Civic Crowdfunding – Examples in Germany, Europe and Globally

The following list is part of our research on Civic Crowdfunding. Feel free to add any new projects in the comments.

My definition of Civic Crowdfunding is as follows:

Civic Crowdfunding is the subset of Crowdfunding campaigns which aim to finance a civic cause. A civic cause is a cause which improves public infrastructure – this can be means of public transport, public institutions, public events. The dominant feature of a public infrastructure is that it is impossible to exclude anyone from using it. In this case Civic Crowdfunding is generating benefits where it is impossible to exclude a non-supporter from benefitting from the cause.

Our network partner Alexandra Partale (from Place2Help) defines Civic Crowdfunding with a strong component of regional identity:

Civic Crowdfunding describes the financing of Projects with local and regional impact through the Crowd. The project owners can be public institutions.

The list is quite wide – it has the following categories:

  • Platforms dedicated to Civic Crowdfunding – The list aims to include platforms which are dedicated to Civic Crowdfunding or which a special category for Civic Purposes.
  • Platforms operated by Public Entities – The list aims to include platforms which are operated by public institutions, public banks or public service providers.
  • Platforms operated by Banks for Civic Crowdfunding – The list aims to include platforms (especially in the field of donation-based Crowdfunding) run by private banks or cooperative banks, where often the Bank does not charge the projects.
  • Meta Platforms by Public Entities – The list aims to provide news portals and meta-platforms where public entities inform about Crowdfunding in a systematic way.
  • Support Schemes – The list aims to provide examples of public support schemes for Crowdfunding, such as subsidizing the cost of Crowdfunding.
  • Competitions – The list aims to provide examples of competitions run by public entities to promote Crowdfunding campaigns.
  • Crowdfunding Campaigns for Civic Infrastructure – The list aims to provide examples of Civic Crowdfunding campaigns, where public infrastructure is financed.
  • Crowdfunding Campaigns for Cultural Infrastructure – The list aims to privde examples of Civic Crowdfunding campaigns for cultural institutions, such as theaters, museums or galleries.
  • Crowdfunding Campaigns for Touristic Infrastructure – The list aims to provide examples of Crowdfunding campaigns which try to combine tourism and Crowdfunding.

Germany

Platforms dedicated to Civic Crowdfunding

LeihDeinerStadtGeld is a German lending-based Crowdfunding platform. Citizens can lend their city money at reduced interest rates for civic projects. One case was the renovation of the local firefighter house of the village Oestrich-Winkel. 83,200 Euro in loans were given by the citizens.

Place2Help was a German Crowdfunding Platform for Civic Crowdfunding. It was supported by the Sparda Bank Munich, a local cooperative bank. It featured civic projects from the region of Munich. The network has reinvented itself recently as Place2Help Rhein-Main, where it helps Crowdfunding projects in the region to find partners.

Platforms operated by Public Entities

En Crowd – Platform operated by AVU Aktiengesellschaft für Versorgungs-Unternehmen (a local energy and water provider in the Germen Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis). The platform is a donation-based Crowdfunding platform.

Mikrocrowd – Platform to support entrepreneurs, operated by the Baden Württemberg Landesbank (L-Bank). Combines a loan of 10.000 Euros with a successful Crowdfunding campaign. The campaigns have to be launched at Startnext-page.

Wir-bewegen.sh is a Donation-based Platform run by the Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein, a publicly owned bank in the North of Germany. The platform allows the support of Civic projects, however it is also being used as part of the CSR-activities of the bank by matchfunding some of the projects.

Platforms operated by Banks for Civic Campaigns

The network of local saving bankings (Sparkassen) operate a network of donation-based Crowdfunding-platforms under the label „Einfach.Gut.Machen„. The software is provided by Whitelabel-Provider TableOfVisions.

Some Sparkassen-Banks also cooperate with the donation-based platform Betterplace. Regional banks can operate a regional Crowdfunding platform, where regional projects from the Betterplace-Database are featured.

Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken – The network of cooperative Banks (Volksbanken) operates a network of donation-based Crowdfunding platforms. They are run under the label of „Viele schaffen mehr„. The software is provided by the German platform Startnext.

