And the Oscar Goes To…YOU!

When Inocente took home an Oscar last weekend it wasn’t just a win for the filmmakers but for hundreds of micro-investors who helped the film come to life. The film was powered by Kickstarter, an online crowdfunding platform that is changing the way films, nonprofits, companies, everyone is getting the capital they need to reach their dreams.

Inocente is an inspiring story of a 15 year old homeless girl with a fearless determination to become an artist.  It’s a brilliant example of a social change project that was able to be realized with a little help of a large online community. The film was made possible by 294 backers who believed in the message and invested anywhere from $10 to $2,500 to make it happen. In total they raised $54,527 for the film and in exchange they received thank yous on the film’s website and Facebook wall, t-shirts, posters, and more.

Inocente isn’t the only crowdfunded film nominated for an Academy Award. Two other Kickstarter films were nominated this year and three were nominated last year. Ten percent of the films at Sundance this year were funded through Kickstarter. Last month the company announced that it surpassed $100 million in donations to independent films proving it has become a powerful force in the industry for funding non-traditional movies.

Yet it’s not just films getting a boost from crowdfunding. Oscar attendee, Edward Norton created Crowdrise to help people raise money for great causes. Their hilarious website makes it easy for anyone to start a campaign and get their network involved in raising money about a cause they care about. Crowdrising harnesses individuals who have a passion for change and makes it easy (it takes about 10 minutes to create a page) for them to give back in a big way.

Another example is Start Some Good, a platform that helps changemakers mobilize and grow their communities to raise funds, share contacts, and help them develop the skills they need to impact their communities. They focus on social entrepreneurs, both for profit and nonprofit, and use crowdfunding to help them build their social ventures.  In the first 9 months they had 34 successful campaigns which launched everything from a mobile app that helps save lives where there are no doctors available to a project to change the perception of Bangladesh.

Then there’s the incredible success of Matthew Inman. He raised $20,000 in 64 minutes and over $450,000 in just 24 hours using the crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Thirty-three thousand people contributed to his campaign to build a museum in honor of Nikola Tesla making it the fastest growing campaign in that platform’s history.

Crowdfunding is a great way to build a community of support while getting the donations you need to start your project. Like crowdmapping, it allows social change programs to tap into their community to fuel their mission. That’s not to say that crowdfunding is easy but if you’re thinking of starting a campaign there are a lot of resources to help:


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I have always been active in my community and have tried my hand at many different aspects of social change from preserving historic documents at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library to founding Geeks for Good, an organization that matches nonprofits with tech savvy volunteers. Throughout my career, I have worked with 21 nonprofit organizations to create new websites, marketing materials, campaigns, and programs that help build relationships, empower change makers, and create strong, vibrant communities. I serve as Project Specialist at Campaign Consultation, Inc. Read more.

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