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).

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

  • I think crowdfunding continues to provide a unique opportunity to seed research projects and perhaps more importantly fund student work. Web sites like Kickstarter not only deliver a new and fast source of funding for academic institutions, but also for their students. After witnessing friends and colleagues successfully fund projects through Kickstarter, I’ve decided to incorporate information about crowdsourcing into my curriculum. Particularly because many of my students are engaged in game design, animation, and movie making. [- matthew.worwood matthew.worwood Oct 21, 2013]
  • An interesting business model that should be taught in Business classes and is not in my opinion relevant to impact higher education.

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

  • Perhaps specific references that expand beyond Kickstarter? http://rockethub.com/ for example. I also think its worth mentioning the relationship some of these campaigns have with social media? Some of the people I know who've had success through crowdfunding have been extrememly productive with how they've promoted the campaign online. [- matthew.worwood matthew.worwood Oct 26, 2013]Also, some discussion of the differences between models - e.g. pseudo-investment (Kickstarter), true investments/microloans, donations, etc.- rubenrp rubenrp Oct 28, 2013
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • I think it has the potential to change how academics and students secure 'early' funding for projects. Traditional forms of funding may be limited to larger, government or corporation sponsored grants, where as smaller funds become obtained through Web sites like Kickstarter. As part of this process, not only must individuals consider writing to the rubric, but also how they communicate their story to an audience made up of hundreds of individuals. Creative using of diigtal media will become vital in selling your idea through social media and the content of a grant proposal may lack detail as writers develop concerns about the level of detail shared in a public project proposal.[- matthew.worwood matthew.worwood Oct 21, 2013]
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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