Meta-Platforms

crowdfunding-berlin.com is a platform run by the Government of Berlin. It features projects from Berlin, Crowdfunding Experts and Events.

Crowdfunding-Competitions

The Berlin Crowdfunding Prize was given for the best Crowdfunding campaign voted by the audience in three branches.

Crowdfunding-Support

The City of Munich sponsors local campaigns by providing them with subsidies for creative services, such as hiring a video editor for the pitch videos.

Campaigns for Civic Infrastructure

Feuerwehr Wenzlow – Fire Brigade in Brandenburg which did a donation-based Crowdfunding campaign to finance equipment. Led to a discussion in local media about the financing of public fire safety.

Campaigns for Cultural Infrastructure

Co-Berlin was a campaign for a Museum for Modern Photography in Berlin. When the Museum had to move to new premises, it used Crowdfunding to generate money for the renovation of the new building. The support also showed the media reach of the museum even during its closing.

The Kindermuseum Unikatum (Childrens Museum) reached private and commercial sponsors through the Crowdfunding campaign.

The Walhalla-Theater created a campaign for the lighting at an Off-Theatre in Wiesbaden. Unfortunately, the campaign was not successful despite good press work.

Spain

Platforms dedicated to Civic Crowdfunding

Goteo is a Spanish Crowdfunding Platform for Civic Purposes. Citizen initiatives, social, cultural, technological and educational projects can be funded. Goteo has developed its Crowdfunding software and published as open source software. There are more than 65.000 people active on the platform. The platform is run by a non-profit foundation.

United Kingdom

Platforms dedicated to Civic Crowdfunding

SpaceHive is a British Crowdfunding Platform and probably the biggest Civic Crowdfunding platform in Europe. It has financed 4.9 million GBP in projects and partnered with more than 68 towns and local municipalities.

Italy

Platforms dedicated to Civic Crowdfunding

The Italian Platform Derev features a Civic Crowdfunding category which enables local projects as well political projects.

The city of Milano cooperated with the Italian-reward based platform Eppela and co-financed 400.000 Euros in civic Crowdfunding projects with up to 50.000 Euros each.

Netherlands

Campaigns for Civic Purposes

The Luchtsingel Bridge was built between 2013 and 2015 and connects two areas of Rotterdam by crossing a large street with heavy traffic. The bridge is 400 meters long and links a vegetable garden and a bar district. 17.000 wooden planks were sold to the citizens and companies in Rotterdam – in total 1300 funders. The project started a debate on the role of local government in building infrastructure.

The Ziekenhuis Vlissing was a lending-based Crowdfunding campaign to finance the continued existance of a hospital in the city of Vlissingen in in the Netherlands. The total amount of 10,600,000 € was financed on the platform Zibcrowd.nl, using an equity-based Crowdfunding approach by paying an interest of 5%.

Switzerland

Campaigns for Civic Purposes

wemakeit.com/projects/hilfe-fuer-whistleblower – Reward-based Campaign for a Whistleblower of a Swiss Building Cartel, one of the most successful campaigns on Wemakeit.

Rest of Europe

Worldwide

New Zealand

The Abel Tasman Beach in New Zealand was sold to the public in a campaign that received 2,280,461.92 NZ$ from 39,249 supporters. The aim of the donation-based Crowdfunding campaign was to keep the beach open to the public and prevent a sale to a private owner. The government also supported the campaign with 350.000 NZ$, as well as a large-scale donor who chose to remain anonymous.

USA

The Pool+ is a combination of reward-based Crowdfunding campaigns on the platform Kickstarter. The aim is to develop a public pool which is situated in the Hudson River in New York. The pools water stems from the river itself, being filtered. The first campaign received 41,647 US$ from 1203 supporters, the second campaign in April 2013 received 273,114 US$ from 3175 supporters. Both amounts made it possible to finance early research into the construction of the pool as well as reaching out to possible partners.

Photo by AntoineJamin.com

ikosom supports the CrowdfundersHub in Vienna

Through the Interreg-Program Central Europe Crowdfund-Port (www.crowdfundport.eu), ikosom Team member Wolfgang Gumpelmaier-Mach is supporting the first Crowdfunding course of CROWDFUNDERS HUB (http://www.crowdfundershub.at/) which starts in Vienna in November.

