Today I want to talk about how downtown revitalization can benefit greatly from using crowdsourcing. If you haven’t heard of the term, don’t worry; I’ll fill you in. According to Wikipedia,
“Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.”
Crowdsourcing can take place in a variety of ways. For example, the definition I included came from Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a crowdsourcing website that thrives off users writing and editing articles. It’s awesome in the sense that anyone can contribute.
Like Wikipedia, crowdsourcing is a perfect fit for small and rural towns because they both rely on the same thing, a strong community. When this community works together towards a common goal, cool things can happen. In the case of a small town in Connecticut called Torrington, an organization called Our Baseball Haven used a form of crowdsourcing called crowdfunding to bring summer collegiate baseball back to their town. Local residents were offered the chance to buy into the baseball team for a fee of $100. If they decided to buy in, they received member voting rights that allowed them to vote on issues relating to the team.
I love this example because it shows how community collaboration can create powerful results. It also gives insight into the endless possibilities that can be achieved. For example, what happens if members of your community started talking about how awesome it would be to have an ice cream then shop downtown. By using the power of crowdfunding, these people could donate money to a fund towards the development of an ice cream shop. As I said before, the possibilities are endless! If you want to see a good example of a community using crowdsourcing to help revitalize their downtown, check out Bristol Rising .
As a rural business, crowdsourcing can also have enormous benefits.
- Need help deciding on a logo? Include a poll on your website to allow customer’s express their opinions.
- Need help deciding on a new dish for your restaurant? Ask your customers on Facebook.
- Want to know what products your customers wished you carried? Create conversations with them on Twitter.
I think you get the general idea. If you want to get more information on how to use crowdsourcing for your small business, check out Business News Daily’s article, Crowdsourcing Business Ideas: How to Do It.
Luckily, there are many different crowdsourcing services currently available. I’ve included a couple examples to showcase how diverse some of these crowdsourcing campaigns can be.
- Feed the Hearts -Members earn virtual currency by taking surveys, watching videos, and shopping to fund up-and-coming musicians.
- Crowd Rise -Offers the ability to create an online fundraiser for any social cause.
- Kickstarter -Online fundraiser for creative projects.
- Cause Pub -Crowdsourcing for publishing books.
Do you have any good examples of how crowdsourcing could be used for your current or potential businesses? I’ve always thought a cool idea for crowdfunding a BBQ restaurant would be for every person who donated $50 or more gets a personalized brick with their name and a quote on it. These engrained bricks would then be made into some fixture located at the business. I’m curious to hear your ideas though. It doesn’t matter if your idea isn’t feasible; I encourage thinking outside the box!