BY: LISA CUMMING
Crowdfunding has given us the ability to throw money at pretty much everything. This is how environmental activists are hacking the Internet to do something worthwhile.
Naturfunding is the brainchild of crowdfunding giant Indiegogo and popular European environmental website Naturlink. This Indiegogo partnership has been around since 2012 and currently has 25 campaigns.
The aim of Naturfunding is to:
Promote environmentally related causes, entrepreneurial initiatives and creative projects aiming to contribute to nature conservation, wise use of natural resources and a sustainable way of living.
The campaigns have raised over $200,000 so far, but that amount could be greatly exceeded with a little more public knowledge about the campaigns.
There are campaigns from the UK, Portugal, the U.S., Paraguay, Indonesia, Greece, Canada, and Belize.
The most popular campaigns have been to save the Iberian Wolf Recovery Centre, help protect threatened habitats and endangered species in South America, and to give the dolphins of Greece a chance.
Photo: © jimkruger
The campaign to save the Iberian Wolf Recovery Centre has raised over $46,000 USD by over 1,200 people in one month. The campaign has updated donors 19 times since the start and currently has 180 people who have claimed the $20 “Personalized Thank You Video.” This campaign is an example of the power of crowdfunding, and how a group of nameless benefactors can make a difference.
The entire platform of Naturfunding works on the principle of “slacktivism” in hope of engaging potential donors in helping environmentally related causes by rewarding them with gifts according to the amount of money donated. Crowdfunding, in essence, was formed on the assumption that donors like not only seeing where their money is going but reaping immediate rewards from their good deeds. For example, donating $20 to save the whales and being sent a “free” t-shirt not only tells the rest of the world of this good deed, but gives the donor instant satisfaction.
Despite the easy rewards that come with donating, Naturfunding has only one active campaign. Its parent site Naturlink is written in Portugese, so that may explain some of the barriers felt by potential donors.
Photo: © konradlew
The campaigns on Naturfunding are all aimed at conservation and sustainability, whether it be protecting an endangered species or working towards creating an artistic representation of Africa.
While not all the expired campaigns reached their ultimate end goals, due to Indiegogo’s policies the money raised was still awarded to the campaigns (minus a percentage taken in fees due to the campaign’s failure).
By making a brand out of saving the environment, there is a newfound potential for boots-on-the-ground activists to make a real difference by obtaining the resources they need, from anonymous donors nonetheless, to actually advance their causes.