It’s a four months lasting training program, which is supported by the WTZ Ost – a collaboration of nine Universities in eastern Austria. The goal is to have 10 projects ready by November, which will be trained for free in offline and online courses with the help of the partnering experts. Next wednesday there will be a so called Micro Conference, where the program will be presented – Wolfgang will give an introduction to Crowdfunding. Also CONDA and ISN/1000×1000 are partners of the program.

Fears and Drivers for Crowdfunding – Motivation von Crowdfunding-Unterstützern

In einer Studie im Rahmen des Projekts „Crowd-Fund-Port“ erheben wir zur Zeit, ob es Unterschiede in der Motivation und den Bedenken von Unterstützern in verschiedenen Ländern gibt.

Die Studie ist nicht repräsentativ – das kann sie gar nicht sein bei der Vielzahl an Unterstützern. Ziel ist es zu erfassen, ob es Unterschiede in den Einstellungen gegenüber Crowdfunding in den Partnerländern gibt, also ob in Polen oder Kroatien Crowdfunding anders wahrgenommen wird als in Italien oder Deutschland.

Wir würden uns über eine zahlreiche Beteiligung freuen. Wer Interesse hat, kann am Ende der Unterstützung gerne eine Emailadresse angeben – wir versenden dann den kostenlosen Report an die Empfängeradresse. Continue reading „Fears and Drivers for Crowdfunding – Motivation von Crowdfunding-Unterstützern“

Civic Crowdfunding – Definition

Crowdfunding is defined as an open-call for funding projects, often on internet-platforms, often through a group of people with a common purpose. The most commonly used Crowdfunding taxonomy distinguishes between four types of Crowdfunding:

Donation-Based
Reward-Based
Equity-Based
Lending-Based

Very roughly these types of Crowdfunding correspond to the type of exchange which a supporter (a member of the crowd) receives from the project. In donation-based Crowdfunding, this can be a tax statement indicating the amount and recipients, in reward-based Crowdfunding this can be a physical item or an immaterial perk. In equity-based Crowdfunding, this can be a share in a company or some other form of profit-participating agreement, in lending-based Crowdfunding, this can be a form of interest and/or repayment of invested money.

Crowdfunding platforms intermediate an exchange between a supporter and a project. The return received by the supporter is often personalized. The underlying idea is that a supporter receives some rare, exclusive opportunity to obtain a benefit, which in turn provides him with an incentive to support the project during the campaign, and not wait until the campaign is over and the product market-ready.

For instance, a supporter might receive a tech gadget which has not been produced yet, he pays an early-bird price, the platform puts the money into an escrow account, after the end of the campaign, the project receives the money and starts the production. The supporter carries the risk of losing the money if some production problems occur, but at the same time he is part of a special community of first movers.

For practical and theoretical purposes, it is essential to understand the motives of supporters in a Crowdfunding campaign. Rational-choice theorist might point to the value of being a first mover, of obtaining a product or service before anybody else, of being part of early-stage investors with higher chances for profits. All of these benefits might be greater than the potential risk of losing money (or the real loss of interest if the money would have been used for other purposes, for instances in risk-free).

There is, however, a conundrum: how would rational choice theory explain if someone supports a campaign where he or she does not receive any tangible benefits exclusively for him- or herself? In donation-based Crowdfunding, altruistic motives are often assumed on the side of the supporter. The supporter gives money in order to facilitate a project of civic value: he or she donates to a non-profit organisation which generates some form of common good.

The supporter is thus part of a community of enablers, which goes beyond the advantages of first movers. The supporters derive some value from joining campaigns of which they don’t receive special exclusive benefits, but the benefit is generated for society as a whole.

One might argue that the supporters fund projects where they feel that their money bridges a finance gap, where private sponsorship enables causes which are not adequately funded. Interestingly, also causes are funded on platforms where adequate funding should be available – through tax money. In the Netherlands, the bridge Luchtensingel was funded through an external website, thus prompting the question why the city government did not pay for the bridge through its own budget.

