I’ve gotta say, I *L.O.V.E* Crowdfunding! And not just because I am currently raising funds to move to Peru to volunteer to help build a Permaculture -based Eco-village Healing Retreat Center (Learn more or donate here ). Crowdfunding is the spirit of Democracy at its finest, putting the power “Be the Change We Wish to See in the World” back in the hands of the people, on a collective and individual level, and helping to re-distribute resources.
It’s a way of voting with your dollars, that is an actual vote, unlike our flawed
oligarchy electoral system. This is how we are subverting the current economic paradigm and wresting it from the greedy grubbing hands of evil corporations.
I’ve been a proponent and enthusiastic donor for years. The 1st Kickstarter I contributed to was a complete stranger and it was to design and produce pouring caps for mason jars (Re-Cap). A friend (who didn’t know the fundraiser either) posted it on her Facebook page, and I just thought it was a great idea. It was fun to follow along, get updates and watch the innovative product come to fruition, and we got to weigh in on logo design.
This is a great method for the person raising funds, whether they are birthing a new product, album or raising funds to adopt a child, or pay for medical expenses, b/c the power to decide is no longer with the banks, institutions or establishments. But it’s also extremely rewarding to be a supporter. These last few years, as my income has dwindled to a trickle and finally a complete drought, nothing has brought me a robust a sense of abundance and empowerment as being able to help fund someone else’s dreams. Even during those dark months when I was floating in liminal space, seeding someone’s vision was holding space for germinating my own.
And let’s face it, if we take a close look at how we *really* spend our money, there’s a lot of bloat in our budgets- bunch of kale yellowing in the veg bin anyone? $5 latte that leaves you feeling all jittery? Do you really *need* another pair of leggings? Forget to return those library books for a week? Think how good it would feel, instead, using that green energy to contribute to something lasting. Many people think $5 isn’t worth bothering, but if 100 people contribute $5, that’s $500, and so on. Every drop in the ocean is a meaningful part of the ocean.
Another perk of contributing and receiving funding through crowdfunding platforms is that it helps weave us together in community to create a tapestry of belonging. Often times fundraisers will offer “perks”, but even if they don’t offer anything tangible, stories and lives are woven together. If you contribute to a couple’s fundraiser for infertility treatment, you are probably going to feel a little more vested in how that child fairs for the rest of it’s life; it’s just human nature to want to be connected– AND– it’s a part of human nature we are sorely lacking in modern society.
Whenever I feel lack and tell myself I can’t afford to give someone else money (and given that I haven’t had any source of income in 9 months, that would be a reasonable thought), I remind myself that it’s not the $5 or even the $300 over the course of a year that is going to bankrupt me.
So, are you curious what type of crowdfunding projects I’ve supported? Contributions are usually in the $5-100 range and about 1/3 are to people I have no other connection with. Here’s a partial list:
- Re-cap mason jar cap design
- send an new acupuncturist to Nepal to volunteer providing free services to underserved people
- help with medical expenses after an accident
- funding writing an inspirational book
- public yarn-bombing art project to raise awareness of needs of homeless folks (and provide warm scarves)
- setting up a ceramic studio in a bus for a single mum/potter
- for a band to produce a new album
- for a singer-songwriter to make a CD
- operational funds for a local tiny bookstore
- build an environmental learning center for children
In my own current fundraising campaign, almost half the contributions are from people I never met, who are either inspired by what I’m doing or feel compassionate for the health problems I’m experiencing. I find that a humbling and encouraging statement about humanity.
If you feel moved, I hope you’ll check out my fundraiser and donate an amount that feels good and right to you. But even if you don’t, I really encourage you to donate to some crowdfunder that speaks to your heart, even if you’re broke; especially if you’re broke. Common crowdfunding platforms where you can peruse projects to donate to are, Go Fund Me, Indigogo, Kickstarter and the one I’m using, You Caring. Try it, you’ll like it.