How Crowdfunding Made Social Justice Cool

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Takepart | | April 15, 2013

Crowdfunding solving social problems

An Internet connection has the power to make world-class problem solvers out of all of us.

My first experience supporting a cause was “adopting” a Native American boy through Save the Children when I was in college. Barely an adult myself, that transaction made me feel responsible, but it didn’t make me feel connected to this boy; letters took months, momentum was lost. There was also a solemnity to the whole affair of writing my little check and inserting it into an envelope stamped with his photo.

Social media has eliminated communication hindrances for everyone, of course, but it’s also become a tool that is inextricably linked to fundraising success. Using social media engagingly means cause-driven individuals and groups can connect intimately, effectively and in the most creative ways.

View:  Crowdfunding for social causes:  Disasters bring together a natural union of crowds and fundraising

Seth Godin has characterized the era we live in as the  “connection economy,” birthed, fueled and energized by the Internet: I connect with your cause and, thanks to terrific online tools, I will not only give you money, but I’ll ask my tribe to do so, too.

What could be simpler? If you’re working in social justice, and you’re not seriously exploring crowdfunding as a piece of your fundraising plan, what are you waiting for? Because crowdfunding is hot right now.

According to the Crowdfunding Industry Report, $5.1 billion is expected to be raised using crowdfunding in 2013. That figure includes equity-, debt-, reward- and donation-based models. With popular reward-based sites such as Kickstarter breaking moneymaking records on select projects, you might be surprised to learn that 45 percent of growth was attributed to donation-based projects. Only 11 percent went to projects that offer rewards.

As for 2013, “Social Causes is by far the most popular category and drives close to 30 percent of all crowdfunding activity,” the report states.

Crowdfunding has shifted the dynamic of giving by injecting a new energy and sense of empowerment into the vein of fundraising. When you click the donate button, your contribution becomes more than the 20 or 200 bucks proffered. You’re really giving your social influence.

This prominence means that the media is on high alert, inclined to write about causes that many publications previously relegated to the public service section.

Related: Harnessing the fundraising potential of charitable crowdfunding in Canada

Crowdfunding has shifted the dynamic of giving by injecting a new energy and sense of empowerment into the vein of fundraising. When you click the donate button, your contribution becomes more than the 20 or 200 bucks proffered. You’re really giving your social influence. A buzz of excitement is created when you zoom in on an issue that matters deeply to you, share it with likeminded people and receive real-time feedback. It puts you in the middle of the action, no matter how many continents, cultural references or time zones separate you.

Crowdfunding provides a new sense of possibility and passion in a world of adversity that can seem intractable and unsolvable, giving rise to an inspiring assortment of social entrepreneurs who are finding their mojo, unleashing it and watching it ripple through time and space.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada crowdfunding hub providing education, advocacy and networking opportunities in the rapidly evolving crowdfunding industry. NCFA Canada is a community-based, membership-driven entity that was formed at the grass roots level to fill a national need in the market place. Join our growing network of industry stakeholders, fundraisers and investors. Increase your organization’s profile and gain access to a dynamic group of industry front runners. Learn more About Us or contact us at casano@ncfacanada.org.

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