While individuals and entrepreneurs have found that GoFundMe, Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns have helped launch small businesses, governments are having a decidedly mixed response. Can platforms like Neighbor.ly help change that?
The Detroit suburb of Royal Oak, Mich., raised $100,000 to create a downtown park on an overlooked space between a parking garage and a railroad track. The bankrupt town of Central Falls, R.I., paid for new artistic recycling bins for a public park with $10,000 in crowdfunded donations. Denver raised $35,000 from crowdfunding for part of the cost of a new bike lane. But others have miscalculated, such as Maryland’s Frederick County, which raised only about $200 of its $120,000 request for a remodeled playground. “Our lesson learned [is] it would be more likely to be successful on smaller projects,” said Paul Dial, Frederick County’s parks director. “The smaller and more personal they are — I think it has to be the right [project] matched to the right community.”