As we were hearing about crowdfunding from Katlin last week, I got to thinking about other situations wherein crowdfunding would not only be an effective means of fundraising, but also a community building tool. On a private-sector level, crowdfunding is great to fill in that mezzanine gap, like Katlin discussed. What about if local governments used it to get their residents more involved in the community?
Since governments are funded by tax dollars, they will not usually have this mezzanine gap, but they can use crowdfunding in two situations. Firstly, it can be used when a government has an additional project that was not anticipated in their previous budget decisions. Crowdfunding can be used to raise some additional (albeit higher interest) funds to fill that unanticipated need for extra funding. Secondly (and this is the one that intrigues me), it can be used in instances where a local government may have the funding, but wants residents to feel more invested in the community.
InTacoma, there is not the sense of local identity in the city like there is in Seattle or Portland. If we begin these “community builder” projects that give others a financially safe investment in their own backyards, it would really benefit the city. Ideally, it would give the residents of the city of Tacoma enough of a community identity to let them feel invested in the community. Maybe residents would start attending forums that various commissions put on, and maybe they would even start joining boards and commissions themselves.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this? I am not familiar enough with crowdfunding to know the legal implications of cities doing this, so if I am overlooking something, please let me know.