Bonita Zarrilo runs her recruitment business in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada. On Aug 29, she created an online campaign to raise funds on the crowdfunding site– Indiegogo. But, she doesn’t need these funds to start a new business or expand her existing one. Instead she needs them to reach out to voters for the upcoming by-election in the Coquitlam council. By now, Zarrillo has already achieved her targeted goal of C$3000 (with C$3365 being the total amount raised at the time of publishing this article; with 24 days more for the campaign to end). For Zarrilo, the secondary motive behind this endeavour is to create a community to reach out to young people. She sees it as an easy way to spread her campaign message across. But, she’s also raising funds in the traditional manner through support extended by community’s stakeholders.
While politicians in US have actively employed crowdfunding websites for their funding needs, the trend is yet to catch up in Canada and other parts of the world. Fundrazr.com, a crowdfunding website, showcases another online political funding campaign by Nita Jalkanen in the upcoming Edmonton city council elections. Recently Oakland mayoral candidate, Bryan Parker raised $60,000 on Crowdtilt.com. In Australia, Cathy McGowan made effective use of online crowdfunding to upset the election favourite Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella. Bret Conkin, vice-president of marketing of Connection-Point, the company behind the crowdfunding website fundrazr.com, expects more politicians could take up online crowdfunding in next year’s civic elections with the major motive behind such campaigns being marketing and not just raising money!
Websites like Fundrazr.com aim to give momentum to political campaigns by giving 300% more visibility than a post on a Facebook page alone. The supporter activity on Fundrazr would be noticed by their friends, facilitating a viral effect of the campaign. In comparison a post on a Facebook page, is only seen by the fans and hence limits the viral effect unless the fans themselves share the post religiously.
The synthesis of Politics & online Crowdfunding show how the future political campaigns have evolved by allowing people to connect differently with their prospective leaders. It cannot be denied that more and more people will be using online crowdfunding for political campaigning.