Growing business togheter, Collective financing
In crisis, seek funding for social projects is becoming more and more complicated. We often come across with companies, institutions, individuals and foundations that regularly collaborated before and now can’t provide a economic contribution.
However, there are different ways to get funding and we want to focus on one that is becoming popular in areas like music, cinema, etc. This is the "crowdfunding".
The idea of crowdfunding is not new. It consists on creating a network of collaborators, who fund initiatives with small contributions. Basically, the concept comes from donations and microloans, with the addition that takes advantage of the Internet to recruit collaborators and facilitate their economic contributions.
In the early twenty-first century, some French producers launched a campaign to fund their film. Thanks to the small contributions of many people, they got a large sum in less than a month. Since then, there have been many other movies that have come forward in this way, as well as musical albums by artists who began his musical career.
The Advantages of crowdfunding
The crowdfunding as we currently know it has several characteristics that can be very useful to any social project that needs funding.
First, is a resource that is used to finance any kind of project: research, business creation, art, technology, travel ... and the range of amounts requested is very large, from small quantities to others very high, depending on the project. In the USA, a company is asking for $200 to create an educational video game.
Second, crowdfunding allows very flexible contributions, according to the possibilities and interests of each person, and in a simple way through the website. There are projects in which the minimum contribution is 2 euros, a figure more than affordable for anyone who wants to participate. In most of the projects, applicants offer something in return. In the case of the French film cited above, all the names of the people who collaborated appeared in the end credits. In other cases, they send photographs, signed books, etc.
Third, crowdfunding projects normally pledge to return the money in case they don’t reach the amount needed.
Fourth, the projects have deadlines for receiving contributions. Far from being a drawback, a concrete date contributes to move quickly to make the payment and keep people interested in the project.
This web pages include in each project a deadline and also how many people are participating, how much money has managed the project, how much funding has been achieved at the time, and so on. These statistics can push people to collaborate. An example: if an interesting project needs $20 to complete its financing and the deadline ends tomorrow... Won’t you be tempted to bring them that money?
Finally, as the projects are based on the Internet, they can easily be publicized and disseminated. This makes it easier to reach people who we don’t know. It is also more transparent: everyone knows how much we need and how we spend the money. And it's also more responsible, because somehow we “report” to the collaboratos.
Currently, there are several websites that offer the crowdfunding system to get finance for various projects in which we can include our own.
In Spain, for example, there are several pages that we can check and include our projects. One is Verkami (www.verkami.com). Another similar is Lanzanos (www.lanzanos.com). Here we find an entire area devoted to solidarity projects. In Italy we can visit Eppela (http://www.eppela.com). And in Latin America we find pages like Ideame (http://idea.me/), or the popular BananaCash born in Argentina (http://www.bananacash.com.ar/).
These pages are mainly based on another best known from the United States: Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com). This page is very complete and easy to navigate, it includes all kinds of information about the projects and the initiatives are categorized by its size, expiration date, popularity, etc..
We can find many other sites like Kickstarter, some of them specialized in a particular category of projects, such as art or entrepreneurship, for example. Some of these pages are: Quirky (http://www.quirky.com) RocketHub (http://www.rockethub.com) FundBreak (http://www.fundbreak.com.au), IndieGoGo (http :/ / www.indiegogo.com) FansNextDoor (http://en.fansnextdoor.com).
Although these pages deal with many different subjects and sometimes they only awaken interest in local projects, they can help us as inspiration to start our own crowdfunding web pages, in which we show only of our projects.
Asking for donations is nothing new and we are probably already doing something like this, but surely we can learn something new about this system so popular today and apply it to our interests.