The Philippines takes to crowdfunding

By Crowdfund Vibe staff writers

Crowdfunding as a practice has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years, taking place in small communities or through churches and other organizations. More recently, it has become popular on the internet for any number of projects, from obtaining money for independent films to charities looking to raise money to help people and animals.

Crowdfunding in the Philippines has become a very popular and unique way to draw attention to both humanitarian concerns, as well as a way of shedding light on some very talented people and business ventures. Websites like the Social Project and The Spark Project are getting the word out about some fantastic humanitarian and local business projects that are greatly benefitting the country. And internet crowdfunding allows for individuals to raise the money needed to meet these goals.

Tausug Pic Spark Project

The Tausug of Patikul, Sulu

Some of the more recent crowdfunding campaigns look to help small, indigenous communities improve living conditions and promote their artwork and handcrafted items to help bring some economic stability to these communities. Some of these campaigns include bringing solar power to remote and isolated villages to improve living conditions, supporting a Tausug family in the Sulu region, and to help the women of First Harvest buy the equipment necessary to improve and expand their business.

Other campaigns look to aid communities recover from damage caused by natural disasters, especially from the devastation due to last year’s Typhoon Haiyan which killed over 2,000 people and left countless others homeless. There are four campaigns in particular on indigogo.com seeking to raise funds specifically for Typhoon Haiyan relief for the communities hardest hit by the deadly storm. These campaigns were, for the most part, successful in their goals.

There are, however, some downsides to using these crowdfunding campaigns. There are no set rules in place for the investors to guarantee that they are funding what the campaign says the money is going to. Some of the funding websites have strict rules about how much money is raised versus the goal of the individuals or companies. For example, unless you take the flexible funding on indiegogo.com, if the amount collected doesn’t reach the goal amount in the time allotted, then the money goes back to convert youtube videos to mp3 the contributors and the project gets nothing.

But even with the downsides, crowdfunding has been a success across the board. Crowdfunding has helped entrepreneurs raise money for their products and draw attention to small business. Patrick Dulay, the founder of The Spark Project wanted to help people in the Philippines get ahead, while also helping to get the word out that there some very creative and worthwhile ways available to help people with just a credit card and new technology. He was inspired by big sites such as indiegogo.com and kickstarter.com to start a local site specific to the Filipino people and their needs.  Another local platform ideacamp was established by founder Marl Ian Dionaldo, after working with local filipino coconut farmers and discovering crowdfunding through Coursera as a possible solution for capital to obtain machinery to access new market niches. A US based site called PhilAmThropy works in conjunction with the Social Project to help Filipino expatriates remit funds for projects back home.

These sites are making a difference in the lives of Filipinos and the hope is that the momentum keeps building and they will draw more funding in the future, whether it’s for aid to poor communities or helping to build a thriving business.

 

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