Where the powers of new age technology meets the social entrepreneurial spirit, we have a small but rapidly growing industry. This is the crowdfunding business, which takes under its umbrella both for profit and nonprofit organizations, who are using technology in new and interesting ways to do good in the world, often at low costs, sustainably, and more often than not inclusively and democratically.
The crowdfunding process
How does technology work through crowdfunding to benefit individuals and communities? The answer to this question is best explained by a quick look at the process of how crowdfunding works. In simplified terms, crowdfunding is an alternative online method of fundraising, where a large group of donors come together with relatively small donations each, to meet a goal amount for a specified cause. Many of these donors are people already known to the campaigner offline – friends, family members, colleagues, neighbors – but strangers have been known to give to crowdfunding campaigns vetted by platforms for authenticity and credibility.
Where are the donors
Donors to crowdfunding campaigns are solicited on social media, including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Campaigners share their fundraiser on their social media handles, which gives the campaign visibility, and ask for help with funds. With every share, the chances of receiving a donation increases by five times. Friends of friends, who may not know the campaigner directly, are pulled in to the effort. With good campaign promotion, prominent evangelists have been known to make generous gifts to campaigns. The better and stronger a campaigner’s social media marketing plan, the higher the chances of crowdfunding success. Promoting a campaign on these social media channels, of course, is free, and many crowdfunding websites serve the campaigner by marketing the campaign on their behalf against a nominal fee.
Crowdfunding harnesses technology to good ends, and it is justified to describe the system as a tech for good initiative. Social media is used by crowdfunding platforms to bring donors and campaigners together as they agree on the need to fund a cause, and allow donations through secure payment gateways, on any smart device from anywhere in the world. Crowdfunding blurs boundaries between individuals and groups, and lets empathy thrive in the digital space. It transports stories and endorses a culture of philanthropic giving. Technology is an enabler for the process to work to its full potential, in a classic instance of the good it can do.