Crowdfunding is what happens when $ are applied to crowdsourcing, such as when fans raise money to record the first CD for an unknown band. It’s a matter of time before people are allowed to formally crowdsource either the buildings they live in, or buildings in their neighborhood they believe in.
One major step in that direction is Crowdfunder, started by a pair of Boulder, Colorado entrepreneurs who formed the company simply based on what they felt was one of the biggest needs in the marketplace – the ability for people to raise money for just about anything, anytime and soon anywhere (it’s beta testing only in Boulder right now.) Whether it’s $50 to finance a young girl’s trip to a soccer tournament or $3000 to support the aforementioned recording artist, you can contribute. Only when the goal is reached by the stated deadline is the money provided to the source, otherwise all the money is returned.
The service is presently free in its beta mode, but it will charge a rather whopping 7.5% fee, plus the 2.9% fee that goes with PayPal. In other words, if you contribute $1000 to a project, only $896 will reach their bank account.
Still, it’s a fair enough price for smaller projects and I assume that fee will find it’s way down, especially for larger budgets. It will be a matter of time however until a crowdfunding tool is established for business investment purposes, especially real estate, but it’s time will come based on the fact that it’s already in use in Fiji.