Crowd funding is a way to match people who want to fundraise with people who want to donate online. People can publish content for the campaign, define rewards to incentivise people to invest and how the funding will be used if successful. More and more people are using crowd funding as a way to donate online and reflects thesignificant increase of people donating online.

The main benefits that crowd funding bring are:

There are a growing variety of crowd funding platforms that people can use, for different purposes and ways of investing. Crowd funding campaigns cannot rely just on the tools platforms perform and what many of the successful campaigns do is behind the scenes. There are different skills needed to run a successful campaign.

Given the growing trend of crowd funding, more and more organisations are creating new platforms to meet different needs — be it focusing on specific issues, like legal aid, geographical areas, or types of investment, like donation, reward, equity, lending or even community shares. As the market is still immature, it’s important to analyse what type & level of commitment you’re entering into by partnering with a platform.

Criteria to assess the value of collaborating with a crowd funding platform

  1. What needs does the platform meet that other organisations/infrastructure aren’t already providing within the area?
  2. What resources does the platform provide to campaigns, investors and the council that other organisations aren’t already providing?
  3. What assets does the platform enable people to list as requiring by their investors beyond cash — be it time, goods or expertise?
  4. What type & level of commitment are we making that can enable us to work with other platforms as and when they can add better value?[4]
  5. What type of support should we be providing crowd funders that neither platforms nor others are providing to help them make the best use of crowdfunding?[5]
  6. How can crowd funding platforms be used to increase the diversity, openness and involvement of people in what gets funded?
  7. What other forms of alternative financing can be supported that work better for groups whose skills are less suited to crowd funding?

Current approaches offered by crowd funding platforms for involvement

What if…

We integrated working with a crowd funding platform to wider connected communities work to make it easier for people to develop and get involved in community projects?

We integrated working with a crowd funding platform to wider collaborative infrastructure (i.e. Brixton Pound, Made in Lambeth, Community Bonus, Lambeth Local Entrepreneur Forum, Lambeth Firesouls, etc.) for the above reasons?

Next post on how we use crowd funding for collective impact, but in the meantime would love to hear feedback on organisations that have supported people to develop skills in crowd funding or have worked with platforms to support community activity!

What if we used crowd funding methods to…

[1] Close to a third, seehttp://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/innovation_to_grow_giving_wv.pdf

[2] http://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/crowding_in_report.pdf

[3] And whether they’re more likely to invest in a project in their neighbourhood

[4] i.e. platforms which have a better reach to investors in a specific area/issue, which enable us to better us their data to map assets, etc.

[5] i.e. reaching out to networks, etc.

[6] Such as through the Community Infrastructure Levy, the Cooperative Investment Fund or other local funds

[7] Reviewing the organisations that partner local iterations of crowd funding platforms, they range from accountants, solicitors, universities, community foundations and local councils

[8] Like DigiBuddies

[9] Including crowdfunding

[10] Those mentioned in the Community Plan, as well as equality, resilience & prevention, for example bridging different groups/communities together, helping people help each other or developing social networks

Head of Strategy (Communities) @camdencouncil #localgov Director @euroalter Co-founder of #systemschange & #servicedesign progs. inspired by @cescaalbanese