By now most people have heard of Thom Feeney’s crowdfunding campaign to bail out Greece as it struggles to meet its latest IMF payment.
The retail worker from East London has started the remarkable Indiegogo campaign in an attempt to raise the €1.6bn required to keep the wolves from the Greek’s door for just a little longer at least.
Many people have dismissed this as a stunt but Feeney is adamant he is genuinely trying to make a difference. At the time of writing more than €500,000 has been raised, which although only a drop in the ocean is still very impressive.
It’s one example of crowdfunding being used to solve a very real problem. With this in mind, here are five more ways crowdfunding is being used to solve some of the problems of our modern age.
1 Sending houses to Nepal and other disaster zones
As reported on these pages previously Extremis Technology is crowdfunding for its disaster relief shelters.
They are flat-pack units that can be sent and assembled in any area of the world hit by natural or man-made disaster. Most recently the units have been sent to Nepal where they are being used as pop-up schools and temporary shelters.
2 Crowdfunding legal aid
The legal profession is in a bit of a state in this country. This is not because of a lack of skilled legal professionals but rather a series of energy-sapping disputes between lawyers and the government.
With access to legal aid being taken away for many people, one lawyer decided she’d had enough and set up Crowd Justice to “fill the gap” for those who need representation but can’t afford it.
As we as domestic issues, people can choose to crowdfund legal aid for what they believe to be important human rights cases. The most high profile of these is Torres v BP. Torres is fighting against what he believes to be ethical and humanitarian crimes committed by the UK oil giants in Columbia. He has raised more than £5,000 on the site to help him continue to fight his corner.
3 Crowdfunding against climate change
WeTheTrees is a crowdfunding platform for permaculture projects across the globe. Permaculture is a form of ecological science that aims to combine plants with their ecoystems to create cultures that are virtually self-sustaining.
It was set up by three entrepreneurs with an ecological background as a way to offer a structured funding route for an area that is popular but often fractured and financially disorganised. Some of its most recent success stories include supporting a sustainable system in Vanuatu in the Pacific Islands.
4 Crowdfunding the next scientific breakthrough
There’s a small part of us that would all like to be part of a genuinely life-changing scientific breakthrough. Unfortunately very few of us have the intelligence or tenacity to get near to achieving such a thing.
But through a number of sites, one of the main ones being Experiment, you can at least claim to have had a small part in making it happen. You just need to scan through the list of experiments being conducted and pick which you think will be the new wheel or HD TV.
5 Crowdfunding the future of bees
The bees are disappearing and people still don’t really know why. So in April of this year some intrepid innovators from Australia decided to make something that made things a little easier for our honey-making friends.
The Flow Hive allows people to collect honey straight form the hive with less stress for man and bee. It had a modest target of $70,000 but ended up raising $12,814,196.
People are clearly very worried about the bees – well either that or they just love their honey. Either way this is one crowdfunding campaign that got the internet buzzing.