If you are not familiar with crowdfunding, it’s an increasingly popular way to raise money where individuals from all over the world contribute small amounts to make projects happen. Crowdfunding campaigns can be incredibly successful, as in the case of the Pebble watch, which received $10 Million on the crowdfunding platform kickstarter. With government funding getting harder to come by all the time, crowdfunding provides an alternative way to raise funds for your research projects.
Here’s how it works: you post a project on a crowdfunding platform, describing what it is, how much money you need and what kind of rewards and perks your supporters will get in return for supporting your projects. There’s usually different levels of perks depending on the amount of financial support. Once your project is posted, you share your campaign to spread the word and raise funds. It costs no money to post a project, so you lose nothing but time, and can potentially gain significant funding for your research.
The crowd funding websites for research projects
There are several web platforms that specially cater to science crowdfunding.
First up is Microryza, crowdfunding platform for science research grants. Their campaigns cover a variety of different research areas. They have a beautiful website that allows you to effectively communicate what your project is all about. When your project gets funded, your backers get a beautiful journal of the results. Microryza have an all or nothing funding model, which means unless you reach your goal, none of your supporters get charged.
Next we look at RocketHub. If you have a cool science related project you would like to launch in your community, RocketHub is for you. In addition to science, they also feature art, business, and social projects. They have partnered with A&E, which means there’s potential media exposure opportunities, and their funding model let’s you keep whatever funds you raised
And there’s Petridish.org. They cover a variety of research topics, though most of their projects seem to be centered around conservation and ecology. The website is still in beta mode, but what I like about them is that they offer a list of pre-determined awards, making it easy to come up with your own.
Which is the best crowdfunding website for research projects
The good folks at Perlstein Lab put together a nice chart to show the number of donors vs total amount raised across 4 different platforms. As you can see, Kickstarter and Indegogo still gets you the most funds just because a lot more people go to these huge established crowdfunding platforms and your project gets more traffic. Also, instead of research notes, the backers at kickstarter and indigogo gets physical products as perks that are more attractive to the average donor. Check out the post at Perlstein Lab for more information on the science crowdfunding landscape.
Regardless of which platform you decide on in the end, a successful crowdfunding campaign comes from sharing your project with a lot of people. So spread the news with your friends, family, and colleagues, share on social media, and share on blogs and websites like this one. I’d be happy to hear about your crowdfunding project and share it with the LifeAfterPhD community.