It’s a common issue. The regional centres being overlooked and overshadowed by “the big smoke”. The big cities get the limelight, the attention, and (worst of all) the funding when it comes to governments dishing out the dollars in their ever tightening budgets. But now there is a way for economic development to get the stimulus and financing it needs, and for all sorts of initiatives in regional areas to secure funding – the answer is Crowd Funding.
Crowd funding, with its world-wide reach, allows for people from small communities to be as active in the global community as someone sitting in New York, London, or Rome. The “information super highway” doesn’t isolate people in regional areas in the same way that larger governments do, so everyone is equal in the eyes of “the crowd”. Whilst the sheer weight of numbers in regional centres is lighter than that of their big city counterparts, anyone anywhere can post their project onto the internet and catch the attention and support of every internet user on the planet. This alone means that typical barriers of operating in regions centres are now eliminated, and regional folk are now engaged on a level playing field.
Artistic types as well as entrepreneurs are feeling their creativity stifled as government grants and funding grants dry up in the post GFC world. Community groups and sporting clubs constantly need to come up with new and creative methods to fill the void left behind by local government cutbacks in community spending. And charities, with causes that are not time neutral and requirements that never rest, need to find new ways to fund raise that will allow them to stand out from the crowd and engage a wider audience, usually much larger than just the local regional community.
Through a well told story, some carefully selected yet highly sought-after rewards, and a well executed campaign to communicate the message to a broad (if not global) audience, crowd funding becomes the “great leveller”, making the regional project as real and relevant as the projects that originate from the major cities. Local governments just need to embrace this technology and this form of funding, and ensure that their communities are aware that such an option exists.
Fortunately, an increasing number of progressive and forward thinking local governments have started to recognise the benefits of crowd funding. As they feel the ever slowing trickle of funds coming down from national and state government budgets, they are looking for workable methods of getting the funding for the constituents they serve. While the increasing demands of the community are outstripping the supply of funds with which to meet such requests, leading local governments are suggesting crowd funding platforms like iPledg to local associations looking for funding, and as another option to community groups who have been unsuccessful in obtaining funding through traditional government avenues.
Some regional government bodies are looking to leverage off limited community funding and run with the social proof that crowd funding brings. They are opting to form a pseudo “Private / Public Partnership” whereby the government themselves conducts a crowd funding campaign against which they can gauge the projects of which their constituents are most supportive, and then match funding for projects that have the most social proof (a smart move, as it makes the government appear to be supportive of the most popular projects and of those that have the greatest weight of community support).
No longer do regional communities need to feel isolated and overlooked in preference for their capital city cousins. Crowd funding allows for them to tap into the global audience and receive the support from the crowd, wherever they may be.