This question is not just a theoretical one, because it is at the core of the definition of Civic Crowdfunding. Civic Crowdfunding can be found on mostly donation-based platforms, some reward-based platforms, few equity-based platforms and very few lending-based platforms, but the topic is likely to increase in scope and relevance over the next couple of years.

I define “Civic Crowdfunding” as the subset of Crowdfunding campaigns which aim to finance a civic cause. A civic cause is a cause which improves public infrastructure – this can be means of public transport, public institutions, public events. The dominant feature of a public infrastructure is that it is impossible to exclude anyone from using it. In this case Civic Crowdfunding is generating benefits where it is impossible to exclude a non-supporter from benefitting from the cause.

The bridge Luchtensingel is a prime example: the supporters of the project cannot exclude non-supporters in using the bridge for free. They have no right and no means to make non-supporters pay for the use of the bridge through tolls or taxes – and they have no incentive to do so. They have funded a bridge which could have been financed by tax money as well, thus indirectly making everybody pay for it, but they have chosen not to. The infrastructure generates public benefits and the supporters have chosen to generate the public benefits by becoming part of a community of enablers.

Photo by Jonathan Gross

Crowdfunding Tools for Boosting Campaigns – Crowdfunding Werkzeuge für Kampagnen

In the context of the UNDP Alternative Finance Lab  and the Crowdfunding Academy we have collected a list of Crowdfunding Tools which are available on the market. We have published a list of Social Media Tools (2014) and Communication Tools for Youth Particpation (2012).

You can also find some these tools at this pinterest collection „Crowdfunding Service Providers„.

Update 6.3.2017: For our learning material, me and Wolfgang Gumpelmaier are currently updating this list.

Campaign Tools

Agencies

Whitelabel Software

Photo by toolstop

Crowdfunding – for Refugees – a short and incomplete list of campaigns and projects from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the rest of the world

2015-10-20-www.refupreneur.eu- http www.refupreneur.eu -11-39-51At the CEO Fall Meeting in Berlin, I held a presentation on the topic „How Crowdfunding can solve the refugee crisis“. Below you can find a list of Crowdfunding projects which I presented at the conference. I organized them according to the type of need that the project tries to solve.

Continue reading „Crowdfunding – for Refugees – a short and incomplete list of campaigns and projects from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the rest of the world“

Crowdfunding for innovation and research

20150721_Experiment_NanoParticles_Science_Health_ProjectHow Crowdfunding predicts trends in society, how research can benefit from Crowdfunding and why it is necessary to combine Science and Crowdfunding – by Karsten Wenzlaff.

Crowdfunding platforms exist for about a decade now, and for more than five years in Germany. While analyzing this market, we noticed something peculiar: trends in society, especially trends around consumer behaviour emerge 2 to 3 years on Crowdfunding platforms before they reach the mass market. Why is this case?

Firstly, the people who are creating new Crowdfunding platforms are highly innovative. They see a gap in funding for a specific niche and then create a platform to bring together money and ideas. Not all of these platforms succeed, more often platforms are created and after a few months the platform ceases to exist. Not enough traction was created, not enough projects were shown on the platform. But for those that succeed, they can often claim to be the first to have developed an innovative funding method. Continue reading „Crowdfunding for innovation and research“

Reward-Based or Equity-Based Crowdfunding for Market Research by German Mittelstand

20150715_Bergfuerst_CHWolf_Wearable Crowdfunding is increasingly used for market-research – not just funding, but also for marketing and market research. A recent example is C.H.Wolf (Glashütte), which is raising growth funds on the German Equity Crowdfunding Platform Bergfuerst. The campaign has attracted about 200.000 Euros of its 500.000 Euro goal.

C.H.Wolf is an usual company. It can reference a history of 170 years, but has been refounded only last year. Its owners are not Berlin-type Startup people but rather settled Mittelständler – medium-sized companies which often export their hiqh-quality products, but are not often on the mind of a typical startup journalist.

Interestingly, the campaign not only serves raising the funds, but also tries to achieve a number of marketing goals. The background of the company, well-know East German watchmaker town Glashütte, is displayed favorably, recent products such as the „Special Bootsmann“ (a high-end watch for Yacht Owners) is presented as well. Some form of preselling is also evident – for every 7.000 Euros invested, investors can buy a Special Edition Watch for 2000 Euros.

