Understanding the Crowd, Following the Community: The Need for Better Data in Community Development Crowdfunding


Rodrigo Davies, MIT Center for Civic Media, and Amanda Sheldon Roberts, Federal Reserve Board of Governors

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December 28, 2015

In the past half-decade crowdfunding has emerged as a popular way to raise money online for a wide range of projects. As the reach of crowdfunding has expanded, the field of community development has the potential to benefit from the practice, both as a straight fundraising mechanism and as a way to give greater voice to community members. This paper makes the case that in order for community development crowdfunding to reach its potential scale, and to involve the full range of potential stakeholders, better standards of data reporting and collection need to be established. The authors propose a draft crowdfunding data model to enable community development professionals and the crowdfunding industry to more thoroughly analyze the field, begin to measure the impact of crowdfunding and better understand its potential future pathways.