We are in the midst of a revolution where self-organized crowds have begun to displace entrenched powers as the primary driver of social change in the world. At the heart of this revolution is the capacity for people to easily find like-minded peers and collaborate using social media tools. Crowdfunding has grown in popularity as a way for artists and entrepreneurs to directly engage their fans and invite them to help make their projects a success. The most visible element in this process is the money that changes hands. Yet, there are much more interesting (and potentially transformative) things going on that warrant special attention.
What is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is a community-engagement process between an individual or organization seeking money to create something new and a crowd of supporters who want to participate in the effort in a meaningful way. It is primarily about open collaboration among the participants that takes the form of
- An Invitation to Make A Successful Project; followed by
- A Campaign to Engage More People in the Effort; and culminating in
- A Celebration of What Everyone Has Created Together.
Note how none of these steps is really about money. Yes, there must be money pledged by fans. And the amount of money raised needs to be sufficient for achieving the goals set out initially by the project’s host. But the central action centers around meaningful engagement that empowers the crowd to create something new. This is why crowdfunding has so much potential for “game changers” in the arena of social movements. It is a fundamentally empowering process that engages people in meaningful action.
Not bad for a process that also generates revenue for cool projects, eh?