A colleague at The Monitor Institute pointed me to this "research" on crowdfunding. Some of it just blew my mind.
(Photo from http://www.crowdsourcing.org/editorial/crowdfunding-industry-trends-and-statistics-infographic/25662)
If these numbers are even close to correct, "social causes" (undefined in the "research") accounted for 38% of 2012 crowdfunding, which totalled $2.7 billion in 2012. That puts global social cause crowdfunding last year at $1,026,000,000. And this undefined category of "social cause" doesn't include the performing arts, film, music, or environmental projects. This is notable since a review of categories of funding on Kickstarter noted that dance projects were the most successful.
With the strong caveat that this isn't academic research, it's self-interested marketing "research," that's a lot of money.
I am interested in learning more about:
- Where does institutional philanthropy fit in around these crowdfunded dollars? Are foundations funding projects before they raise money from the crowd, and then helping them raise those funds?
- Are foundations tracking crowdfunding campaigns in the proposals they receive from nonprofits? What trends are they seeing? How are they thinking about this information as a signal about fundraising trends? Idea-testing trends?
- If there are foundations interested in sharing their data on question #2 above, I'd love to coordinate research on this at the Stanford Digital Civil Society Lab, possibly in partnership with the new crowdfunding lab at UC Berkeley. Contact me.
- I know of at least three start up consulting firms aimed at helping people run successful social good crowdfunding campaigns. There are probably 300 if not 3000 such firms. What do we know - what should we be tracking - about the emerging ecosystem around social cause crowdfunding?
- I expect crowdfunding campaigns will play an increasing role in raising funds for disasters such as the Philippine typhoon. Who/where will those data be tracked?
- My upcoming Blueprint 2014 (available December 4 at http://www.grantcraft.org/blueprint14) predicts a major crowdfunding scandal in 2014. So I'll be watching.
Here's the full infographic of the research findings. The report is available for sale.