During the past 5 years Crowdfunding has been doubling in size every year. And according to experts - this is only the beginning.
In 2011 - $1.3 billion were raised through Crowdfunding. In 2012 this grew to $2.7 billion (of these nearly 1 billion were collected in Europe). In 2013 - $5.5 billion was raised. And in 2014 this is set to grow once again by 100%. In each of these cases Europe accounts for 30-40% of the funds raised.
Today there over 1,000 Crowdfunding platforms. Each of these is slightly different, specializing in every type of campaign, organization, or project you could think of. There is something for everyone.
This is the best time to start a Crowdfunding campaign, as the industry is in a period of huge growth, while at the same time not many organizations are aware of it yet. However, that is set to change, as industry headlines covering Crowdfunding have increased by 9,900% since 2004.
Who uses Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding was initially used primarily by artistic and cultural organizations, in order to finance independent films, up-and-coming bands, and grass-root forums.
However, in recent years, since Civil Society organizations have started using this tool, much more money has been raised for "Social Causes" than any other sector.
"While donation-based crowdfunding has blossomed on the public stage for getting arts and music projects funded, the majority of crowdfunding campaigns back social causes or startups." Forbes
Why use Crowdfunding?
Other than the obvious reason - to acquire financing, Crowdfunding has many other important benefits for the organizations that use it.
Crowdfunding is very important to non-profit and non-governmental organizations, which want to remain independent of governmental funding and influence.
This is especially true of many pro-European projects, which want to create "a more democratic Europe" (a common slogan for many of us), without being linked to the very institutions which we are trying to make more democratic.
Another key aspect is gaining legitimacy, by showing how many loyal, enthusiastic and pro-active followers our organizations have.
If a project can raise a few thousand euros from its followers (especially if these followers are primarily young people without significant savings), it shows just how passionate they are about the organization, how much faith they have in it, and how much they want it to succeed.
This increases the respect, reputation and legitimacy of the organization.
European Civil Society Crowdfunding Campaigns
A number of European non-profits have started campaigns:
> The ECI for Unconditional Basic Income recently collected € 22,869!!
> Rock the Union - A pan-European tour aiming to raise awareness about the European Elections, is currently collecting funds.
> The European Federalist Party has just started a campaign to support a website uniting all of their national sections, and communicating their message more effectively.
> The Youth Association for a Greater Europe, will soon start crowdfunding for a huge Forum next Summer, which will include concerts, seminars, parties, and a visit to the Council of Europe.
> OneEurope will start a Crowdfunding campaign on the 1st of March, in order to build an advanced, interactive platform for European news and debates.
A Revolutionary Tool
The European Civil Society has just received a powerful tool to increase its reach, enhance its reputation and boost its finances.
This is perhaps the greatest development for non-profits, start-ups, and NGOs since the rise of social media.
Crowdfunding is here to stay. And not only to stay, but to continue growing in the years to come. This growth will bring more independence, more financing and more momentum to the Civil Society. And this in turn will boost civil initiatives, social participation and democracy to a height we have never seen before.
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