What Is Crowdfunding Anyway?
Many people would be intimidated if someone asked them, “What does crowdfunding mean?”
The idea is actually quite simple. Oxford Dictionaries describes crowdfunding as, “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.”
The saying that there’s nothing new under the sun is only half correct when it comes to crowdfunding.
Fundraising is an old idea. Since the dawn of time, large groups of people have raised money for worthwhile causes. What is new, though, is the way large groups carry out the funding. There are plenty of benefits to a modern-day form of fundraising known as crowdfunding. By exploring some of those benefits, we’ll show you what makes crowdfunding superior to what used to happen.
What Does Crowdfunding Mean?
Because the platform for crowdfunding is generally the worldwide web, an unparalleled level of convenience is enjoyed. Convenience doesn’t mean a slovenly campaign attempt that brings in thousands of dollars. Without hard work on the part of any campaign raiser, very little will happen. Rather, technology makes things much easier. The term “crowdfunding” was first coined in 2006. It’s inevitably tied to the information and internet age. Crowdfunding came about because technology made it possible to meld together fundraising campaigns in a way never done before. Social media and email allow those heading up campaigns to promote their causes instantly and effectively. The equipment needed to create quality videos, photos and written content is more easily accessible than ever before. The result is a professional-looking campaign delivery that can attract the attention of hundreds and even thousands of people. One of the greatest conveniences of crowdfunding is the time factor. As soon as the need arises to raise money, something can be done. Sharing, email, giving and the receiving of funds can be accomplished with lightning fast speed compared to all previous generations.
Better Opportunity for Integrity
Many worry whether crowdfunding could more easily be exploited with the advent of the internet age. No one would deny that this could happen. There is always some inherent risk in giving. However, today’s increased technology usually allows potential givers a much better window into what’s actually happening.
They can decide whether a campaign is well put together or not. Generally, those sincere about their campaigns will expend ample effort making sure the image they portray is the best that it can be. In a sense, it's much like the decisions consumers make when they decide whether or not to go with a business based on their web presence. Potential givers aren’t simply getting a handwritten letter or phone call requesting money like many times in the past. There's a community backing solid, truthful campaigns. The best givers are typically those who personally know the one embarking on a campaign. Contrary to the belief of some, the information age allows for more transparency and integrity instead of the opposite. Typically, campaigns that are legit will clearly show that fact.
Gone are the days of traveling long distances to ask a benevolent person or family for help. Print materials for most campaigns aren’t usually necessary or the need to purchase stamps to mail out information. Even the poorest of the world can put together a campaign. Is it costly to do so? To some degree, yes. But the cost is now mostly measured in time spent on the campaign instead of startup and ongoing monetary burdens. This means that even those with the most limited resources need not be prevented from starting a campaign or giving to one that matters to them. And that is very important because of a human need we all have: to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
What is Crowdfunding?
Something Bigger Than Yourself
It’s a sad, small world for those who only think of themselves all the time. We were created for something far bigger than that. Those who study the vast depths of the oceans, the unfathomably distant reaches of outer space or the scriptures quickly learn something humbling. We all are very limited and small in our abilities to bring about much change on our own. But our extremely limited selves can embrace our weakness and do something for the good of others anyway. Once we embrace our limitations, then we’re ready to be a part of something bigger. To be used in this way is a human need as we already mentioned. It’s compelling, exciting and is the ultimate mission of anyone who’s willing to go on such an adventure. Being a part of something bigger than ourselves brings out and fulfills the reason we were born. Crowdfunding fulfills the need to be a part of a greater motivating cause. No longer is it just the extremely wealthy who are asked to share in such ventures. With crowdfunding, everyone is invited to give something no matter how small, knowing that what they’ve done in a community of other caring people will “move mountains.”
Do you feel too small to make a difference? It’s true that by yourself, you’re quite limited. We all are. With others, with God? Now, that’s a different story!
That’s what gets our team at Give Send Go so excited about facilitating Christian crowdfunding. It’s an opportunity like no other to group together with the goal of positive impact around the world.
What is Christian Crowdfunding?
There are plenty of crowdfunding sites to choose from. Part of the reason for this is that there are different types of crowdfunding. Sometimes money is lent to a campaign for a business venture and later paid back. Other types allow for certain rewards, returns or even a share in ownership of a developing business. Although these forms of crowdfunding have their place, GiveSendGo.com deals with donation crowdfunding. But our mission goes beyond that We don’t view donations to Christian causes as an investment with no “tangible” return as many Crowdfunding resources will tell you. By faith, we believe that it’s a chance to store up treasures in Heaven--to be a part of something that will matter forever. That is why we believe so much in Christian crowdfunding.
In Randy Alcorn’s novel, Deadline, Jake and his friend, Doc, had a conversation. Doc had no place for God in his life while Jake’s entire life was wrapped up in his Savior.
Doc noticed a receipt on Jake’s desk that showed he gave a large sum of money to alleviate hunger in an impoverished area of Africa. Doc told Jake he felt that the move was foolish, just putting off the inevitable suffering of those people that would happen again. Doc told Jake he should have saved the money for his disabled son, for a dream vacation or retirement.
Jake’s response sums up why we do what we do at Give Send Go.
He said, “You’re trying to think thirty years ahead. I’m trying to think thirty million years ahead.”
That is the challenge and privilege of every Jesus follower. To invest the lives and resources we’ve been given by God and use them in something that will last on through eternity.
The heart of God thrills when we give up on what we once thought mattered to do what matters more than anything else.
What is crowdfunding more than anything else for the Christian?
It’s the opportunity to be an eternal influencer and difference maker!