SXSW Interactive 2013

Can Crowdfunding Save Local Government Budgets?

There are countless local government projects that are not completed due to lack of funding. These are projects like building new parks, renovating neighborhood pools and adding bike lanes - projects that governments want to take on and citizens want to invest in, but often can't.
For decades, we have seen citizens host neighborhood barbecues to raise money to save a park or library - projects that can only happen through government and citizens partnering together. But what do these barbecues look like in the 21st century and what does it look like when vastly more projects have a chance of being funded?
Crowdfunding platforms focused on funding local government projects are sprouting up in the U.S. and abroad, giving citizens a direct say in where government spends their money for the first time in history. This panel will discuss the successes and failures of these startups and will answer the tough questions facing these new business models.

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  1. What types of government projects are being funded through crowdfunding? We are not going to end the national debt through crowdfunding, are we?
  2. Why would citizens give more money to government projects at a time when they feel over-taxed and under-served by government?
  3. What happens when a local government project is successfully funded through a crowdfunding platform and, after the project is started, it goes over budget like many government projects do?
  4. Do crowdfunding platforms for local government projects disproportionately favor rich neighborhoods over poor ones?
  5. Can citizens crowdfund a project that hasn't been approved by government and then use that momentum to get the project built?



Jordan Raynor, Co-founder, Citizinvestor

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