Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. This approach taps into the collective efforts of a large pool of individuals—primarily online via social media and crowdfunding platforms—and leverages their networks for greater reach and exposure.
Crowdfunding is a form of crowdsourcing and alternative finance. In 2018, over US$50 billion was raised worldwide by crowdfunding.
What is donation based crowdfunding?
You can think of any crowdfunding campaign in which there is no financial return to the investors or contributors as donation-based crowdfunding. Common donation-based crowdfunding initiatives include fundraising for disaster relief, charities, nonprofits, and medical bills.
How is Crowdfunding different?
Crowdfunding is essentially the opposite of the mainstream approach to business finance. Traditionally, if you want to raise capital to start a business or launch a new product, you would need to pack up your business plan, market research, and prototypes, and then shop your idea around to a limited pool or wealthy individuals or institutions. These funding sources included banks, angel investors, and venture capital firms, really limiting your options to a few key players. You can think of this fundraising approach as a funnel, with you and your pitch at the wide end and your audience of investors at the closed end. Fail to point that funnel at the right investor or firm at the right time, and that’s your time and money lost.
Crowdfunding platforms, on the other hand, turns that funnel on-end. By giving you, the entrepreneur, a single platform to build, showcase, and share your pitch resources, this approach dramatically streamlines the traditional model. Traditionally, you’d spend months sifting through your personal network, vetting potential investors, and spending your own time and money to get in front of them. With crowdfunding, it’s much easier for you to get your opportunity in front of more interested parties and give them more ways to help grow your business.