Many of our posts here on the Social Media Networking blog have been about the many established businesses and organizations utilizing social media platforms to enhance their relationship with consumers and optimize internal communications among employees. This post will be slightly different, focusing on the opportunity that social media can provide as a platform for crowd sourced funding.
The advent of social networking has far exceeded the basic posting, messaging, or file sharing. Crowd sourced funding websites provide a platform where individual users can raise funds to realize their vision of innovation. Entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and creators alike all flock to pitch their project to online investors via the web.
Some websites serve to raise charitable funds for both informal and well organized causes. Razoo is a platform for officially recognized nonprofit organizations to raise money. Individual users can donate as well as organize fundraisers for their favorite charities. Kiva, on the other hand, functions slightly differently. This non-profit organization serves to connect global lenders and borrowers in an effort to alleviate poverty. Lenders can loan as little as $25 to borrowers from around the world providing “fair access to affordable capital to improve their own lives.”
Indiegogo is unique in that it allows users to raise money for anything and everything. The site is one of the leading platforms for international crowdfunding platforms. It originated within the independent film industry and grew from the belief that “anyone, anywhere who is passionate and works hard should be able to raise money.”
Websites like Kickstarter and Pozible allow users to demonstrate their ideas in detail to investors by sharing their concept’s story and uploading photos and videos. This also enables small individual investors to have access to the same early stage opportunity to invest early on in the life of an idea or start-up. My cousin and his wife have used Kickstarter to fund multiple ventures in graphic design. Most recently their campaign to fund Urban Punk, a line of unique apparel, playing cards, and other gifts, has raised over $17,000 and has some 615 backers and counting!
Other platforms are geared toward a more specified field. Rock the Post is a site that promises well vetted investments and targets more serious investors by upholding a minimum investment of $1,000 :
FundaGeek provides a place for those with a technical innovation and research to pitch ideas and find financial backers willing to pledge support. On Petridish.org, renowned and often times famous scientists and researchers are hand selected to showcase their projects that need funding. This unique opportunity allows the public to make possible important discoveries and research. In turn supporters get exclusive access to new findings, acknowledgement in publications, field souvenirs, and other unparalleled opportunities.
Original Visual Aid Created by Meghan McCrory using Wordle
All of these platforms empower independent individuals to create and innovate by making these projects accessible to small time investors. In an age of big business and corporate agendas, these crowdfunding sites give individuals the power to see their own visions realized on their own terms.