40 000 people bought a pristine New Zealand beach for public use, 62,642 people funded a cool cooler box, Exploding Kittens, a highly strategic kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette had 219 382 backers and a US campus chapel raised more than $5 million to help restore the building.
Crowdfunding is a form of alternative finance which has emerged outside the traditional financial system. Those with big dreams for big projects used to raise money from banks, investors and venture capitalists, but the popularity of crowdfunding web sites has given people with ideas access to a large number of funders who can help bring those ideas to life. Crowdfunding does not always offer participating funders a stake in the company. Instead, entrepreneurs are coming up with new ways to entice people to part with their money, for example free samples for small individual donations or sponsorship deals for companies.
There are three players in a crowd funded project:
- The Project Initiator – person with the idea
- Individuals who support the projects
- A platform that brings the parties together
These are a few popular crowdfunding sites and projects:
Youma’s smart modular charging strip lets you conveniently charge multiple electronics while customising the style and amount of functions you want. Your €30 fund will get a starter kit in February 2017. Or back Petijean in Paris, who has created a beautiful silk clothing line.
Meet Aido, a next generation family robot. He is smart, interactive, and uniquely mobile. Aido can play with your kids, help you with household chores, handle your schedule, and keep your home safe. Or you can help Hanakoa a 69-year-old captive Asian elephant currently living in unacceptable conditions in a Tokyo zoo.
Kiva has been around for a while and we really love the model. You, the funder or lender in this case, lends money to someone who uses it to grow or start a business and then pay you back. Jhuma in India would like to loan $300 to buy a cow for her dairy business and a loan of $1,175 helps Rabe’a to pay rent costs due to her house being destroyed in war. Kiva work with field partners who are responsible for screening borrowers, posting loan requests to Kiva, disbursing loans and collecting repayments. They don’t have any active borrowers in South Africa and did not operate here when I last dealt with them, but your loan can really make a huge difference to someone elsewhere in the world.
Thundafund is a local crowd funding platform, which is relatively small when compared to the big international sites, but if you want to keep your support local, this is the place to look. Their site is a bit confusing, but keep at it and you will find gems, like the Pencil Project which enables you to help kids with stationary, in KZN.
Bursary Network is a new crowd funding platform. It launched in November 2015 and was triggered by the mass student protests throughout majors South African Universities. They enable anyone to contribute to educating students attending South African universities. From as little as R100 Individuals and Institutions can partner in funding the education of students. All listed students have undergone a background check and funds raised are paid directly to the institution. To date they have 292 donors and have funded 9 students. As a donor, you can choose who you would like to fund. Honestly, there are so many great and deserving students who need financial assistance it becomes difficult to choose!
Make the projects you believe in happen, your funding could change history!