IndieGoGo. GoFundMe. Kickstarter. It seems that there are dozens and dozens of crowdfunding websites or apps out there, competing for your attention and money. Crowdfunding is the act of raising funds for projects, ventures, or causes by asking mass numbers of people to donate small sums of money. The idea is that though the donation amount might be small, when done with hundreds of other individuals in the crowd, the fundraising can happen quickly and painlessly. Crowdfunding requests can range from the heartwarming to the absurd. Whether it is used to support a family in crisis, or to fund a foreign exchange student’s spring break excursion to bungee jump naked over a pit of alligators*, the premise is the same: Identify a purpose, ask for support, make it happen.
But what if the currency being requested isn’t just money. What if instead, the requested support came in the form of fruits and vegetables? Canned goods? Toiletries?
In many ways, Food Banks were the original crowdfunding masters. Food Banks have long served communities and missions through the support, both financial and otherwise, of individuals and private organizations. The idea that if the many gave a little, much could be given to the masses.
In the modern day, crowdfunding has taken a life of its own, and for every naked bungee jumper, business start-up, or short film production firm that is requesting your hard earned money, there is a Food Bank or mission that is ready, willing, and able to take your small donations of food, toiletries, and time. However, it is also safe to say that these organizations would not oppose a financial donation as well. Several Food Banks have allotted to create their own crowdfunding page requesting financial support in addition to the collection of physical products. Why? Because many Food Banks have arrangements with grocery stores or retail outfits that allow the Food Bank to purchase goods at a much reduced price than retail. The monies received via crowdfunding efforts often hold much greater buying power than any individual could possibly provide.
Food Banks are the original crowdfunding mavens, and as technology expands and the need grows, a little help from an IndieGoGo campaign sure wouldn’t hurt.