Through the internet people have found new ways to generate funds for projects they work on. One such new possibility is crowdfunding. Initially crowdfunding was mostly used by small start-up companies, but more and more organizations are discovering that crowdfunding can be a new and effective way to generate funds for their projects.
The concept behind crowdfunding is to use the resources of the crowd to generate funding. The internet can be used to reach out to a very wide community of people that share similar interests. If all of them chip in a little bit of money, either through a donation or the offer of a micro-loan, substantive amounts of funds could be raised in support of the projects.
Non-profit organizations are increasingly discovering crowdfunding as a resource to find funding for small and large projects that support development and conservation.
One example of this is that of the German organization “OroVerde” which used crowdsourcing via the website “betterplace.org” to support a local partner in buying 33,000 hectare of rainforest in Naranjitos, Guatemala. Through crowdfunding they connected almost 200 donors, both companies and individuals to raise the money for buying the land and permanently protecting the forest and all the species that live there. Since its founding in 2007, Betterplace has collected donations of 10 million euros in support of nearly 5,000 projects in 147 countries.
Onepercentclub from The Netherlands is another example of an organization that has successfully used crowdfunding to secure funding as well as skills, knowledge and volunteers.
Crowdfunding in support of SLM
The background document for the UNCCD 2nd Scientific Conference (“The Economics of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought: Methodologies and Analysis for Decision-Making”) also mentions crowdfunding as a source to be used to finance Sustainable Land Management (SLM) practices in cases where large investors are less supportive.
Crowdfunding is usually done through a website, offering a mechanism to showcase projects to potential donors and lenders. Most websites additionally offer the service of processing payments, and by collecting and publishing feedback from donors and lenders, help establish trust.
There are a number of websites and platforms supporting crowdfunding that are specifically targeted at NGO’s and non-profit organizations. The advantage of using those platforms is that they have already established themselves, and are known and trusted by the people who make donations or give loans.
Making crowdsourcing successful:
The critical factor for successful crowdsourcing is to make sure you reach out to enough people. To get started you need to find a crowdfunding platform that suits your project, and present your project in a way that appeals to potential donors or lenders. Typically on crowdfunding websites, your pitch to the potential donors and lenders needs to be very short and to the point, since your project will be ‘competing’ for attention with other projects.
Gaining peoples’ trust is also a critically important factor for success of crowdsourcing through the internet. So make sure your organization is personable, approachable and open, so donors and lenders can easily see who is behind it.
Something for you?
Are you using crowdfunding for a project related to fighting desertification, land degradation or drought? Let us know, and we can publish a link to your crowdfunding page on the Marketplace.