Friday, June 26, 2015

Crowdfunding to kickstart social change



Crowdfunding is a great way to fundraise - it directs a large group of like-minded people to one place where they can collectively raise money for causes that they care about. These campaigns tend to gain a huge amount of momentum once people start sharing it on their social media channels, and the message is spread across the world.


A campaign that began last week on the website Kickstarter to fundraise for the not-yet-released video game Shenmue 3, is a great example of the power of online fundraising. The Shenmue series, first released in 2000 and 2001, is widely regarded as one of the best video games of its time due to its open-world gameplay, and when the creator announced he was thinking of releasing a 3rd sequel to make the series a trilogy, it’s safe to say that the fans were very excited.
The campaign started last week and aimed to raise $2 million, which would be used to fund the games development. Just 12 hours after the campaign launched, that target had been reached, and at the time of my writing the total stands at $3.5 million! It definitely helped that the campaign was announced at a Sony press conference so it instantly grabbed the attention of all dedicated gamers attending or listening to the conference worldwide. The campaign still has another 3 weeks online, and the creator estimates that he will need to raise $10 million in total to be able to design and create a truly open-world game to match its predecessors.


People power is a force to be reckoned with, using this campaign as an example, but surely that vast amount of money could be put to much better use elsewhere?


We are living in 2015, a year where 1 out of every 122 people on the planet are displaced from their homes, where extremist groups continue to terrorise the Middle East and Africa, and where some African village women still have to survive on $1 a day to feed their families. Video games are undoubtedly entertaining and do bring enjoyment to millions of people, but do they really compare to the importance of giving a child an education, providing people with access to clean, safe, drinking water, or seeing a hungry person eat their first proper meal in weeks?


$3.5 million could MASSIVELY improve the lives of thousands of people. To put it into context, if Ripples had that amount of money free to spend on our projects we would be able to buy 6,183 medical packs for use on our Medical MOT’s, or give 46,666 groups of women a $75 start-up business loan on our Women’s Enterprise programme!


The Shenmue campaign has so far secured around 44, 000 backers, meaning that on average every donor has pledged $80.  Imagine if all charitable causes could inspire such generosity?


Keep an eye out for us on Facebook www.facebook.com/ripples.foundation and Twitter www.twitter.com/ripplesngo over the coming weeks as we will be launching our own fundraising efforts online, where you will be able to choose which of our projects you wish to donate to. Here at Ripples, we believe that every penny counts and any amount of money that you can spare goes towards running on of our programmes. Every donation we receive is a step towards helping another African woman climb out of extreme poverty. Help us make change happen!
Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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