I’m turning 30 in about 10 days (gulp!), and so I’ve decided to start a little last minute ‘before I’m 30…’ project! Basically, what I’m going to do is give gifts of $30 to support individuals/organistions that are using web-based crowdfunding platforms to raise funds for projects/initiatives/products that I think are cool.
I’ve known about sites like Kiva and Kickstarter for ages, and think they’re great. I tell lots of people about them and think that they are an exceptional tool for using the internet to connect entrepreneurs and investors at a micro-level but with a potentially huge impact. But I’ve never used one of these sites myself. Time to put my money where my mouth is so to speak, and consciously direct my online attention to things that I care about.
Sites I’m looking at…
The different sites/models that I’m looking at using are:
GlobalGiving: an online marketplace that connects you to the causes and countries you care about. You select the projects you want to support, make a contribution, and get regular progress updates – so you can see your impact. All donations go through the GlobalGiving Foundation.
GlobalGiving works on a pretty traditional charitable donation model, but makes it easy to search a range of different causes by country or topic. Each donation amount is matched to an outcome (for example your $50 donation may provide stationary and books for 6 months to an education centre in India) so that you can see the kind of impact that your donation will have.
Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending. Kiva is based on a lending rather than donation model. Entrepreneurs repay their loan and once their payment is received, Kiva uses these funds to credit the appropriate lenders with their loan repayments. Lenders can re-lend their funds to another entrepreneur, donate their funds to Kiva (to cover operational expenses), or withdraw their funds via PayPal.
Kickstarter allows project creators to seek funding for their projects. Every project has a funding goal (any dollar amount) and a time limit (from 1 – 90 days) set by the project creator. When the deadline is reached, there are either of two results – either the funding is successful, or the funding is unsuccessful. Funders make a pledge to a project in exchange for rewards which are determined by project creators. Every Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money changes hands. Project creators keep 100% ownership.
RocketHub is a similar platform although seems to be aimed more at creative projects. Both Kickstarter and RocketHub are dominated by US-based projects, so it’s great to see the recent launch of Fundbreak – Australia’s first crowdfunding platform.
For my 1st $30…
I’ve made a donation via GlobalGiving to provide affordable sanitary pads for 1500 Ugandan girls. It was at the 2009 Social Enterprise World Forum that I heard Lillian Masebenza talk about how girls in many African villages were missing 5 days of school per month because they didn’t have access to basic female sanitary products. For all that we might invest in establishing educational facilities in developing communities and in driving cultural change that promotes the value of educating young girls, if these girls are missing almost a quarter of their school days then they remain hugely disadvantaged.