Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Digital Signage Sales 101: SignVine Crowdfunding- How It Works!

My last blog entry introduced the idea of SignVine's online fundraising efforts to help non profits raise funds to purchase a changeable message sign for their facility. Now this entry will describe what a campaign looks like, and what SignVine does to make the campaign a success.

A key benefit of using SignVine is that all the information regarding the campaign is at a central location where everyone can learn, participate and donate. It will contain the organization’s name, their story, their sign drawing, and funding goal. It will also feature how many " Viners" have donated, amount pledge to date, and how many days are left on the campaign along with two ways to donate:
  •  Give & Receive A Gift is the most popular which requires the donor to become a part of the SignVine community as a Viner where they can pledge support to your campaign, leave comments, and register their address for their “Thank You” Gift.
  •  Quick Donation are for people who solely want to support a campaign and are content not to receive a gift.
Both donation choices will have the option for the donor to remain anonymous, otherwise the donor will be listed on the Viner's tab.

Tell The Story

The Gardener leads the charge into the campaign from the very first day by working with SignVine to craft the online story. The history, cause, and drive of the organization must be outlined with purpose showing their heart to the world! Every campaign must have a purpose bigger than itself. If a church needs an outdoor LED sign to advertise the Christmas Tree sale, the story is not the sale, but what good the money collected from selling trees will bring. They sell the benefit, not the activity. Whatever narrative a Gardener creates, it will become the reality for his organization.

Support The Story with Pictures and/or Video

Factual, but creative video content, along with dynamic pictures of the Non Profit
organization is crucial. A picture (and video) truly is worth a 1000 words. Non Profits are encouraged to seek help from SignVine but also use their own internal talent. Until you ask, you may not know that the son of one of your Deacons is an expert in video production!

Working With SignVine
Unlike other crowdfunding sites, SignVine will stay involved. You are not just renting space on their website. The team at SignVine works with you to help achieve a successful campaign.

All monies raised (net fees) are given to the Non Profit Organization. This is not an “all for nothing” campaign- they end the campaign wealthier than when they started.

What SignVine Does To Help:
  • Work with the Non Profit to Plant the SignVine Campaign on their and with a  unique link, ex:
  • Provide suggestions and help with writing the narrative story about your organization.
  • Provide help to produce the video for the organization
  •  Provide online resources that the Non Profit can use to organize and mobilize their team, track results, and spread the word to the community.
  •  Write and distribute a press release concerning the campaign and efforts.
  •  Contact local media, like radio, TV, and newspapers asking for support.
  •  Additional marketing support in the community based on need.
  •  Provide a dashboard to track progress and provide updates to the pledging Viners.
  •  Stay in contact with the Non Profit.

The Benefits SignVine Provides:
  • Expert help to stage, promote and market the sign project to raise the necessary funds.
  • is a place where the Non Profit's voice can be heard and people can catch a video glimpse of the story 24 hours a day.
  • A default SignVine gift system associated with the campaign, and they'll automatically ship them to your Viners.
  • A financial system to process donations (Cash donations can still be accepted and entered. Ask them how).
  • An organization with vast experience in the Sign Industry and partnerships with reliable sign companies.
  • Real people to assist the Non Profit and provide overall guidance.
The Role of the Non Profit
The role of the Non Profit is all about execution and passion. The Gardener is the person who is actually in the "garden" each day tending to the SignVine Campaign. The Gardener measures progress and adjusts the processes day-to-day. It is a big job. SignVine advice is to choose a Gardener wisely for it’s through their leadership with the help of SignVine that a campaign will succeed.

The Gardner is the cheerleader, coach, and quarterback all rolled into one.

Next step is to build a team within the Non Profit group to execute the campaign. A campaign can be a lot of work. This online donation campaign will require online effort. It will be tough, it will worry you at times, but done with spirit and determination it will be fun and successful.

Whatever the game plan requires- everyone plays the game differently. Perhaps the plan is for each person to call businesses in the area. Perhaps the plan is to send an email to everyone in the church with the unique SignVine link to your campaign and ask them to post it to their Facebook or Twitter account.

The Non Profit owns the Campaign. SignVine provides the tools, the visibility, and the online resources for a Non Profit organization to have a successful campaign. The SignVine goal is to coach and encourage an organization and provide the guidance for success, but most of the actual day-to-day hard “gritty” work is the responsibility of the Non Profit.

SignVine knows the crowdfunding model works, but it’s not a guarantee. The true elements for success lie within the Non Profit organization. If the campaign does not fund, the cause is more than likely based in execution of the actual fund raising effort- the feet on the street.

