5 Glimpses Into the Future of Crowdfunding

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Crowdfunding has taken the business world by storm. It’s helped people find ways to manage their medical debt. It has even helped to pay for funerals when families experience an unexpected tragic loss. In 2010, when crowdfunding was first getting started, only a rare few people envisioned the size and scope of what crowdfunding would become.

What will crowdfunding look like in the next 5 years? Here are some trends that may appear in this industry by the year 2020.

1. Retail Crowdfunding

In some ways, we’re already seeing the principles of retail crowdfunding coming into play. There are already retail outlets that allow couples getting married to register for products that multiple people can chip in to purchase for them. Need a $400 Kitchen-Aid mixer? That might be an expensive gift for one person, but what if 8 people came together and paid $50 each for it? Problem solved – that’s what that means.

That concept will come to major shopping websites. If you want to purchase a 100 inch LED TV, don’t just pay for it on your own. Plunk down a payment on the item, share your desire to have it on social media, and then have your friends chip in to help buy it so you can watch your favorite sports at your place all year long. Or imagine being able to go to Walmart, place something on Layaway at Christmas, and then be able to share those items on social sites to help family and friends chip in to help pay for those gifts.

It’s very possible that retail crowdfunding could be popping up on your home pages on your favorite shopping sites within the next 12 months.

2. TV Crowdfunding

Imagine what would happen if the concepts of Shark Tank were brought into TV programming that helped viewers be able to invest into ideas or concepts that were attractive to them? Imagine an entire TV show where the businesses pitched their products just to you and all you had to do was call in to pledge money to the cause for rewards or even equity?

It sounds a little like QVC, but it could become a reality. A&E is already experimenting with programming to help fund startups. The next step in the evolution of this idea is to take pitches directly into living rooms.

3. Integrated Crowdfunding

There are hundreds of posts on Facebook every day of couples announcing their joy of a new arrival to their family. What if those couples could do more than post a status update that gets hundreds of new likes? Integrated crowdfunding could allow that couple to create a crowdfunding campaign right there on Facebook so that family and friends could donate a few bucks to the expenses of a new baby.

Reddit has already tried integrated crowdfunding successfully, although it shut down the experiment in early 2015. The marketing of their side Redditmade.com has been rather simple: they encourage the community to become tighter and stronger by allowing Redittors to make a real difference in the world by supporting one another with revenue instead of just talk. It’s going to happen on plenty of other sites as well.

4. National Debt Crowdfunding

Maybe this one is a stretch, but it could certainly happen. People are already crowdfunding to help manage debts. What if the US government got involved with that process? The biggest holder of the US debt is the Social Security program. It’s owed trillions. What if instead of privatizing Social Security and other similar programs, the government took to the crowdfunding space to help relieve the burdens of debt?There would be people who would complain, of course, but this would two unique things: it would save money overall by lowering interest rates and it would give people some extra skin in the game of financing their own retirement. How fast could the national debt of the US go down if 50 million people contributed $100 per year to the effort?

Crowdfunding is going to make it easier to fund new ideas, new households, and eliminate debt before it becomes problematic. With marketing budgets becoming more directed toward the average backer and how their needs can be met, the next 5 years of crowdfunding are going to be an exciting time. With equity crowdfunding for non-accredited advisors on the near horizon, the world is going to change once again. Now is the time to get on board.

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