Say one day you had a revolutionary idea, something that you believe could change the world. You map out the blueprints, propose the concept to those dearest to you and dream of what you could do if you magically had sufficient funding to jumpstart your project. Traditionally, you would have been limited to conventional methods of financing that included either a sponsorship from a wealthy donor or landing a loan with a bank. Either that or you were out of luck!
Enter crowdfunding. You may have heard of “crowdfunding”, or at least have encountered crowdfunding models through various popular websites like www.kickstarter.com or www.kiva.org. Crowdfunding is a model for generating revenue to fund various projects. Using crowdfunding, organizations or individuals focus on procuring contributions of any amount from a large pool of donors—the “crowd”, if you will—rather than getting large contributions from a small number of donors.
With the advent of technology and rising of social media channels, individuals and organizations are harnessing the power of their available resources to gain funding for their initiatives and enterprises. The Internet, specifically social media channels, now carries the amazing capability to elicit attention and to rally the public for support and solidarity in projects and social causes.
Today, more than 200 different platforms using crowdfunding exist on the Internet. Some target creative individual projects, some work as micro financing platforms to help third-world countries and others utilize crowdfunding to raise money for disaster relief. Individuals have also used crowdfunding on a more personal level, raising money for travel or for school tuition. In a sense, practically anything can be crowdfunded, but it is up to the individual or organization to make a compelling enough pitch that will evoke enough attention and ultimately donations from the public.
What’s so innovative about crowdfunding? Crowdfunding engages the entire community and empowers the individual, so by donating to a cause, project, initiative or enterprise you care about, you are collectively making a bigger investment and a stronger impact. Crowdfunding also gives individuals or organizations hope that, if persuasive enough, their revolutionary ideas will receive funding and support from the community; no longer will they need to depend on a sole patron or bank in order to jumpstart their projects. That is the wonderful thing about public crowdfunding, that it embodies the communal aspect, the idea that together we are working towards what we are passionate about.