New ways to raise funds on the Internet

The Prairie.

The Prairie.

The rise of the Internet and social media is causing an evolution in the way we do things as a society. Now instead of writing a letter, many people will just hop on Facebook and shoot their distant family a message that they can read in an instant. Websites like Yelp, which gives customers of restaurants a voice, are considered more reliable than advertisements.  Instead of subscribing to a print newspaper, people are turning to online sources in increasing numbers.

When a non-profit group in New York needed to save the last laboratory of Nikola Tesla from being turned into a retail mall, they turned to the Internet.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been making waves on the web by allowing artists, designers, filmmakers and game developers to quickly raise funds for their projects by opening themselves to the Internet. On both sites, a project creator has a set amount of time to meet their goal and encourage potential donators.  They can give awards ranging from merchandising and special editions of a game at lower tiers to credits as a producer and a meeting with the creators at higher tiers. When the land for famed scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla’s defunct laboratory, Wardenclyffe, was put up for auction in Shoreham, N.Y., a group known as the Friends of Science East took notice.

Even with a promise from the state to match $850,000 in donations, the hefty price tag of $1.7 million posed a challenge to the small non-profit. Partnering with Internet cartoonist and Tesla fanatic Mathew Innman, a project was created on Indiegogo.  Innman then began to promote the cause on his website, theoatmeal.com, and the money began to pour in. Within nine days, they had blown past their original goal and raised over a million dollars, with the average rate being $100 a minute.

This success story is only one example of how crowdsourced funding is shattering existing ideas about fundraising. With Kickstarter, game developers and inventors alike can now pursue their dream projects. Artists, musicians and filmmakers can now secure the money they need to bring their vision to life. The ease of access and visibility that Kickstarter and Indiegogo grant to content creators has allowed many ideas to flourish that would have otherwise never been able to take flight and become a reality.