What is Crowd Funding?

Crowd funding is an effort to raise money through a network of people -- usually through resources on the Internet. Many organizations, especially start-ups, turn to online tools such as Kick Starter to finance new projects and products. Crowd funding has been known to support many different activities, from helping communities recover from disasters to free software development. It widens the pool of potential donors and investors by opening up the funding process to the public. Sometimes the citizen investors are promised something in return for the support, such as a free version of product that the organization is creating. One of the appeals of crowd funding is that it is often completely transparent -- the organizations have a set amount of money they need and people can see in real-time how much left is needed, and watch the financial gap lessen as they invest.

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Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Aug 31, 2012

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the museums you know best?

  • - nhoneysett nhoneysett Oct 14, 2012 There are some examples of this, but unfortunately there are one or two high profile cases where a lot of money has been raised in a short amount of time - e.g. the Tesla Museum on IndieGoGo - www.indiegogo.com/teslamuseum. The infrastructure hasn't matured enough for this to be a panacea for museum revenue, but initiatives like ISIS (http://www.paywithisis.com/) may change that. Ironically, crowdfunding appears to more successful in the non-profit sector when combined with direct mail (according to TRGArts). Love that irony.
  • Artists are beginning to use KickStarter as a means to fund small and large scale projects. My guess is if artists can generate funding for their individual works, museums will be quick to follow in micro funding exhibitions and programs.The American Folk Art Museum is already attempting this http://www.kickstarter.com/pages/americanfolkartmuseum- scott.sayre scott.sayre Oct 14, 2012
  • Between Louis CK, Amanda Palmer, and the Tesla Museum, it seems clear that crowdfunding culture is already here. - ed.rodley ed.rodley Oct 15, 2012

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Need a mature infrastructure. The only successful museum examples are projects or discrete initiatives.
  • Another perspective here.

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

  • Probably no direct impact outside of funding for discrete technology initiatives.
  • I'm not sure I agree. I believe that micro funding museum exhibits and programs may be one of the strongest ways for the public to vote on what they want to see in and from museum exhibitions and programs.- scott.sayre scott.sayre Oct 14, 2012
  • I second the disagreement. The technology has nothing to do with it. Convincing donors that your cause is worth supporting and lowering the bar to participation are key. It's tremendously disruptive to be able to short-circuit the time-honored Development process of finding and grooming big donors in favor of getting a large number of donations so small that most museum fundraisers wouldn't bother cultivating them. - ed.rodley ed.rodley Oct 15, 2012

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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