The first online crowd funding/sourcing idea was born in 1997, when fans underwrote an entire U.S. tour for the British rock group Marillion, raising $60,000 in donations by means of a fan-based Internet campaign. (Wikipedia). The market for crowdfunding per a research report from massolution last year stated that it doubled in 2012 to $3 billion.
There are hundreds of crowdsourcing companies now, from Christian-based www.faithlauncher.com and http://www.1and700.com to Islamic crowdsourcing sites such as http://www.shekra.com. There are those who cater to women and girls, like http://www.catapult.org. Those who focus on specific countries and regions of the world like http://www.eureeca.com for the Middle East or http://www.51give.com, http://www.emohour.com and http://www.dreamore.cn each for China.
Kickstarter, the popular self proclaimed crowdsourced funding for creative projects, released numbers for 2012 which included:
- 2,241,475 members
- $319,786,629 in pledges
- 18,109 successfully funded projects
Some donation type crowdsourcing services help specific industries, like digital media such as http://www.agency20.com or http://www.citizinvestor.com, a site that addresses civic concerns. Both http://www.healthycrowdfunder.com and http://www.caringbridge.org raise money for health-related companies and ideas. One site, http://www.inlieugiving.com, allows you to collect donations for your favorite cause in lieu of receiving gifts for your birthday, wedding, or other special occasion. DonorsChoose.org is a crowdsourcing site that allows you to select from a list of items to fund that public school teachers have asked for, or at http://www.travel720.com, you can ask for donations for a trip you are planning. Some do crowdfunding for academic research, science, music or arts only. Others concentrate on any field, but all startups, like Fundable and Seedups, using equity as the main model.
Another model is the rewards-based services like http://www.cinemashares.com, which will send you a DVD for successfully funded movie projects or Credibles, a site that gives you “edible credits” for funding food-related projects and companies. GoFundMe is a service that allows you to raise money for your choice of a large number of donation sites. Interestingly, in 2012, 3 of the top 5 largest crowdsourcing projects were video games. Whichever model used for this phenomenon, it’s clear that the Internet once again proves itself useful in gathering the resources worldwide to push ideas forward.
If you’d like to learn more about a crowdsourcing company, or hear an interview with someone in the field, let me know!