Crowdfunding in Times of Crisis

Crowdfunding has gained significant traction in the last couple of years. Websites such as Kickstarter, GoFundMe and Indigogo (to name a few) have made great strides in enabling people to see their goals and dreams come to life. Although most of the time these campaigns that are funded include new and innovative products that will make our lives easier and more enjoyable, there is also a huge scope for more humanitarian efforts as people are able to go on these crowdfunding websites and ask for donations for things such as medical necessities and charitable efforts. 

In the last couple of days my home country Sri Lanka has been experiencing terrible rains which in turn has caused severe flooding leaving as many as 63 people dead and over thousands of both animals and humans displaced. My Facebook Newsfeed has been filled with horrifying images and videos about the devastation that has occurred and I have been getting constant notifications in the last few days of people marking themselves as ‘safe’ so that friends and family from all around the world know that they are out of harms way. 

What was interesting to me, is how crowdfunding and crowdsourcing has played a significant role in collecting donations for relied efforts in the Country. Many people and organisations have stepped up and urged citizens to donate things like clothes, rations and money. Social media has also helped greatly here in that it provides a much easier and effective method of communicating. 

Seeing all this really got me thinking about how crowdfunding has the potential to make a difference and bring people together. Before websites like these were set up, collecting donations, especially financial ones would have been difficult as it would have probably required people going door-to-door collecting funds (which would be difficult in this case- because you would need a boat!) and even then it is quite limited. These crowdfunding campaigns allow people from all around the world to donate money and aid victims, and as a result the sum of money that will be collected will be far greater. 

Crowdfunding websites obviously are also very effective when it comes to helping start up companies or individuals meet financial goals in order to bring a product out in to the market. At the same time, as you can see from the example that I provided above, it also has the potential to bring communities together in a crisis and aid people and countries in times of need- and I think that is pretty amazing. 


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