The crowdfunding movement probably began with the micro-finance initiatives that blossomed in the latter part of the 20th century, with sites like Kiva becoming a major source of finance for a group of entrepreneurs that were previously disenfranchised by the finance industry.
There are now 100s of crowdfunding platforms offering people the chance to provide some financial support to a range of businesses, organizations and projects. So what makes Common Cause any different?
If you’re not familiar with them, they’re a UK based charity that wants to create a bridge between people from disadvantaged backgrounds and people who want to support them.
The aim is that people can connect directly up with enthusiastic entrepreneurs and lend their support, whether financially or otherwise, to their micro-enterprises.
The site works purely with youngsters aged between 18-30 who are from low-income areas or have experienced some kind of hardship in their life, such as homelessness or domestic violence.
As with other crowdfunding sites, you can browse through a list of projects and entrepreneurs to find something that you like the look of, and then contact that person directly. Support falls into one of three categories:
- PR and/or marketing support
- financial support, whether in cash terms or donating equipment
As with other crowdfunding ventures, those who back an enterprise are rewarded with things such as the products made by the enterprise.
The website screen who can utilize the site as an entrepreneur to ensure that the aims of the charity are fulfilled in full. It’s a nice way to bring some of the aims of ventures such as Kiva to the UK and offer an avenue by which unemployment can be tackled without relying on state bureaucracy.
The concept was setup by Karen Snow, a former aid worker, who wanted to provide a more bottom up approach to tackling poverty. She wanted to provide people with a means by which they can solve the problems they face themselves by providing them the resources and support to enable them.
It’s certainly a platform worth keeping an eye on.