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Crowdfunding

Published on: 22.05.2016

CROWDFUNDING

Crowdfunding is a collective cooperation of people (donors) who voluntarily pool their money or other resources, usually via the Internet, to support the efforts of other people or organizations (recipients). Fundraising can serve different purposes - relief supplies, fans support, political campaigns’ support, start-up companies and small businesses’ financing, creation of free software, profit from joint investments, and much more.

Such a roomy and very multifunctional definition gives us the Internet from one of the Wikipedia pages. And how it would sound in normal language? It's simple.

Crowdfunding - many a little makes a mickle

Crowdfunding is now popular phenomenon, quite within hearing . The word crowdfunding, as is clear from the translation, means funding by crowd; it can be said, it is a complete analogue of the phrase “many a little makes a mickle". To put it simply, the mechanism is following: initially, an objective should be declared, then the required sum of money is being assessed, all costs go calculated, and the information on the course of fundraising should be open to everybody; well, and a full report on the project should be done on the base of the results of the campaign.

Not so long ago, this phenomenon has begun to expand and to fill with new meaning: in modern world, it is not just raising money for business, but a special technology to support new ideas, social innovations and start-ups, particularly in the field of social economy, social entrepreneurship. The focus has shifted largely to the support of any ideas and projects aimed at solving social problems or tasks, needs of people or even whole social groups.

And what do we have in Belarus?

In Belarus, there are as many as three sites for this kind of activity - Ulej.by , Talakosht and MaeSens. Social projects and initiatives of civil society activists are being presented there in abundance. And such kind of platforms should become launch pads for mass social projects, social enterprise initiatives, start-ups of social entrepreneurs. Let us consider them in more detail ...

Ulej - the platform operates on the principle "all-or-nothing". It is a very common mechanism for crowdfunding sites, which means that the placed projects can be successfully completed only on condition that they’ve been fully funded. The mechanism is following: a project author sets the deadline for fundraising, determines the amount of money and makes a detailed description of the project. And if he/she manages to raise the specified amount, or more funds during this time, the author receives all the funds collected and begins to implement the idea. In case the project does not manage to raise a predetermined amount of money, the funds return to all the investors.

The money collected on Ulej, the author receives on the basis of the contract of donation. If the amount received exceeds 43.660 million rubles, the author will need to pay the income tax of 13% from this amount of money. The Ulej platform, banks and payment system charge a general fee of 12%.

Talakosht operates on a slightly different pattern. All campaigns here are being divided into two types, "all-or-nothing" and "all-that-has-been-raised". The first type of projects is considered successful in the event that the sum of the money raised is equal to, or more than the amount stated in the project. For the second type, the sum of funds promised should reach at least 25% of the requested amount. If the crowdfunding campaign fails, the sponsors’ promises go cancelled, and the payment won’t be necessary.

As you have noticed, the basis of the mechanism of this site’s work is ... a promise! Yes, do not be surprised! A person who decides to support the project in the first stage simply promises a certain amount. This promise is recorded with introduction of all the contact data by which the sponsor will be notified of the completion of his/her campaign of interest, and will receive instructions about how to make the promised payment and get the gift from the project authors.

That is, in theory, nothing (except cheerful conscience, self-esteem and consciousness) interferes a potential sponsor to recant the promise and treacherously hold the money. But, as practice shows, such people are few (well, you and me, we surely aren’t), and the sum of all cancelled promises rarely exceeds 15%.

MaeSens also differs from previous platforms. This site has existed for 5 years already, and it can also be called a kind of crowdfunding resource. The ultimate goal of all the activities within the platform is also fundraising for the implementation of socially useful projects. And these activities should be talked about in detail as the main mechanism of the fundraising is the auction of meetings. That is, any registered user can put up the appointment with him/her on general auction, and with properly selected photographs and formulated offer it’s possible to raise money for some good purpose. Of course you can also compete for the chance to meet with some celebrity, an expert in the field you are interested in, or just with a person of interest to you.

In 2013, a competition of social projects Social Weekend was launched under the project. In its course, initiative groups and activists have been given the opportunity to make themselves known, to get an expert evaluation, to find like-minded people and money to implement their ideas.

The bottom line is that since 2011 the MaeSens platform has redirected over 6 billion rubles to support socially-relevant projects. Among them are orphanages, social shelters, charity and public organizations, sick children who need surgical treatment and rehabilitation, and social projects, and many others.

And to finish this article, I think, it would be very appropriate to give a list (albeit small) of crowdfunding campaigns, both successful - as an example of good work in this field, and those which need your support. You can provide it by clicking on the link.

Ulej

This project was initiated by the network partners of the CINGO! It’s objective is creating working places for a family of Ania Bakhur, whose art works will be transferred on souvenir cups. By supporting the project, you create and maintain working places for people with disabilities, whom are very difficult to find a permanent job to.

The project was successfully completed! Thanks to 142 sponsors, the project raised 33.110 million rubles.

Raising money for post-production of the cinema of social orientation with the participation of workers of a social enterprise “ArtIdeya". The film is about the real working conditions of social enterprises in Belarus. Herewith, it is made in a unique manner for Belarus, in a one single shot.

The project was successfully completed! Thanks to 57 sponsors, the project raised 50.256 million rubles.

A team of talented and dedicated people, who are involved in the project, ensures a high level of support and performance of the iOS application with the Belarusian folk tales that were sounded by Aleh Khamenka.

The project was successfully completed! Thanks to 73 sponsors, the project raised 30.730 million rubles.

Talakosht

The purpose of the project is to create an instrument (a map) that will make possible for the Minsk citizens with limited mobility to choose accessible stores and pharmacies. This map will have marked different organizations of the capital with a level of accessibility.

Hippotherapy is a therapeutic riding that makes work all of the major muscle groups of the body. The effectiveness of hippotherapy is recommended for children's rehabilitation practice, especially for children with serious illnesses which are difficult to treat with methods of traditional medicine (early infantile autism, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, etc..).

 

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