page, which will give you a personalised link to the campaign.
3. Share the link with your friends - via Facebook, Twitter, email, however you like.
If your friends contribute to the campaign - even if it's only a dollar - that counts as a referral. The person with the most referrals by the end of the campaign will win a life-changing month in Vietnam.
If you haven't already, you can get a special sneak peek at 'Sisters For Sale' here for only $1. But be quick - it's only available from now until the end of the campaign!