Here’s everything you need to know about online fundraising.
Amiddle-schooler named Vidal was on his way home from school when he bumped into Brandon Stanton, the photographer behind the popular blog Humans of New York. When asked about the most influential person in his life, he told Stanton about his principal. Inspired, Stanton launched the “Let’s Send Kids to Harvard: Vidal Scholarship Fund” campaign on Indiegogo, a fundraising site. With the money, incoming classes of sixth-graders at Vidal’s school in Brooklyn could tour Harvard to ignite their academic dreams. Stanton hoped to raise $100,000. By the time the campaign ended on Feb. 22, he’d raised $1.4 million.
That is crowdfunding. Today’s hottest form of online fundraising “gives us the ability to directly bring an idea to life, no matter how big, small, wacky or serious,” says Brian Meece, co-founder of crowdfunding website Rockethub.
Bands have been asking fans for online donations for years, but since Indiegogo, Rockethub, Kickstarter and Quirky began making headlines in 2009, crowdfunding has taken off. “It democratizes creativity,” says Jamey Stegmaier, president of Stonemaier Games, who’s raised over $1 million via Kickstarter. “Crowdfunding puts the power of creation in the hands of the people; they get to vote with their money as to whether or not something will exist.”