I was thinking further about participatory budgeting (previous blog) - people in over 1,500 cities around the world are directly deciding how to spend public money by voting for funding for key community improvements.
I was wondering why do we need to wait for government to try to steer money to local projects.
I found a couple of ideas:
Spacehive is the UK's dedicated crowdfunding platform for places - making your local area better - from sprucing up a local park, or holding a community festival, to reviving a disused building. They enable project creators to attract funding from local people, companies and councils via the same platform. It is for creating or improving places used by the community. It doesn't matter who owns the land or building - the key thing is that it's not just you that benefits from the project.
Spacehive has an all–or–nothing funding model, which means that if you don’t hit your target none of the pledges are collected. This can seem daunting but it works - projects have an average success rate of 52%. Since 2012, 400 projects have raised £9M - an average of £22500.
They add a 5% fee to the amount projects need to raise which they collect if, and only if, they hit their target. The fee pays for them to build and maintain the platform, support the project creators and backers, and integrate funding streams that help projects to succeed.
You create a project, put it on the platform and promote it to the community. By doing this, the community buys in.
A great crowdfunding guide can be downloaded from here.
Watch this 2 minute video:
2. The Economics of Compassion Initiative
This is a scheme being run by churches in Cinncinati, USA. Whereas Spacehive is more about physical improvement projects in a community, the Economics of Compassion Initiative is more about facilitating a more holistic development of a community. Reading about it reminds me of 'seeking the welfare (shalom) of the city' in Jeremiah.
In response to the wealth inequality in Cincinnati, ECI is a step to support a sustainable and resilient economy for all citizens. They commit to offer people who are on the margin of the current economic system more control over their economic lives. ECI works to engage the public – both secular and religious – in conversations around the vision of an economics of compassion, as it continues to promote and support local examples of this new and more just and compassionate way.
It therefore bridges donors and/or investors with local people trying to build a business, get back on their feet, etc.
This 3 minute video explains more:
I guess in the UK churches in a town or local Christians acting as a conduit/filter and promoter could do this through a number of web platforms - helping folk set up the webpages. Here are 3 examples:
Justgiving for donations to help including their Yimby platform
Kickstarter for creative projects.
Funding Circle for existing businesses.
There is a list of 40 such platforms here.
The point about both the above initiatives is that local people give or invest local money in local people and/or projects. The money stays in and strengthens the local economy and peoples' interest in their community is raised.
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