Sunday, September 25, 2022

Crowdfunding: A silent hero in the Covid-19 era

Crowdfunding

As the world preps itself for a second wave of Covid-19 and vaccine development continues, one cannot deny the hardships humanity has faced this year.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes struggled, economies slowed, and people were overworked from the comfort of their own homes. But if there’s one thing that defines successful entrepreneurs and business leaders, it’s their determination in the face of adversity.

The silent hero and lifeline for that determination has been online crowdfunding.

Platforms such as Indiegogo, Patreon, GoFundMe, and others were the lifeline of many small to medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as solo entrepreneurs working away at their passion projects from the confines of their living rooms.

During 2020, visits to crowdfunding platforms tripled, as 300,000 people actively donated to different projects and causes this month alone, according to numbers by Deloitte.

During the height of the pandemic, brick-and-mortar businesses experienced a painfully screeching halt to their operations, while digitally literate businesses have fared much better during the lockdown.

According to numbers revealed by Indiegogo, the platform witnessed an increase in overall traffic at nearly 14 percent compared to the same time last year, and daily funds raised on the site were up 24 percent compared to the second half of March 2019.

“An air conditioner, an e-bike, and a coffee grinder gained top billing on Indiegogo in March 2020, revealing a world stuck at home and raring to get back into the world,” the report by the crowdfunding site highlighted.

While a world stuck at home sought to fund passion projects across the aisle, there were several Covid-19 related campaigns published on these sites. This is cause for concern since cyberattacks have skyrocketed during 2020, mainly due to hackers highly exploiting the pandemic.

According to India-based market researcher, Market Research Future, the Covid-19 outbreak has significantly altered the healthcare industry worldwide, throwing several challenges at it.

The overwhelming scenario, since the advent of the novel coronavirus pandemic, has been further aggravated by the alarming rise in cybersecurity threats.

“Malicious hackers are leveraging the pandemic by launching a slew of ransom-ware attacks and phishing campaigns. It is not surprising that following the onset of SARS-CoV-2 and the increased vulnerability due to the lockdown, hackers have become even more active than ever before,” the report highlighted.

Many of these crowdfunding platforms have taken note of this and acted on being wary of these potentially illicit activities; some of these platforms have kept a close eye on Covid-19 related campaigns, as well as stepping up their review processes using the U.S. Department of Justice’s guidelines toward predatory campaigns that take advantage of people in need.

“Accordingly, products claiming to be anti-viral or specifically mentioning the coronavirus are actively being monitored by our Trust and Safety team. Without providing proof of efficacy, the campaigns that we contact and/or fall under this category will be taken down. We have no intention of allowing people to take advantage of the Indiegogo community by using Covid-19 as a selling point,” Indiegogo said in a statement.

Crowdfunding has grown in popularity in an attempt to help startups, SMEs, and even philanthropic causes receive funding during these hard times.

Not only that, but these platforms have opened the door for individuals as well as NGOs to create awareness campaigns about Covid-19 while raising funds for procuring emergency kits and to assist food banks.

In parallel, crowdfunding is also actively working to assist the people most effected by the pandemic and its lockdown such as maids, watchmen, plumbers, electricians, and the like.

This has shown that despite national lockdowns, these initiatives have evoked a sense community, solidarity, as well as philanthropic emotions with others.

One can contribute as much as they like according to their will and capacity, without feeling shy or bad about anything. Thus, an important aspect of these platforms is that it provides an avenue for contribution without any social pressure.

Even though if we find ourselves stuck at home, many people are trying to maintain momentum in their daily lives. The pandemic has proved to be an opportunity for people across the world to explore their passion for social initiatives in their otherwise busy lives.