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Is matched crowdfunding the next big thing?

Pioneering Kiwi crowdfunding platform PledgeMe reckons matched funding campaigns could be one of the trends in the space, having formed a track record of formal and informal campaigns using the model.

The funding method is helping revolutionise the grant giving model by letting the crowd decide who should be funded by traditional funding bodies, says CEO Anna Guenther.

Its big pluses include a higher project success rate, support structure for campaign creators and the motivation for creators to reach their goal because they can double their funding, she says.

“Informally it just happens direct between the creator and matched funder, formally it’s the match funder that comes to us, then they source the creators.”

Pledge Me has two formal matched campaigns with 13 projects, along with several carried out informally, says Guenther. A few are in the pipeline for the rest of this year, she adds.

The largest example of matched funding on PledgeMe was Back the Bull, which aimed to bring back one of two standing bull bronze sculptures by artist Michael Parekowhai, which had earlier stood in post-earthquake rubble in Christchurch City for 30 days.

The installation was named On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer and the Christchurch Art Gallery Trust exceed its $200,000 target for the project, thanks in large part to matched funding from Westpac.

“It’s amazing the motivational power that comes from promising to match funds raised if a projects goal is met,” Guenther said in a recent blog. “We really think it’s one of the areas where crowdfunding is going to make a big mark in 2014.

“Think group decision making meets pre-existing funding. So, what happens is if a project can meet it’s goal through the power of their crowd, they’ll double the funding they receive.”

This year the model has worked for Loading Docs, where 10 short documentaries received NZ On Air and Film Commission funding, matched through PledgeMe back in February. Three projects were funded within days.

Another was the Smart Energy Challenge, where Wellington City Council teamed with social enterprise organisations Enspiral and Generation Zero to co-fund Smart Energy projects. Each of the three projects exceeded their fundraising goals. 

Amanda Sachtleben is an Auckland writer and social media type, who's also Idealog's former tech editor and business journalist.

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