Crowdfunding is not a long-term solution for financing in the public sector. For that, we need smart tax reform. We need to give local government greater control. We need to bring decisions about tax and how to spend it closer to local communities. Given that this great decentralisation of state spending could take years to achieve, what can local communities do now? People want more transparency. We worry about fancy offices, well-paid CEOs and sadly, in some cases, over-politicisation. We don’t want our money to just disappear into a big pot. We want more control.
Enter crowdfunding. Charity in your own backyard. Dozens of online platforms allow ordinary people to lend or donate money, collectively financing projects that would otherwise have been impossible. Kickstarter’s users fund experiments in creativity. Experiment.com users back original scientific research. Kiva lets an entrepreneur in the developing world find a pool of backers living in wealthier countries. And here at home, crowdfunding’s potential to support social enterprise is at last beginning to be taken seriously.