The wide diffusion of ICT based tools at a global level creates a new institutional environment for Third Sector Organizations (TSOs) and Social Enterprises (SEs) that cannot be ignored. A growing number of web platforms and social media are established in order to stimulate donations and financing tools – potentially to a worldwide audience/constituency – dedicated to sustain social oriented projects, environmental start up, and wide array of activities and programs of TSOs and SEs.
The above mentioned new ecosystem for TSOs and SEs introduce deep and irreversible changes in the meanings and uses of money for solidarity causes. The boundaries between “gift relationship” and “business relationship” are more and more fade.
What does it mean for the actors (a. citizens/donors; b. TSOs/SEs; c. beneficiaries of the services; d. traditional credit/financial institutions) involved in the process?
The paper tries to answer to the above research question through a focus on the Italian crowdfunding system and two case studies of successful crowdfunding campaigns. It is organized in five sections. In the first one we will illustrate the main typologies of crowdfunding platforms. The second section is dedicated to analyse the first two typologies that are those generally used by TSOs and SEs. In the third section we comment about the available data on the crowdfunding phenomenon in Italy. In the fourth section we present the aforementioned case studies of successful crowdfunding campaigns by TSOs in Emilia-Romagna Region (in further detail, in Romagna). Finally in the last and fifth section some conclusive remarks are based on a SWOT analysis of the crowdfunding tool for TSOs and SEs.
The methodology of this brief research is mixed: the authors firstly consulted the existing scientific literature in Italian, then carried out the analysis of some quantitative data on the crowdfunding phenomenon, and finally performed unstructured interviews with some privileged witnesses involved in the two case studies.
The aim is therefore to describe the functioning of crowdfunding campaigns, through the analysis of concrete cases, identifying those factors that may prove critical to their success or failure. These factors could be the starting point for a possible analytical modeling of successful cases (best practices), in order to transfer them to other territorial and socio-economic contexts.
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