Is Crowdfunding Suited to Financing Public Opinion Campaigns?

By September 05, 2012 1 comment
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MassToMass provides a way of financing public opinion drives by charitable and campaigning organisations that want to get their message across in the traditional media. This is certainly an interesting initiative but it’s debatable whether it will work.

Can the ‘crowdfunding’ approach be applied to all fields? This type of financing drive works well for cultural or charitable ventures such as  KissKissBankBank, même dans le financement de startup Wiseed as well. The idea behind  MassToMass is that it could also work for the advertising market. The site, whose slogan is "working together to make ourselves heard", offers charitable and campaigning organisations, plus also advertising agencies and even individual people, a means of launching appeals for funds to create public opinion campaigns, which are then rolled out via the more ‘traditional’ advertising channels - TV, radio and the press. This is certainly an interesting initiative. It aims to enable everyone, especially those who lack financial resources, to obtain coverage via channels that you need a considerable amount of money to access.  

Costly campaigns

However, it is questionable whether this approach will succeed. In order to raise funds, the initiators first of all need to create and post on the site a campaign concept on their pet subject, in the hope that this will attract financial contributions from those who support their views. However before the campaign can start to be rolled out, an initial contribution milestone must be reached. This may vary according to the chosen media channel but is set at a minimum of €3,000 – a substantial sum. “Media space is extremely costly, and it seems to be proving difficult to raise such sums of money,” says Michelle Blanc, a noted conference speaker and blogger from Quebec who specialises in Web strategy and marketing issues. “There’s no doubt that some of the initiatives proposed by Internet campaigners and public interest groups are really great, but the sums coming in are tiny - with for instance just €137 and €235 being raised by two campaign - and far from the actual cost of rolling out an effective communication plan,” she points out.

Communicating via social networks

But it’s not too hard to see why so little money is flowing in: apparently people who do contribute online to MasstoMass campaigns get nothing in return for their contribution, as opposed to other crowdfunding platforms which offer either a dividend on the funds invested, or else supply the investor with a product or service. Michelle Blanc also argues that although obtaining coverage in the traditional press might attract the attention of a different public than the Internet community, it’s not really a must for getting yourself known. “The social networks are today an easy and low-cost way to reach a large number of people who might potentially be interested in supporting an initiative or a cause,” she underlines. Nevertheless, MassToMass might find businesses a useful source of contributions. The site invites companies to finance all or part of a given campaign – a philanthropic approach that might appeal to some firms.  


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