With a Little Help From Friends

December 1, 2015, Department, by Sonia Myrick

Crowdfunding is proving a useful new tool for park and recreation agencies across the country.Forbes.com reported this past summer that by 2016, crowdfunding would account for more start-up monies than venture capital. This is an amazing development since up until about six years ago, crowdfunding was a relatively new phenomenon — the term “crowdfunding” was coined by entrepreneur Michael Sullivan in 2006. Now, even the Smithsonian Institution has embarked on its first crowdfunding campaign to raise the money needed to preserve Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 astronaut suit. In keeping with this trend, NRPA created Fund Your Park, a crowdfunding platform designed exclusively for park and recreation agencies. Since its launch, Fund Your Park has helped several agencies to either raise enough funds or created the momentum to help them reach their goals. Following are some interesting facts about crowdfunding in general, and Fund Your Park in particular:


160,000+: Number of donors, including young children, businessmen, street cleaners and politicians, to the Joseph Pulitzer fundraising campaign to cover the final $100,000 needed to complete the Statue of Liberty

1997: The year crowdfunding is said to have started with the British rock band Marillion (the band raised $60,000 online to fund its U.S. tour)

4: The primary types of crowdfunding: 

  • Equity-Based: Investors receive a stake in the company
  • Donation-Based: Contributions go toward a charitable cause
  • Lending-Based: Investors are repaid for their investment over a period of time
  • Reward-Based: Investors receive a tangible item or service in return for their funds

$26.1 million: Amount raised on #GivingTuesday, December 2, 2014 (up from $19.2 million in 2013 and $10.1 million in 2012, the first time this campaign was held)

17 minutes: Time it took Pebble Technology to raise $500,000 during a February 2015 campaign

308: Number of crowdfunding platforms worldwide in 2013


Fund Your Park:

$625,646: Total amount of funds raised

30: The number of projects that have benefited

19: The number of states represented by projects 

$401,630: The highest amount raised so far for an individual project

39: Average number of participants per Fund Your Park campaign

8: Number of playgrounds featured on Fund Your Park

Sources: www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/a-brief-history-of-crowdfunding, www.forbes.com/sites/chancebarnett/2015/06/09/trends-show-crowdfunding-to-surpass-vc-in-2016, https://doublethedonation.com/blog/2015/09/expert-advice-on-taking-advantage-of-giving-tuesday, www.crowdfunding.de/crowdfunding-wortschoepfer-michael-sullivan-im-interview, and www.mobilecause.com/statistics