What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is an effort to raise money through a network of people, typically through a combination of social networks and fundraising platforms on the Internet. Many organizations, especially start-ups, turn to online tools such as Kickstarter to finance new projects and products. Crowdfunding has been known to support many different activities, from helping communities recover from disasters to bringing an innovative prototype through its the last phase of development. On these platforms, the pool of potential donors and investors is opened up, giving the public an opportunity to fund the process. Sometimes the citizen investors are promised something in return for the support, such as a free version of product, branded swag, or even personal letter of gratitude. One of the appeals of crowdfunding 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.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

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 Feb 8, 2012

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

  • Museums could use crowd-funding to fund raise for one time projects or needs. It could change the way we approach funding by getting less dollars per person, but getting more people to donate. However, it will not be a solution for long-term, sustainable funding needs. - ortiz ortiz Oct 29, 2014
  • This is not so much about attracting new funding for educational/curatorial projects (which is obviously in itself a good thing) but more about rather moving into spaces that are getting more and more eyeballs by the day. This will automatically give your project higher visibility and attach a kind of trendiness to your activities (also a good thing) - shazan shazan Oct 30, 2014. Agree with shazzan - david david Nov 9, 2014David
  • Not sure that I agree about the sustainability comment. What is not sustainable: relying on a small number of high-dollar-amount donors to carry our institutions. Done correctly, the concept of engaging a larger pool of smaller-amount donors would seem much more sustainable, and likely to build on its own momentum. http://www.kiva.org is certainly a prime example of success in this arena, and one that has continued to grow for several years now. At the very least, meaningful forays into this realm are high-priority tasks for a number of museums in the short-term. Watching their successes and failures will be a vital set of evidence to use in deciding how to proceed - or even whether to proceed at all. - dhegley dhegley Nov 3, 2014
  • As I have been reflecting on this, I think that crowd funding may be a very useful for smaller institutions, in particular cultural museums. Although they offer memberships, there are still those who cannot afford to participate, or even thing of becoming a member. Crowd funding may be way to increase community awareness in the institution while creating a buzz of distributed ownership. Additionally, it may prove effective for bringing in small and local businesses to participate. Although sponsorship and membership mechanisms exist, crowd funding may create different perception of museum support, and even a different way of funding special projects, events and exhibitions. There are many components to this that I think may be worth exploring in the future.

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

  • The sense of ownership that crowdfunders associate with this kind of interaction with the museum - something that only a coveted few had done in the past. Its as much about agency as it is about being fun and intervening in processes that were previous granted to a a select few (donors). - shazan shazan Oct 30, 2014
  • Although it's become a cliche to say so, most museum I know that were successful with crowdfunding (and many have failed) prefer to call it incrowdfunding. E.g. http://www.palazzomadamatorino.it/blog/?p=780. It's primarily a way to mobilise existing communities, not a great tool to find new audiences. - jasper jasper Nov 2, 2014 At least so far. Simply tossing out a museum project for funding to a large base (e.g. http://www.kickstarter.org ) has proven unsuccessful to date. But there are other approaches and exploring them is potentially important. - dhegley dhegley Nov 3, 2014
  • Crowd funding may be a way to create communities of funders as a component of wide scale collaborations. - david david Nov 9, 2014david

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

  • One-off projects, especially with low price tags, could be funded by "the crowd". Also, it could be used as a way of measuring the potential validity of museum ideas. - ortiz ortiz Oct 29, 2014 Totally agree to use crowdfunding as one of the methods for validation of ideas. By this way new audiences can be reached as well. - kaja kaja Nov 1, 2014
  • Communal 'ownership' can be a very dizzying experience. - shazan shazan Oct 30, 2014

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

Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project Sharing Form.