Crowd funding is a way to get access to money to finance projects. There are a wide range of possibilities with this forum.
I explored 5 different models of crowfunding:
- donation based
- reward based
- equity crowdfunding
- debt crowdfunding
- real estate crowdfunding
All of these have their own protocols and methods but the most appropriate for photography assignment and projects would be donation based and reward based crowdfunding.
Donation based crowdfunding essentially is just that. Here, you ask for small donations from a large number of people. Usually this is a project that has some benefit for a community in some way.
Reward based crowdfunding is whereby the person initiating the project offers a low cost reward to the giver, ranging (examples from Jacob Maetz) from prints to those who give large amounts to a mention of the donor on the website (suggested to put up a website for the project). This is more incentive based for the giver although on the whole I guess it provides people with a stronger sense of engagement with the work.
As Maetz points out, you have to do your preparation and planning before diving in. This I think is obvious as usually a photography project is bound to involve time in research and planning. He mentions key points like clear goals and keeping the funders up to date with what is going on. The more prepared you are, the better chance of success.
Kickstarter does seem to be the more recommended platform for arts based projects, according to what I have read.
Emphas.is is a platform that is specifically to do with photojournalism. http://www.emphas.is
As Jose points out on the OCA blog forum on this subject, the fundraising initiative online is blurring the boundary between what is professional photography and what is not. At the same time it offers up new initiatives for serious documentary photographers to expand into a long term project that is worthy of cause.
- OCA website forum on crowdfunding: https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/photography/crowd-funding/?cn-reloaded=1
- Photojournalistic fundraising: http://www.emphas.is
- 7 essentials for crowdfunding: https://www.lightstalking.com/crowd-fund-photography/
- Choosing a crowdfunding platform: https://www.crowdfunding.com/selection/