ioby wants to put a simple and proven tool — crowdfunding — in the hands of people and communities that need it. The results can be transformative, not just for people, but for places, and for power structures. This is community crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding is booming. Worldwide, people have crowdfunded more than $34 Billion, and the total amount has doubled each year for the past five years. Crowdfunding is a big topic. So let’s take a step back and look at how ioby’s model — community crowdfunding — fits in.
Crowdfunding: a proven model across industries
For emerging artists, musicians, designers and others who have used it successfully, crowdfunding has revolutionized work. It’s opened up possibilities and new markets, and has even maybe even rescued a few creative industries from collapse. And this is just the beginning. In 2014, the SEC passed Title IV. This ruling allowed unaccredited, small investors like you and me to use crowdfunding to become small-time venture capitalists.
Who’s been left out of the crowdfunding boom?
We all know the stories — $55,000 for potato salad. We’ve heard of the millions raised for wedding and medical expenses. We know this means a potential upending of streams of capital to the tune of billions of dollars.
Meanwhile, let’s look at who’s being left out of the crowdfunding boom:
- Grassroots groups who have long relied on cobbling together small grants. This is money from outside their communities, to keep their essential programs intact;
- Residents of neighborhoods who are told that because they’re poor, they can’t address their own challenges — even if they have a clear idea of the solutions;
- Anyone on the nondigital side of the digital divide
Community crowdfunding means real change
People out there have great ideas for how to improve their communities. These ideas are just as bold and innovative as any new gadget or startup idea being crowdfunded online. And most of these ideas don’t need a lot of money to get going. The average community crowdfunding project on ioby is under $4,000, with many ideas coming in at around $500 or less. In a neighborhood that has not seen much investment in decades, a small injection of cash can mean a tangible positive change.
Community crowdfunding is not magic — it’s hard work. That’s because when you reach out to your neighbors to ask for support, you’re raising more than just money. You’re building leadership, and strengthening relationships. And by doing so, you’re demonstrating the power of doing something positive together. You’re building something much bigger, and that’s power.
Community crowdfunding and the shifting power dynamic
Crowdfunding is shaking up traditional relationships between recording artists and labels, and filmmakers and distributors. Crowdfunding for communities can also shake up the relationship between communities and traditional philanthropy.
People toss around the word “disruption” a lot, but the implication here is profound:
What if we put the tools to make something positive happen in a neighborhood within reach of the people living there? We want to make sure that those tools reach people with good ideas to make positive change. That’s the kind of disruption we want to see with community crowdfunding: a future in which our neighborhoods are shaped by the powerful good ideas of our own neighbors.