Today’s youth believe in the power of the people. According to our 2016 Youth Culture Uncovered Report, nearly 80% of young people hope that people power will shape the future, over governments or tech giants. Peer power manifests and thrives in many ways across youth culture, but nowhere is this more evident from a commercial perspective than with crowdfunding, where the most engaged age group are 24-35 year olds.
CHARITABLE CROWDFUNDING: A LITTLE FROM A LOT GOES A LONG WAY:
Young people are more likely to give to a crowdfunding page than to charity. The dynamics of online charity are very different from traditional charity and philanthropy, making it easy for those with a good pitch (and good connections) to raise money quickly. Last year, The Youth Lab met with Max Doyle of One For Ireland, who spoke about the lifting the barriers to young people giving to charities, by enabling them to donate as little as one euro to the cause and crowdfund a solution to the homelessness crisis.
THE RISE OF THE NICHE:
While crowdfunding spans a spectrum of industries, interestingly, we are seeing these areas branch into individual platforms - built by industry. These niche crowdfunding platforms such as the likes of Fig for game development and ScholarMatch for education funding, enable people to be involved with a range of potential projects defined by their interests. Crowdemand is an interesting retail revolution which allows fashion designers to test the popularity of their designs and pre-sell them to an audience, allowing them to secure funding before completing their designs.
CONTENT CREATORS CROWDFUNDING: THE RISE OF PATREON
An interesting development in the field of content creators meets crowdfunding, is the rapid success of platform Patreon which has doubled in size in the last year. It’s increasingly attracting content creators who crave an alternative to advertising supported media. This is a channel that allows monthly subscribers to fund their favourite creators on a monthly basis. It’s the digital influencers equivalent of a tiered subscription model, with content locked behind paywalls. Already a favourite in the Podcasting world, this is a platform to watch over the next twelve months.
COLLABORATION COUNTS: COLLECTIVE SUCCESS
Statistically, crowdfunding has thrived in two areas: technology and the arts. It makes sense that in an age of the sharing economy, where ownership is a questioned concept, this approach resonates so well with young people. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves; whether that be that a cutting edge tech innovation, a band they adore or a cause that they align themselves with.
South African punk band Fokofpolisiekar (the translation is exactly what you think) used a local crowdfunding platform known as Thundafund to release their first record in 11 years. With their R500,000 target reached nine days into a sixty day campaign, the band promised free live shows to double their initial target, resulting in a gold album before a recording was even made. Generous donations from brands like Converse (which created limited-edition merch), combined with the auctioning off of personal musical items, saw a record breaking final amount of 1 million rand (roughly €70,000) raised.
BRAND TAKE OUT:
Provide purpose in your collective: Young people want to feel part of a collective movement. They want to feel that they, along with their peers, are enabling something whether they play a big or a small role. How can we as brands take our consumers on a journey to allow them to feel more involved, as co-owners, of the ideas and products we provide?