C.H.Wolf is only a recent example of watches being funded on Crowdfunding platforms. In the last 4 years, a number of new smart watches (Wearables) have been funded on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Their functionality have pre-shadowed the functions of the AppleWatch and sometimes even surpassed the innnovativeness of the AppleWatch. Continue reading „Reward-Based or Equity-Based Crowdfunding for Market Research by German Mittelstand“

European Crowdinvesting – What are the next steps? Ideas for a European Crowdinvesting Share

For a long time, the European Crowdfunding Platforms were in a comfortable space:

  1. National regulators would scarcely consider Crowdinvesting an important topic, amidst the turmoil of the European Debt Crisis and the impending need to reign in the Banking Industry.
  2. Politicians of all parties would comment favorably on the innovative and creative approach to financing.
  3. National Crowdinvesting Platforms would seek their nice (both in terms of products and equity instrument) and would not be harmed much from other European competitors.
  4. The American platforms were busy building up their business model in the states, after the SEC finally allowed them to do any business in terms of Crowdinvesting at all.

Things have changed considerably. Continue reading „European Crowdinvesting – What are the next steps? Ideas for a European Crowdinvesting Share“

Why spending money on other people makes you happy – and how this relates to Crowdfunding

Michael Norton, Professor at the Harvard Business School, is talking about the connection between Money and Happiness. For anyone into the field of Crowdfunding, this is a very educating talk. Norton cites his experiments asking people to spend money on themselves or on other people.

The interesting, yet maybe obvious result is that it makes you more happy to spend money on other people. This holds true in a lot of cultural settings – in Canada as well as Uganda. Jump to 2:22 in order to see why spending on prosocial causes makes you really happy.

Another interesting thing he mentions at around 8:30 is that team-motivation increases fivefold if people are allowed to spend money on team activities instead of just pocketing money. Continue reading „Why spending money on other people makes you happy – and how this relates to Crowdfunding“

From Academic to Entrepreneur – using the Lean-Startup-Technology to create something out of your wildest idea

Observers House and the Radcliffe Observatory from the McAlpine Quad, Green Templeton College, Oxford. Photo by cwawebber. Licensed unter CC BY-SA 3.0

On July 17th at 6 pm, I have the honour to talk about the secret to creating a start-up as a scientist. The talk is at the Green Templeton College at Oxford University. GTC, as it is called locally, is known for bringing together people with some really wild ideas and I am very thankful to be invited there. I want to encourage the young scientists to think beyond the obvious path in academics – PhD, Post-Grad, Professor:

Before graduation, many academics are thinking about their next career step. For people in technology classes, such as IT or Engineering, starting a company is often quite easy, but how about if you are a student of social science or political science, you might wonder if creating a startup is really that easy. But if you have a great idea, and maybe already a few friends that share your idea, it is actually not too difficult: with crowdfunding and the lean-startup-method it is possible to make a start with your project without burning too many ressources.

I think I will talk heavily about OpenScience as a mind-frame and a method, also about crowdfunding, but most importantly how it feels like to be an academic entrepreneur.

The event is mainly aimed at students from Green Templeton College, but all other attendees are welcome as well. Just drop us a quick note if you are interested.

European Crowdfunding – Workings Groups and Input for Public Hearing of European Commission

Working Groups at the European Crowdfunding Networks

After the Pre-Launch event of the European Crowdfunding Network (ECN), the next steps are approaching soon. Five Working Groups were established:

1. Consumer Protection
2. Education
3. Funding CF
4. Research
5. Regulation

If you are interested in working in one of the working groups, please contact the European Crowdfunding Network.

Policy steps after Eurada Crowdfunding Meeting

Chritian Saublens of Eurada invited ECN to be a Crowdfunding meeting Thursday, 7 June, in Brussels with participants from four Directorate Generals of the European Commission, regional development agencies from across Europe and a number of crowdfunding platforms that are affiliated with ECN. More details can be found on the website of the European Crowdfunding Network.