These comments are my personal perspective and do not reflect the opinion of Vantage LED, Inc. or SignVine, Inc. or any other person or organization. If you have constructive feedback please email me at 
- Mike Prongue

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why LED Signs?: Be different, Be Branded, Be Seen with Outdoor Digital Signage

-Scott Hofheins

We live in a great time, and a great country where differences are celebrated and individual expression is encouraged. Cookie cutter is out, creativity is in and new technology is all over it. Branding your organization and advertising your unique attributes is critical to a successful operation, and LED signs can help you break the mold.

They’ve been doing it for years, from the first incandescent boards, time/temperature units, and text based message centers,  to the current high resolution LED signs and billboards.  Businesses spend vast amounts of money on websites and SEO, to separate themselves from the others, and direct viewers their way. But what about about creating that same direction for your physical location?

Brick and mortar sites are losing ground to the internet explosion. Online retailers are expanding and taking over many of the services traditionally provided by local business and organizations. LED signs help you bridge the gap, and let your voice be heard. You can talk to the new generation in familiar terms with colorful graphics, and dynamic messages.

Technology available today lets you market your outdoor advertising in ways only dreamed of in the past. Cloud based systems give you 24 access to your sign content and control. Higher resolution displays let you make your message ‘pop’ and continue to get more and more affordable.

Be Different
Catch the eye, turn heads and stand out. An LED sign gives your physical footprint an extra  kick, drawing viewers into your marketing campaigns 24 hours a day. Drivers may already know you exist, but didn't realize you were that affordable. Others may have never really noticed you...until now! It’s not just businesses that benefit;  religious organizations can  literally spread the word with LED signs by making sure their message stands out from the rest.

Be Branded
Grow, support and maintain the branding you work so hard to create. With full color LED signs, you can take advantage of the same color schemes, design styles, logos and marketing that you use in your existing advertising efforts. Trigger those subconscious associations viewers have with your brand, online, in print, in media, and now on the road!

Be Seen
In closing, remember that the goal for any sign, static or electronic, is to be seen. You can’t always go higher, you can’t always go bigger, but you can always go better! LED signs can help you look brighter, newer, and fresh to the public. When paired with custom dynamic content, you can create a significant marketing tool to be reckoned with.


I hope this post has been informative and helpful. As usual, I welcome ALL constructive comments. Please feel free to comment and add anything I’ve missed, or additional tips you may have regarding this topic. Please visit for many other resources, white papers, and of course: Great looking LED Signs!

**All posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically stated.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Digital Signage Need to Know: Financing & Leasing Options for DS

-Deacon Wardlow
While we can debate ROI (Return On Investment), ROO (Return On Objective) and other alphabet soup terms on why DS (Digital Signage) is awesome for both profit and non-profit organizations, the big ticket cost is hard to avoid. People still get sticker shock even when they understand the value and see the importance of having a DS solution for their organization. Showcasing the value, ease-of-use, and overall quality of a system proposed is important, but a lot of people overlook a simple means to drop the initial investment cost - Financing and Leasing.

As a dealer (and the client) - it's good to have a deck stacked in your favor. The best way to do this (aside from having the best source for your DS system) is to have financing and leasing as an option. about 1 in 3 companies given the opportunity to finance or lease a Sign System with LED signage (and even interior LCD/DS systems) will take the option, not offering this means there are a lot of opportunities lost for both dealers and clients.

I spoke with a couple of financing/leasing agents and here are a few key points of interest from our chat:

Jay Driscoll (Geneva Capital):
Within the last year the lending environment has opened up and there are many banks and other lenders who have been sitting on capital for a few years and are now looking for places to invest. LED Displays are good collateral and more lenders are willing to finance them. Financing makes digital signage much more affordable for a business. Instead of having to pay for it in one lump sum they can spread it out over a period of time, up to five years. This is a huge benefit because they can use the income the sign will generate to pay for it instead of using money they have already earned. 

Leslie Durocher (Advantage Leasing):
In the digital signage marketplace, I feel a major hurdle to overcome is competitive pressures. With many more shoppers and easy access to information it is important to be in the relationship building business. Small business owners are looking for their competitive edge however do not always have access to affordable capital for their purchases. Equipment leasing can help mitigate the risk of having minimal outlay of cash until the business achieves its desired ROI whether that be increasing efficiency (sales), saving costs (energy/other) or another objective the company would like to meet with DS.

There are a lot of leasing companies out there (these two are people I've met with directly and have had a good rapport (and heard good things about) in the industry. When looking at the bottom line final cost to invest with DS, it's definitely worth adding another line at the bottom showing financing/leasing options. The more options available for a client, the better the chance their organization can benefit from a DS system (and avoid sticker shock syndrome). Stack the deck in everyone's favor and look at leasing as an option for your business and clients.

Please comment here or send questions or requests for information to Vantage LED has white paper resources and more educational material on the website (, please check it out when you have a moment. Note all posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically noted.attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically noted.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Digital Signage Need To Know: Helping Non-Profits Purchase LED Signs

Every retail sign company, whether they have one storefront or a thousand, have customers whose need for an outdoor messaging sign is larger than their allotted funds. Many of these customers are non-profit organizations such as churches, civic groups, or community-focused clubs. They need to be able to share their message, reach their congregations, and promote their events and services, many times without the bank account to “make it happen”.

Until now, many have relied upon donations, bake sales, car washes and raffles to raise funds,  but no longer! The days of volunteers counting nickels and dimes on the home kitchen table are finally over.

Crowdfunding, also called crowd-financing or crowd-sourcing, is the collective effort of individuals who network and pledge their money, using the Internet, to financially support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. In the case of SignVine™, they are specialized in raising funds for important changeable messaging signage, such as LED or reader board, for deserving non-profit organizations within the community.

Paul Martin, Project Director, and Mike Prongue, SignVine™ Campaign Director, provided feedback regarding the SignVine™ launch and the mission of the website.

“This Internet crowdfunding phenom has existed for about 15 years,” stated Mike Prongue, “We’re just the first to adapt it to charitable fundraising to provide outdoor message signs for deserving nonprofit organizations.”

A church, for example, needs a LED display to replace their old  monument sign. A church representative would enroll on and initiate an electronic fund-raising campaign to capture donations by supplying details about themselves and their outdoor messaging sign requirements. The church then works closely with a local sign company, part of the SignVine™ Builder network, to define the costs and technical requirements of the project.

“Our sign company partner will provide a quote,” Prongue said, “And that dollar figure will be the target for the campaign."

The specifications for their sign project are entered into their online profile, a financial fundraising goal is set and the campaign begins. The church promotes the SignVine™ website which provides visibility to the donation campaign locally, on social media, and other venues to raise the required money. Monies are pledged by interested parties and their fundraising goal is met and their sign project becomes a reality.   

“Using the SignVine™ website and by providing a little bit of information, a church or club can make it’s wishes come true by accessing its greatest resource- it’s people,” Prongue said, “Once they connect to people and tell their story, electronically or otherwise, people rise to the occasion and support them with donations.”

“Contributors are motivated by more than just altruism,” Prongue said, “Each donation level has a reward associated with it. It could something like a commemorative e-medallion or a T-shirt or a more substantial gift at higher donation levels- that’s pretty cool!”

SignVine™ will provide donors many “thank you” rewards from a “Golden Shovel” to the previously mentioned online medallions for proud displaying on the donor’s Website. The non-profit organization enriches the SignVine™ rewards with their own offerings to say “thank you” to every donor.

“We want to have fun with this,” Paul Martin, Director of Marketing for SignVine, Inc. commented, “ We employ a ‘Garden’ theme, and state that we’re ‘growing’ a sign. The campaign coordinator for the non-profit is a Gardener and all contributors are “Viners”.

“Also, we will work with individuals and companies who are benefactors contributing money and services to promote the success of our overall efforts,” Martin  said, “We call these people or groups ‘Patrons’.”

The first Patron that has pledged to support every campaign is Spectacular Media, an Austin, Texas based digital signage cloudware company - pledging a Copper-level content creation subscription of their SM Infinity™ cloud-based software residing on the internet, allowing their clients to securely login from any PC or MAC connected to the internet and request content for their display. Spectacular Media will provide free Copper Level service to any LED sign purchased through the SignVine™ donation campaign. This means free professionally produced content to the non-profit. You can review the Spectacular Media™ company at their website-

The SignVine Website and campaign efforts will debut in March 2014 but several non-profits organizations have volunteered for early beta-testing and are currently working with SignVine™ to refine financial collection systems and procedures.

"We’re excited to launch this SignVine™ service,” Martin declared, “It’s an efficient and easy system for deserving community organizations and we feel it’ll be a fantastic solution for them.”

For additional information on outdoor messaging  sign campaigns currently being funded, or for more information on SignVine please visit their Website at

These comments are my personal perspective and do not reflect the opinion of Vantage LED, Inc. or SignVine, Inc. or any other person or organization. If you have constructive feedback please email me at 
- Mike Prongue