According to McMillan Dictionary, “Crowdsourcing is trying to find a way of completing a task, a solution to a problem, etc. by asking a wide range of people or organisations if they can help, typically by using the Internet.”
Crowdsourcing is the next evolution of “outsourcing.” Whereas the latter speaks of sending work or functions to a particular company or organization to do for you (because they can do it better or faster or cheaper or all three), crowdsourcing engages anyone who cares to be engaged in helping you solve a problem, generate ideas, mobilize a volunteer effort, or fund something you need money for — and much more.
Crowdsourcing is made possible by the Internet and the myriad social media tools and sites that can serve to engage people from around the world or at least people you may not have any relationship with locally in your organization’s cause or work. Crowdsourcing also speaks to making sure you are offering lots of choices to people in terms of how they might lend a hand. The crowd after all is looking for many things, not just one cause.
From a fundraising perspective, crowdsourcing is related to micro-donations (“a very small sum of money donated to a charitable cause by millions of people. All the small sums can add up to the desired total amount” – Source: McMillan Dictionary).
The Donorschoose site is an American-based fundraising site that embraces both crowdsourcing and micro-donations. The overall theme is education of American students but within that theme, donors are provided with myriad choices on how to support what THEY want to support. Here’s a brief blurb from their website:
Here’s how it works: public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on DonorsChoose.org. Requests range from pencils for a poetry writing unit, to violins for a school recital, to microscope slides for a biology class.
Then, you can browse project requests and give any amount to the one that makes your eye twinkle. Once a project reaches its funding goal, we deliver the materials to the school.
Find out more how this fundraising group works by going here.