On 28th June 2012 there will be a follow-up meeting at European Economic and Social Committee’s Public Hearing on Improving SME finance:

The European Commission presented in December 2011 a strategy to promote better access to finance for SMEs with a specific EU Action Plan which includes an increasing financial support from the EU budget and the European Investment Bank as well as a proposal for a regulation setting uniform rules for the marketing of venture capital funds.

The public hearing that will take on 28 June will gather stakeholders from SMEs and the financial community to discuss these issues. The EESC will use the results to draw up an opinion to be submitted to the European Commission for consideration in their decision on access to finance for SMEs.

The hearing will be used to draft an opinion by the EESC to submit to DG Market in order to influence the current review of legislation and regulation especially with regard to venture capital. The ECN will present next to the European Venture Capital Association.

Currently the ECN is asking for data and market research to be used for the making the case to DG Market, DG Industry, DG Information Society and DG Culture.

Jobs, growth, innovation or creative disruption – how to sell Crowdfunding to the European Union?

How to convince the European Union support the new crowdfunding industry? This was part of the discussion of the Pre-Launch Meeting of the European Crowdfunding Network in Brussels on 1st June 2012. Present were three dozen crowdfunding platforms and Crowdfunding experts from all over Europe. The meeting managed to create an exchange on regulatory issues, but to unite the diverse crowdfunding scene behind a single cause was still difficult. Could jobs, growth, innovation or disruption be such a mobilizing argument? A comment by Karsten Wenzlaff

The European Crowdfunding Network is a good idea – networking, exchanging information, lobbying the European Union and national legislators, creating industry codes and disseminating information about this emerging industry to the public is an important task. Therefore a lot of praise is due to the organizers of the European Crowdfunding Network who assembled a group of people dedicated to push for a better visibility of the emerging crowdfunding scene.

Sherwood Neiss, one the driving forces behind the JOBS Act in the US and author of the startup-excemption, kicked off the meeting by explaining how he and his colleagues lobbied the American goverment and Congress to make crowdinvesting possible. Continue reading „Jobs, growth, innovation or creative disruption – how to sell Crowdfunding to the European Union?“

Survey on Crowdfunding Regulation in Europe

Together with David Roethler, we are conducting a study about crowd-funding schemes in the cultural and creative industries sector in Europe on behalf of the European Expert Network on Culture (EENC), a network set-up by the European Commission.

The study shall provide recommendations concerning the potential regulation of crowd-funding schemes at the European and the national level. In particular, we are interested in crowdfunding with financial rewards, such as through micro-investments or micro-credits.

If you want to contribute to the study, please answer our survey at http://bit.ly/crowdfunding_experts. The deadline for responses is 22nd of August.

Issues that we want to address are:

  • Legal status of crowdfunding platforms
  • Legal status of crowdfunding investors
  • Cross-border access to crowdfunding
  • Application of financial markets regulation towards crowdfunding
  • Policy recommendations for regulation

From the people participating in the survey, we will compile a list of crowdfunding experts in Europe. If you answer our survey, please include a little bit of a background so we can contact you again for the crowdfunding expert list before publishing it.

We will also contribute to a crowdsourced matrix on business crowdfunding at Socialcompare.com. Feel free to add information there. There also similar tables on Alternative Money Schemes and Crowdfunding for creative purposes.

Crowdfunding in Germany, Austria and Switzerland 2010/2011 – Results of the First Survey

ikosom – the Institute for Communication in Social Media – has published its results of the first survey on Crowdfunding on German-speaking platforms. The results were published just two days ahead of the Crowdconvention, a crowdsourcing conference hosted by the Clickworker in Berlin. The survey in German can be ordered from ikosom.

No one will disagree: the popularity of crowdfunding has increased tremendously. A large number of articles in the press, of newly-initiated projects and newly-launched platforms bear witness to this phenomenon. At the moment, there are several dozen crowdfunding platforms worldwide, in German-speaking countries at least six platforms have been launched since the summer fo 2010.

The survey is the first to analyse Crowdfunding in Germany and was developed in close cooperation with the german-speaking platforms. The survey focuses on those platforms which have used the popular Kickstarter- and Indiegogo-modell of Crowdfunding for the German market. In order to be able to compare the projects, we have omitted those crowdfunding projects which were funded outside of platforms.

The survey has two parts: