Crowdfunding on Kickstarter and Other Online Platforms

Content From: Yumna Bahgat, New Media Coordinator, AIDS.govPublished: April 15, 20143 min read


crowdfundingCommunity mobilization is a recurring theme when discussing HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, and activities. HIV/AIDS organizations, including, rely on the support of the community to help spread HIV/AIDS prevention and care messages. In addition to support for messaging, many nonprofits and community organizations also rely on their community and partnerships for project support and funding. Technology and new media are changing how that is done.
What is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding websites are becoming more and more popular in the nonprofit sector. According to MashableExit Disclaimer, crowdfunding “describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their resources, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. Crowdfunding is used in support of a wide variety of activities, including disaster relief, citizen journalism, startup company funding, and scientific research.”

There are many crowdfunding sites onlineExit Disclaimer, with the most popular being KickstarterExit Disclaimer, IndiegogoExit Disclaimer, and RazooExit Disclaimer. Kickstarter reports that in 2013, 3 million people backed a project. Individuals on the site can decide to allocate their support to multiple projects. In fact, Kickstarter reports that as of 2013, 807,733 people backed more than one project.

What does this mean for the HIV Community?

As of April 10, 2014, there are 288 HIV/AIDS awareness projectsExit Disclaimer on Kickstarter and 207 HIV/AIDS awareness projectsExit Disclaimer on Indiegogo. From films and informational website design to direct care services, the projects that people are starting are diverse, yet all with the common goal of working towards an AIDS-free generation.

We recently spoke with Kate McNeely, who ran the grassroots media campaign, including a Kickstarter campaignExit Disclaimer, for the film The Last OneExit Disclaimer. The Last One, a film by Nadine Licostie, tells the story of individuals who have spent their lives speaking out against the stigma of the AIDS epidemic. She shared with us that “the great thing about Kickstarter is that it revolves around action. It is a great way to bring your story to the media while a project is still in production. Furthermore, the HIV and AIDS community is an activist community and Kickstarter gives individuals the chance to do something immediately and see a tangible result of their activism.”
Crowdfunding and Social Media

Social media is a very important part of a successful crowdfunding campaign because it allows people and organizations to bring awareness to their projects through social networks.

Kate, who primarily used Kickstarter, said that for those looking to start a crowdfunding campaign it is important to “talk to people who have completed successful Kickstarters and take the time to plan out the campaign. It is very similar to traditional fundraising and grassroots activism campaigns, but it is more than just making the page and emailing your supporters. It helps to think about Kickstarter as the center of a web-based PR campaign for the project. So plan out the press stories and contacts, social media posts and emails all before you start.”

At we love to see how those working in HIV use technology and new media to further the goals of their organization. How might you use crowdfunding for your HIV work?