4 Things You Need to Know About Civic Crowdfunding


Unless you’ve been living off the grid for a few years, you’ve probably heard about crowdfunding in some way. Projects like Reading Rainbow, which had over 100k total backers, or Coolest, which successfully raised over $13 million for a cooler, are dominating media headlines. Crowdfunding is being used to fund everything from comic books to Hollywood films. With billions of dollars at stake, is it any wonder that civic crowdfunding would begin to take hold as well?

Many civic projects are funded on bonds or debt. Although crowdfunding for these projects is still rather small-scale, with an average of less than $7,000 per project being raised, the potential is still there for many institutions, including government, to engage in more public/private partnerships that can benefit communities. For that reason, here are 4 things you need to know about this niche right now.

1. Civic Crowdfunding Is Enormously Successful

The current success rate for civic crowdfunding campaigns is above 80%. Although part of this reason is likely because they are small scale, it does still allow for projects to be tested for viability and for funds to be raised. Large scale projects might be still on the horizon, but those small projects that tend to get neglected because of budgetary constraints suddenly have a new life. These small changes in a community can then begin to add up.

2. Civic Crowdfunding Tends to Focus on Green Space

The beginning of the civic crowdfunding niche began when non-profit organizations began trying to raise funds to expand their own green space projects. Parks and gardens still make up a majority of the crowdfunding efforts that are out there today, with 3 in 10 campaigns being related to green spaces in some way. Sports and mobility projects are out there as well, although rare, and so are education, training, and even event-based campaigns.

3. Civic Crowdfunding Is Typically Urban-Based

You’ll find most civic crowdfunding campaigns focus on improving the urban environment within a major city. Part of this reason is because the genre is so new that it hasn’t spread out across the country or the world as a viable option for fundraising. In the United States, five states account for 80% of the total amount of civic crowdfunding campaigns that have been run. Small communities also have the challenge of manpower in promoting and sustaining a campaign, something that large cities don’t face as a challenge.

4. Large Projects Make Up a Majority of the Funding

Although a majority of the civic crowdfunding campaigns are below $10k in total need, the high value, large-scale campaigns that have been successful dominate the overall amount of money that has been raised in this niche. The outliers are more than half of the projects, but they aren’t the ones that will be remembered or really help the civic niche grow. It is the media-worthy general interest stories of large campaigns that will bring attention to this niche and help awareness grow.