America has many claims to fame – the first man on the moon, the iPhone, Obama – but when it comes to using crowdfunding to support local charities, Canada has us beat. Fundchange, a new crowdfunding web application, is the product of a partnership between Canadian telecommunications company Telus and the Web application enterprise Ideavibe. Scheduled to launch February 16th, Fundchange helps potential donors find the best Canadian causes for them. Nationally registered charities are invited to post funding requests for specific projects, and potential donors can either pledge cash or vote on whether they deem the charity a worthy cause to support.
Truth be told, Fundchange isn’t bringing anything new to the crowdfunding table. Popular sites such as GlobalGiving and the British-based Pifworld have been facilitating donations to grassroots projects around the world for years. Usually, these projects have substantial humanitarian or environmental impacts, but occasionally, they help fund an individual’s creative of professional goal. Microgiving, a crowdfunding site in operation since 2007, welcomes funding requests for any kind of project, supporting private individuals and global causes with the same enthusiasm.
Canada’s Fundchange has one unlikely advantage over these other more established sites: Fundchange is small and, therefore, efficient to use. The popular crowdfunding sites, Costco-esque in their veritable cornucopia of charities, are tedious to navigate because of their size. Fundchange is more like a neighborhood grocery store; it may not have every type of charity known to man, but what it does have is local and easy to find. And since Fundchange has limited its scope to Canadian charities, rather than serving private individuals or global efforts, it will probably stay relatively small and manageable.
Fundchange applies global crowdfunding technology to local projects. This begs the question, is crowdfunding better suited to raising funds locally or globally? Also, who does crowdfunding work the best for: private individuals with personal goals or large scale philanthropic efforts?