Community Funded, A Funding Place

bikelibraryHow do you save a valued community organization that runs out of funds despite the good work it is doing? How do you tell its story to the people who might care the most and want to help? How do you turn crowds with common interests into communities of support? Communityfunded.com is helping do just that.

 

The founders describe how it happened: We are a coffee shop owner, a math tutor, an artist, a programmer, a social media gal… all donating our talents and time toward the vision we share. What started as a back patio discussion over beers, became months of “16 Hour Saturdays” in a spare room of a house, which became a team of ten people working in the basement of a coffee shop… which will become a worldwide economic revolution that empowers every human on the planet!

 

In Fort Collins, Colorado, McCabe Callahan, owner of Mugs coffee shop, and math tutor Blue Hovatter hatched the idea for CommunityFunded and pulled in friends as collaborators. Since 2011, it has involved almost 8,300 people in support of more than 1,000 community projects in 50 states and 176 cities.

 

Crowd funding is not new. Sites like Kickstarter.com and Indiegogo.com are well known to most folks who follow tech trends in fundraising. But the focus of Communityfunded.com is unique. They have made it easier for good ideas that build community to get needed financial support. They explain: Our tools empower you and your community to come together and create lasting impact on things you care about. Our vision is a world empowered by connected communities.

 

The Fort Collins Bike Library (FCBL) is a favorite local project for folks in Fort Collins. The library checks out “free” bikes to locals and visitors much like a lending library of books. When the library was out of funds in 2012, Communityfunded.com ran a campaign to keep it alive and thriving. With 178 supporters and $100,720 in gifts, the FCBL was secure for another year with community support. It was a great test case and proved the power of local funding.

 

The fees levied by the site are 8.2%, a minimal cost for bringing funds from diverse sources together to do something good for a community. The website clearly identifies the recipients of funds as either 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, “neighbor-in-need” or community building projects. Project Heroes are recognized as organizations or individuals who provide substantial support through the website.

 

Fundraising of any kind is challenging. The mechanics of promotion, collecting funds and reporting success is made easier through this unique crowd sourcing website. This may be the place for you to start your funding for a community project.

 

– Tim Merriman

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