Crowd funding (crowd sourcing) illustrates the power that large groups of individuals have to collaboratively advance new projects and initiatives.
People who participate in crowd funding most commonly network with one another via the Internet. When a needy project appears on their radar, interested individuals pool their resources to support specific people, organizations, or businesses.
The roots of crowd funding can be found in the area of nonprofit development. For a long time, nonprofit fundraisers have understood that pursuing a high volume of small contributions can sometimes be more effective than focusing on a handful of big money contributors. Social media and other online tools have opened the door even further for this innovative approach to resourcing.
One of the pioneers of crowd sourcing is IndieGoGo.com. Their website gives organizations and individuals a ready-made vehicle for soliciting funds for a broad range of causes. The arts, technology, education, politics–whatever kind of project you're trying to raise money for, IndieGoGo.com can be a great resource for raising several thousand dollars.
Here are a few examples of projects currently being funded on the IndieGoGo.com website.
American Heroes 9 to 5
The arts have a strong presence on IndieGoGo.com. American Heroes 9 to 5 is a great example of how creative entrepreneurs use crowd funding to acquire necessary capital. The project is a startup cartoon comedy about the everyday lives of superheroes. The principals are asking funders for $3500 to create a three-minute trailer that will be used in their marketing and distribution efforts. As with many IndieGoGo.com projects, American Heroes 9 to 5 offers funders perks including a mention in the trailer credits.
Haiti Cell Phone Survey
An organization called SciMetrika is requesting funding for a cell phone survey in Haiti. The purpose of the survey is to produce reliable estimates about the continuing economic impact of the Haitian earthquake. Like other IndieGoGo causes, their funding request includes a comprehensive description of the project. According to their listing, SciMetrika is planning to contribute $10K of general funds for the project with the hopes of raising an additional $5K through crowd funding.
The Appleseed Project
The Appleseed Project is a group of open source developers and enthusiasts raising money to complete distributed social networking software. Their goal is to raise $10K for their efforts. With 35 days left to fund the project, they need to raise more than $9K. crowd funders who participate at the $500 or more level receive a year of technical support for the finished Appleseed software.