Activism Taps Big-Time Crowdfunding

Activism has long suffered the same curse as does the starving artist -- so much heart and so little capital. Until recently, that is. Tapping crowdfunding in a big way, activism has re-emerged in a bigger, bolder form. And now it has both heart and capital. Everywhere there is turmoil, we see this trend emerge, reaching out to people and money to make a much more effective impact. Following are just a few select examples, from across the globe, presaging what is expected to be an even larger social phenomena throughout 2013.

UK/Global. "The People's Voice: A free global internet TV & Radio station." This project blew past the £100,000 goal in the first 6 days, attracting the likes of comedian/actor Russell Brand (it doesn't hurt he has 1.7 million facebook likes). Just getting warmed up, they announced a new goal of £300,000.

Egypt. Mosireen is a non-profit media collective & workspace in downtown Cairo, "born out of the explosion of citizen media and cultural activism in Egypt during the revolution." Mosireen trains journalists, screen films and does archival work. Their $40,000 goal was reached, and their YouTube channel was the most viewed non-profit channel in the world in January 2013 and the most viewed non-profit channel in Egypt of all time.

US. Court Stenographer for Bradley Manning's Trial. The Freedom of the Press Foundation pushed for a crowdfunded stenographer to attend the Bradley Manning trial, given that the military refuses to release transcripts of their own. They're most of the way towards a $100,000 goal and the judge ruled that their stenographer would be accommodated in the trial. As a result, transcripts of the trial are being put online.

NYC/Turkey. "Full Page Ad for Turkish Democracy in Action." Inspired by Turkish civil rights demonstrations, New York supporters raised $108,000 (on a goal of $54,000) for a full-page ad placed in The New York Times, which has already been accomplished.

Spain. Enraged by the near collapse and bailout of Bankia, one of Spain's largest banks, activists crowdfunded a law suit against Bankia's former chairman, Rodrigo Rato. Along with a successful raise of €18,359, organizers used Twitter to recruit many Bankia shareholders and former employees to testify in the lawsuit.