Crowdfunding — commercial only?

We’re close to the end of the second “Crowdfunding in Poland” Conference in Warsaw, organized by the Polish Crowdfunding Association and Crowdfunding.pl. The event is well thought out and neatly organized. Pioneers of crowdfunding in Poland have so far been summarizing the legal status of cf in the country, they’ve explained the business models developed to run cf platforms in Poland, they’ve shared some inspiring stories. So far so good.

One thing, however, worries me.

If someone came to the conferences without having his/her homework done, they might very well leave the conference with a conviction that crowdfunding is basically about commercial ventures and that the entire rest (non-commercial) is either totally undoable or shady and neck-breaking, to say the least. This is false.

Crowdfunding is a way of collecting funds for both commercial and not-for-profit/non-profit projects.  They come under different regulations, true, but both are equally valid!

Here are some examples of such platforms or projects that are nonprofit:

1. http://www.catapult.org

2. Crowdfunding project for post-Sandy disaster relief:

screenshot

3. Indiegogo.com options for nonprotits.

4. Here you can find a list of cf platforms for CSOs.

Again, obviously, as soon as money-based exchange happens (I pay $20 and you give me a book in return), a cf project falls into a different legal framework. Still though, it is perfectly doable to run nonprofit cf campaigns! Do not be mistaken.

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