4 things you didn't know about civic crowdfunding

Rodrigo Davies at opensource.com: “Crowdfunding is everywhere. People are using it to fund watches, comic books, even famous film directors are doing it. In what is now a $6 billion industry globally, I think the most interesting, disruptive, and exciting work that’s happening is in donation-based crowdfunding.

That’s worth, very roughly, $1.2 billion a year worldwide per year. Within that subset, I’ve been looking at civic projects, people who are producing shared goods for a community or broader public. These projects build on histories of community fundraising and resource pooling that long predate the Internet; what’s changed is that we’ve created a scalable, portable platform model to carry out these existing practices.
So how is civic crowdfunding doing? When I started this project very few people were using that term. No one had done any aggregated data collection and published it. So I decided to take on that task. I collected data on 1224 projects between 2010 and March 2014, which raised $10.74 million in just over three years. I focused on seven platforms: Catarse (Brazil), Citizinvestor (US), Goteo (Spain), IOBY (US), Kickstarter (US), Neighbor.ly (US), and Spacehive (UK). I didn’t collect everything. There’s a new crowdfunding site every week that may or may not have a few civic projects on it. If you’re interested in my methodology, check out Chapter 2. I don’t pretend to have captured every civic project that has ever existed, but I’m working with a representative sample.
Here are four things I found out about civic crowdfunding.

  1. Civic crowdfunding is small-scale but relatively successful, and it has big ambitions.
  2. Civic crowdfunding started as a hobby for green space projects by local non-profits, but larger organizations are getting involved.
  3. Civic crowdfunding is concentrated in cities (especially those where platforms are based).
  4. Civic crowdfunding has the same highly unequal distributional tendencies as other crowd markets. …”