Crowdfunding – the new democracy? 


 Crowdfunding isn’t as new as one might think, in fact it’s been around for centuries. Back in the days, the State would raise money from taxation, and the Church would raise money from the crowd. How do you think all those groundbreaking architectural achievements got funded, the Cathedrals, and so on. Partly at least, from Medieval Crowdfunding. And today, in churches up and down the country, the crowd, or congregation, donate money to buy new chairs, or extend the building, or send someone on mission, and so on and so forth. Frequently it’s not the idea that’s new, it’s the technology that enables the resurgence of old ideas in a modern way. 

 Crowdfunding itself is undergoing a considerable horizontal and vertical expansion. More and more people are getting involved in supporting crowdfunding campaigns, and an ever-increasing array of crowdfunding platforms now offer and array of potential things to fund, not all of them investments by any means. 

Community crowdfunding is looking to make a major comeback. Already libraries, cinemas, and other local projects are being crowdfunded by communities. Local governments may choose to nudge increasingly more of their projects in this direction, reducing their own costs and passing them onto the communities who are directly benefitting.  

Individuals are crowdfunding themselves, their education, their medical treatments. Even funerals have been quietly crowdfunded.  

All this is positive. It’s people engaging with each other, and with projects that personally move them. They may or may not know the recipients, but as a form of charitable giving, the efficiencies of supporting localised crowdfunding projects certainly appeals to many people, and the transparency and security of donating in this way is equally reassuring. 

What is democracy, if not the crowdsourcing of leaders?

Crowdsourcing, of information, talent, skills, people, coupled with crowdfunding to fuel the enterprise, whatever that may be, is the most ‘democratic’ and possibly the most efficient way to get things done.  

In the coming years, and decades, almost unimaginable in the terms of tech innovation, crowdfunding of events, communities, ideas, people, lives, may well become the norm. Perhaps we’ll all have a personal crowdfunding account, just like we have a social media account, and we can share our money back and forth with friends and network contacts.  Just like the good old days. 


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