How we can make crowdfunding more accessible to the poorer classes?
Our general idea of crowdfunding is gathering money for those who don’t have it through our superior social and technical skills. Because at the end of the day, crowdfunding too becomes an exercise in power. Working mostly on the charity model, crowdfunding has been found to enhance the feel-good factor of the donors.
As of yet, most of the Indians belonging to the poorer classes are out of touch with the new developments in the affluent world. Most simply give up hope in case of financial emergencies, and if they don’t, they go for traditional fundraising. But fundraising is limited in so many ways:
- Traditional fundraising is limited to only a certain number of people within a limited area.
- People take a longer time to trust traditional fundraising campaigns because it is easier to commit fraud.
- It is much more difficult to conduct action at all the levels in traditional fundraising- like keeping tabs on the people and the money, making payments to the proper places, etc.
- It is harder to incentivize donors because it is impossible to implement the attractive features like reward-based fundraising, p2p fundraising, etc.
In addition, there are a number of serious problems with regards making crowdfunding accessible to the poor:
- There is limited online access for people beyond a particular class.
- While most of the major web platforms are multilingual nowadays, running a crowdfunding campaign in a country like India should ideally be in English. Further, it demands a command over the language that would enable the story to reach to all kinds of people. Involving a translator in times of emergencies is next to impossible for such people.
- The state of public education in this country is woeful. That also includes knowledge of the computer.
So what can be the possible solution to all these seemingly insurmountable problems? Here are a few ideas:
- Targeting the needy community-wise. Those experienced in crowdfunding can actually conduct workshops across communities and train people.
- Once this process kicks off, the members who are the most advanced academically and/or socially can be made to have a better knowledge of the skills required to conduct a successful crowdfunding campaign which they, in turn, can share with the other members of the community.
- While those trained must be made to understand the unpleasant realities of crowdfunding, unless there is some initial success at least in the beginning, all the training would simply go to waste. People lose their motivation unless they are met with success in the beginning of something new. The big crowdfunding platforms in India can be made to act as sponsors to ensure that at least the initial campaigns perform to the best of their ability. The support teams at these crowdfunding websites should take a personal interest to guide the new members throughout the process.
- There can also be crowdfunding workshops conducted in cities and towns in the vulnerable areas so that even individuals can join these workshops to take better commands of their lives.
Making crowdfunding accessible to the poor top-down is indeed a challenging process because it involves looking into a lot of things- access to the internet, access to the proper means of communication, having the proper know-how of bank transactions at all levels. So it is often a time-consuming process requiring a lot of patience. But what can be more fulfilling and empowering than actually enabling the needy to take control of their own lives?