At a time of scarce foundation and government dollars, crowdfunding is a potentially powerful tool that can be of use to many rural value chains. It is a tool appropriate for both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. While in most cases crowdfunding is currently limited to gifts, it may be used as a stepping stone toward readiness for other forms of traditional investments, such as debt and equity. However, crowdfunding works best for specific types of projects and needs, and is best used for small to medium amounts of money. The aim of this guide is to help you understand these differences, to determine if it is the right tool for your project, and to guide you in successfully launching your crowdfunding campaign.
This guide was developed as part of the Accelerating Impact Project, which was tasked with assisting participants in the WealthWorks community develop appropriate funding options. It is one in a series of reports on financing rural value chains; others may be found at www.WealthWorks.org.
This guide focuses particularly on the Kickstarter and Indiegogo platforms. It also offers briefdescriptions of other platform options, to help you decide which might work best for you and the businesses in your value chain.