I am really getting into the crowd sourcing thing. The whole idea behind it is to get lots of people donating a little bit of money to fund something. I have been doing that with Kiva and Kickstarter.
If you don’t remember, Kiva is an organization that helps put together small (by our standards) loans to people in developing countries so that they can make improvements. It is one of the more visible forms of micro-finance out there. I have decided to stop participating in that program mostly because it isn’t clear that it makes a tremendous amount of difference. I think I am going to steer the money I had been using for Kiva to a more typical development charity.
Kickstarter is a really popular place for people with ideas that need funding. They post their idea and ask for donations. As you go up the scale in dollar amount, they have better and better rewards to offer. It’s a novel way to attract funding for pet projects. So far I have helped make several pens and a comic. Kickstarter is un, but it’s no charity. I do it to get interesting things. The power of crowd sourcing allows some folks to do really big things. Several video game projects have gotten well over a million dollars and there is a new smart watch that is getting close to 9 million I think. Powerful stuff.
The latest crowd sourcing site I’ve stumbled across is wishbone.org. They look for “at risk” high school kids that show some potential and fund educational experiences for them. It’s still a bit loosey-goosey for me to invest long term, but I happened across a student there that would like to go to a summer school program at my Alma Mater, Ithaca College. I can imagine a kid from a bad neighborhood in NYC getting a lot out of a summer thing like that, so I donated $25 to the cause. I need to do some more reading and see what this program actually accomplishes before I get too involved though. It isn’t as though they are sending them to college, they are sending them to summer event, or some sort of seminar series and things like that. If I am going to be doing stuff with that site, it will be with things that have a good chance of getting people out of bad situations. If they want to study computer science, mathematics, medicine, engineering, etc. I don’t mind lending a helping hand. Like I said, I’m going to do a little more research and see what it’s really all about.