Crowdfunding has become a relevant and powerful tool for people seeking to raise awareness for social movements and drive social change.
The most recent example is in Turkey, where citizens have taken to the streets to protest the current political regime’s authoritarian tack. The demonstrators’ call to action is focused around defending their civil rights while advocating for a more open and democratic government. Where, you ask, does the idea of crowdfunding come into play?
The answer lies in the protestors’ use of crowdfunding to attract international media attention to their actions. Their goal is to place a full page advertisement in a world-renowned newspaper, likely the New York Times or the Washington Post. A recent article published in the National Journal highlights these actions by protestors attempting to bring attention to their cause.
Nonetheless, this is not the first and will certainly not be the last example of the versatility of crowdfunding. Over the past two years the awareness of the power of crowdfunding has radiated through movements throughout the United States and Spain.
The Occupy movements that began in 2011 used crowdfunding to raise money for films, and advertisements to project their message and gain appeal across the nation. This proved to be a proactive and successful method of raising awareness, ultimately gaining over $15,000 in one particular instance.
In addition to the movements in Turkey and the United States, Spanish citizens have made strides towards incorporating crowdfunding in the support of their actions against those responsible for the banking crisis and resulting bailouts in their country. In one instance, a team of anonymous citizens created a crowdfunding platform in order to fund their lawsuit against the now bankrupt Spanish banking conglomerate Bankia. Also named in the lawsuit is the Board of Directors of the Financial and Savings Bank and Mr. Rodrigo Rato (fomer Managing Director of the IMF and the head of Bankia at the time of its consolidation). This lawsuit was ignited after Rato convinced many citizens to invest in the bank that later went bankrupt resulting in a loss of their funds. Rato was later named by a Spanish court in a criminal inquiry of Bankia’s questionable balance sheets and actions. The crowdfunding campaign to fund the lawsuit was successful, raising €18,359 and gaining international coverage of the efforts to gain justice and reparations for the actions of a powerful leader who once seemed to enjoy impunity.
Actions such as these in Spain and Turkey demonstrate the versatility and power of crowdfunding across the globe. Increasingly we expect to see this tool used as a way for everyday citizens to attract attention and support for their causes. Crowdfunding is fertilizing the grassroots of social movements.