Crowdfunding Community Projects

Published Aug-27-12

Neighbors, communities and private companies help to fund public works projects through an innovative online crowdfunding platform.

Spacehive, United Kingdom

The Story:

Crowdfunding Community Projects For cash strapped cities suffering from ever shrinking budgets, the crowds and their pockets are coming to the rescue. In an age of austerity, urban loving and enterprising individuals are employing a type of microfinancing model to raise funds for projects that would otherwise fall by the wayside because of empty council coffers.

Spacehive is a London-based crowdfunding initiative that helps communities transform and rejuvenate their local spaces. It invites members of the public to propose projects and solicit support and funds for them. Anyone can put up ideas and anyone can fund them.

How it Works

Whether it’s a park, community center or sprucing up a plot of wasteland there are no barriers as to who can bring an idea to the Spacehive market, raise capital and ensure the project goes ahead. Spacehive's goal is "to make it as easy to fund a new park or playground for your area as buying a book online."

The site lets you post a description of your idea (such as a revamped high street), a promotional video, and your fund-raising goal. Then you promote your project to elicit donations. Just like major crowdfunding site Kickstarter projects can only keep the funds if their goal is met.

Spacehive is a for profit company and receives 3.7% commission of the money raised by successful projects.

Brilliant Ideas

All over the UK (and indeed the world) are people full of top notch ideas for how to breathe new life into public spaces. But planning meetings, consultations, ceaseless and unyielding bureaucracy and lack of funding ensure that most ideas never see the light of day.

Spacehive simply cuts to the chase and spreads the financial burden between interested parties, turning good ideas into action.

Crowdsourcing Cash

Residents of the ex-mining town of Glyncoch, South Wales, one of the most deprived areas in the UK, had spent 7 years trying to raise £800,000 to build a community center they needed, but with weeks to go before planning approval lapsed, they were £35,000 shy of their target.

So they turned to Spacehive and used the platform to appeal to local families, businesses and celebrities to fill the funding void. The total was reached and supermarket giants Tesco and ASDA and the Wales and West Utilities also added to the pot.

Other projects that have been funded through Spacehive include a three meter high model of Queen Elizabeth II’s head which was floated along a canal to celebrate her sixty years on the throne.

At the time of writing this article projects asking for funds included a plan to turn a derelict part of East London into a creative quarter, and a proposal to launch a new sport called cage cricket in confined urban spaces.

Benefits for All

This online funding platform benefits everyone and can bring the public and private sector together to chip in to the most popular and worthwhile projects creating a win-win scenario that benefits everyone.

It puts communities at the forefront of neighborhood planning, fills in a gap created by spending cuts, enhances the local environment and instills a sense of ownership of public spaces.

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