The Future of Crowdfunding

At the 2015 Bay Area Bold conference held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Dr. Manuel Pastor, professor and PERE director at USC, recalled a conversation with his son wherein he asked, “Joaquín, why are you going to study music?  After thinking, his son replied, “I want to make beauty with my friends.”  With global revenue expected to reach $34 billion in 2015, crowdfunding is enabling the co-creation of beauty.  As a tool for democratic philanthropy, it has the potential to localize investment, improve stewardship of the commons, and make public the blueprints for empathetic innovation.

cf3Unfortunately, the words “crowd,” and “funding,” don’t lead seamlessly towards feelings of intimacy. Yet, crowdfunding signifies the act of breathing a dream into the public sphere, trusting that it will be backed by friends and also by strangers.  This spirit and practice is  becoming ubiquitous, with crowdfunding campaigns launched in sectors of business, science, education, and so on.  Crowdfunding is a useful and powerful tool in that it provides a singular space to make an appealing pitch, which a broad base of potential investors can see.  Rather than rely on a single patron, artists, scientists, and thinkers can reach out to the masses.

Crowdfunding signifies the act of breathing a dream into the public sphere, trusting that it will be backed by friends and also by strangers.

Let’s take a look at a couple of real-time examples that rely upon crowdfunding principles. Rather than relying on support from major private donors, Bernie Sanders has banked on small donations from a broad support base, generating 26 million in the third quarter of presidential primaries.  Maybe your niece, Yessica will be next to crowdfund her campaign for class president and open that Crowdfunding (1)ice cream bar.  In 2010, an engineer named Cesar Harada, utilized Kickstarter to crowdfund a robot that could be deployed to clean up oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico.  Crowdfunding, guided by particular social criteria and peer feedback, will expand access to knowledge that is both practical and powerful.

LikeMinded aims to carve a niche in the crowdfunding world focused on placemaking.  The praxis of placemaking seeks to unearth the  assets of a community that will lead to people feeling intimately connected to their surroundings and each other.  By seeking projects that center on place and establishing an online community to nourish them, we hope to enhance the social and capital investment happening in civil society on a local level.

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Featured image taken from AAPIP- Building Democratic Philanthropy: <http://bit.ly/1KUrBHQ&gt;

Subsequent images from Media Shift: <http://bit.ly/1Z857Nd&gt;, Bawart: <http://www.nawartpress.com/en/thats-interesting/&gt;, and Old Place/New Tricks: <http://oldplacenewtricks.com/&gt;. October 1st, 2015.

The Future of Crowdfunding

Likeminded’s Push for Vital Communities

A decade ago, LikeMinded co-founder Lynn Luckow initiated a conversation about storytelling in the nonprofit and philanthropic worlds.   Pointing to the role of civil society in generating counter-narratives, sociologist Robert Bella writes, “Civil society contrasts the public focus with the market’s material and private focus, and helps generate a public conversation and a richer quality of life.”  Luckow was advancing the place of community vitality in a healthy democracy and calling for success stories to be gathered as a strategic resource.

Luckow was advancing the place of community vitality in a healthy democracy and calling for success stories to be gathered as a strategic resource.

At this time in history focus on the local community as a critical site of change was not fully acknowledged.  However, emphasis on establishing vibrant, equitable, and sustainable communities has emerged alongside technologies of social media and crowdfunding. Neighbors are organizing community days, demanding interaction, and establishing a placemaking movement.  Yet barriers still inhibit organizations and individuals from working together to realize shared community aspirations.  
With critical input from advisors and through interviews and focus groups, Luckow determined that community-based organizations needed a platform to share stories of success and a streamlined process of fundraising.  Sharing stories creates a clearer narrative of what works and what’s happening, while inspiring action on a local level.  The mission of LikeMinded is to fund projects for the common good, while facilitating the partnerships that will enable shared impact that reinforces human cohesiveness.  

Through our crowdfunding platform, the pathway to funding quality projects is made accessible to everyday people (no more $500 a plate dry chicken dinners), and the much-needed 360º perspective of collective imagination is rendered visible. LikeMinded seeks to harness the power of crowdfunding, networks of support via social media, and people power to enhance local collaboration and retool American civic capacity across communities.   

Likeminded’s Push for Vital Communities

LIKEMINDED: OUR PURPOSE AND PHILOSOPHY

Notes from a conversation with LikeMinded cofounder, Lynn Luckow

by Abe Levine 

Using crowdfunding in ways we’ve never dreamed of is the trajectory for Lynn Luckow’s LikeMinded.  After 30 years experience in the nonprofit world and deep reflection on the critical question: “Have we made an impact?” Luckow is introducing LikeMinded to the world – and more specifically, to local communities.  A platform dedicated to crowdfunding local projects happening on a national scale, LikeMinded will assist organizations in achieving reciprocal goals of raising money and uniting local residents for community prosperity.

When considering participation in our democracy, voting and volunteering come to mind.  Yet, elections and good deeds may not fully engage the talents and assets of everyday people in action for social change.  In order to feel empowered, people need to be informed of where they can put both their sweat equity and financial support, in ways that directly impact their immediate surroundings.  By showcasing transformational projects happening in our backyards, the online stage is set for off-line action.  Everybody becomes a potential philanthropist and agent in local change.

By showcasing transformational projects happening in our backyards, the online stage is set for off-line action.

The world of crowdfunding is expansive, with platforms enabling $8.5 billion to be transferred from donors to recipients in the U.S. in 2015.  What positions LikeMinded as a leader in the world of digital crowdfunding is: First, its charge to focus on efforts that are hyper local, Second, its built-in design to initiate partnerships for the common good.  In addition to raising the general public’s awareness of quality projects, LikeMinded vitalizes an organization’s push to expand their support network – across business, government, and all regions of of civil society.  Facilitating these unanticipated partnerships strengthens a shared effort towards community resilience and interconnectedness.

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While bolstering great projects LikeMinded proposes to unearth the social capital needed to build a people-powered movement that “un-silos” civil society.   The goal is clear: revolutionize civic participation to catalyze collective impact.  In this process, the ordinary person reconsiders her relationship in community.  Through direct connections formed between trendsetting organizations and the people in their nexus, changemakers will be inspired to use the LikeMinded crowdfunding platform to reimagine the place they call home.

Image taken from Buzz Canuk: <http://bit.ly/1Gf74M5&gt;.  September 29th, 2015.

Feature Image taken from JotFlow: <http://bit.ly/1PLXAgK&gt;.  September 29th, 2015.

 

LIKEMINDED: OUR PURPOSE AND PHILOSOPHY