Guest post by Ryan Currie
Crowd funding wasn’t even a word a decade ago, but the idea of publicly-raised monies for a particular cause is more than taking off. In 2013, an estimated $51.3 billion is expected to be raised by the over 500 crowd funding platforms in existence.
Most crowd funding sites operate under the goal of sourcing money to be used for a professional endeavor: a new product, a groundbreaking service, or even an app that performs certain functions. But what about the sites that are using crowdsourcing for more than just profit and want to give back to the common good?
Start Some Good is one of the first and only crowd funding sites that raises money for change. The difference in Start Some Good and some other non-profit crowd funding sites is that SSG doesn’t discriminate against for-profit and unincorporated businesses, making its services available to anyone who has an idea that could affect a positive social change. Start Some Good is also worldwide and totally non-specific when it comes to causes unlike other peers in the industry.
Kiva is the first site of its kind and one of the more talked-about social platforms on the web. The premise is simple: donors can give as little as $25 towards a specific micro-loan goal and those funds are then used to help impoverished people establish businesses of their own. Kiva has hundreds of “Field” volunteers across the globe that facilitate the transfer and implementation of funds and the business model itself is totally non-profit. The difference in Kiva and other crowd funding sites is that since money is going towards micro-loans, it nearly always gets paid back to the investor! In fact, Kiva boasts a 99.02% repayment rate.
Crowd Rise has a casual, trendy point of view and it’s working to attract young social entrepreneurs in droves. The site allows anyone to set up a fundraiser for a charity of their choice – from the Red Cross to a tiny local 501(c)(3) – and collect money using the power of social media. Crowd Rise is unique in that it allows anyone who has drive and social connections to be a micro-fundraiser. Crowd Rise does take a cut of the proceeds and investors can typically write off their investments for tax purposes.
Give Forward is a crowd funding site with a specific, personal goal. The site is most often used to raise funds directly for an individual or family in need, allowing donators to give back to specific people. Many of the causes on Give Forward are medically related, although requests for donations have been made for everything from educational costs to rebuilding after a house fire. Give Forward is a great site for inciting good works within a hyper-local sphere.
If VCs are to be believed, crowd funding is the wave of the future; it’s no secret many profitable businesses and initiatives have caught traction using the web to source funds. If you love the idea of contributing to something bigger and also interested in doing good works, consider a verified crowd funding site that contributes directly to worthwhile causes.
Ryan Currie is a Product Manager at Spokeo, a leader in people search and reverse phone lookup services. In addition to working on Spokeo, he also enjoys history, pop culture, and following the latest new in the movie industry.