Crowdfunding: What it is and how it can help educators?
What is Crowdfunding?
According to crowdsourcing.org, crowdfunding is “an approach to raising capital for new projects and businesses by soliciting contributions from a large number of stakeholders”. Wikipedia defines crowdfunding as “the collective cooperation, attention, and trust by people who network and pool their money and other resources together, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people and organizations”. In other words, crowdfunding provides a creative platform for you to get that brilliant project idea become reality by presenting it to interested people who will contribute financially to it. In short, this is an opportunity to spread the word, find sponsors, and complete your project.
The idea is really useful in education as budget is always limited especially to extra curricular projects and activities. There are many websites offering a platform for crowdfunding and I will mention a few of them below.
Choosing the type of funding depends on a few things:
1. Personal preference
You need to decide which one appeals to you the most
2. Scope of project
Some platforms are for small projects only so do your research before you post yours. If you need more substantial funding, posting on a website for small projects may not be a successful venture.
3. Type of project
Some websites are focused specifically on the arts. Others focus on business startups. You may find some to be more general than that or perhaps specifically dedicated to education. Again, if you do your research, you will find the right one for you.
So what are the types of funding? (from Crowdsourcing.org)
- Donations, Philanthropy, Sponsorship
This type of finding does not require any return on investment and stakeholders do not expect financial gains by offering to help.
This is quite self-explanatory. People lend you money to complete your project and they expect you to return it.
- Investment in exchange for equity, profit, or revenue sharing
In other words, this is sort of a barter. For example, if you invent a brand new instructional tool for teachers which has the potential to become super popular and you expect your profit to be millions of dollars, your investors may ask for a share of that profit in return.
How does crowdfunding apply in education and how can educators benefit from it? It’s simple. From school-wide projects to classroom projects, you can list anything you need extra funding for and see what you get. There are certain criteria, of course, on what constitutes a good project. Every crowdfunding website has terms and conditions as well as rules on how to present your project so it looks attractive. Whether it is an exhibition you are organizing and need to rent a hall, or it’s a field trip you want to take your student to… try the crowdfunding websites to get some additional funding. A great advantage to such an undertaking is that you can make it a class project and involve your students in it. you can literally watch the pledge grow by the numbers and your students will like the positive outcome. Once your project is posted, you can notify friends, family and coworkers about it and they can add money as well. If you decide to go with the donation type of funding, you can think of a gift you can mail to all your donors – a handmade “thank you” card made by your students, or something similar. It’s a nice gesture and you will teach your students a few lessons along the way.
Let’s take a look at some of the websites that offer crowdfunding:
This is a platform specializing in education projects. It was mentioned as an innovative idea on TED. Here’s how the creators describe their service:
Funding4Learning is a new and revolutionary way for people around the world to fund their studies and educational campaigns. F4L provides a simple online platform where anybody can raise money fast, with no hassles, and with a global reach.
This website is specializing in the arts, education, technology, writing, social enterprise, etc.
Thousands of people visit Sponsume each week. This is your chance to show your project to the world, gather support, and raise the funds you need to make it happen.
Usually for small businesses, art, theatre, design, food, technology, writing & publishing, games, etc.
Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects. We believe that: 1) A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide. 2) A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement. Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where project must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.
This website offers project funding for writers, school builders, filmmakers, crafters, community builders, singers, animators, inventors, etc.
IndieGoGo is an easy online platform for anybody in the world to raise more money, from more people, fast. With IndieGoGo you can turn your passion into a funding campaign, promote your idea, engage a fan base, and get funded. We provide all the tools you need to build a campaign and share it with the world.
This is just a very short list of crowdfudning websites. You can explore more and find the one right for you.
Best of luck with your projects!