When Ryan Wardell set up crowd funding platform, Project Powerup, he demonstrated the proof was definitely in the pudding by using his own crowd funding platform to raise the funding required to complete his platform. Whilst it sounds like a loop, Ryan not only raised the bridge funding on his own platform to take it to Beta version, he proved that crowd funding platforms can initiate fund raising themselves to build on the greater good. Today, the opportunity also exists to not only look inward, but to for platform operators to use their own platform for the greater community good.
iPledg, leading broad based crowd funding platform assisting those with creative, commercial, charitable and community projects are now following suit by using their own platform to deliver greater benefit to the community. The owners of iPledg are now not only platform operators but project creators as they and their team initiate projects aimed to deliver a benefit to the broader community. Initially, the projects will be low-level targets, aimed at bringing their crowd funding workshops to cities across Australia. Not only will these projects cover the out-of-pocket expenses in conducting the workshops, they will be (for many) the first time they get a taste of the whole exercise of crowd funding.
The format of these campaigns is simple. The funding target will be just a few hundred dollars to cover the cost of venue, teas and coffees, and some nibblies for attendees. Prospective project supporters will be invited to pledge their support in return for a ticket to either the morning session (all about crowd funding) or the afternoon session (the Crowd Funding Toolbox, aimed at teaching attendees how to make their campaigns really sing!). As an added sweetener, project supporters can make a pledge that allows them to come to both sessions at an even further discounted rate.
This is the first foray into iPledg utilising their own platform to bring benefit to the community. The next step will be to periodically choose one cause and run a project for the benefit of that charity or community initiative. iPledg will run it as one of their own, and engage the broader iPledg community, their databases and networks to benefit a particular person or institution who will receive the funds raised.
This then becomes the first building blacks of the soon-to-be-commenced “iPledg Foundation”. Touted for launch early in 2014, iPledg Foundation will see reinvestment of company revenues into supporting artistic, business, charitable and community projects to give even more people the ability to fund their passion.
Given the recent rise in the number of crowd funding platforms over the past year, the potential exists for this form of e-commerce to really demonstrate its true intention when it comes to being a tool to build better communities. With over 500 platforms globally, and over $6billion dollars projected to be raised by platforms this year, surely there would be a considerable impact to communities globally if platform owners not only reinvested their revenue into assisting those in need, but to use their platforms and their skills to lead aid initiatives in some form. Perhaps this is the challenge that awaits platform owners in the months and years to come.