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What Obama’s Vision of OFA Means for CrowdFunding

BY Rodrigo Davies As the field of civic crowdfunding emerges and grows, it is spawning many competing visions of what the field is and where its appeal comes from. Lately I’ve been thinking about questions such as: How much is crowdfunding about community and shared values? How much is it about physical places? How much is it about a desire to participate and feel agency, and how much is it about ownership? It’s unlikely to be just one of the above, and surely differs across contexts. But there are instances that present one vision over the others. Last week, President Obama made a clear appeal to the last category, ownership, by tweeting this image about Organizing for Action. Let’s remind ourselves that “ownership society” was an expression used by George W. Bush to justify tax cuts, and was a concept popularized by Margaret Thatcher as a rationale for privatization. I’m not suggesting Obama has morphed into either of the above, and campaign fundraising is a different world than domestic policy or civic crowdfunding, but the weight of his words shouldn’t be underestimated. Obama’s successive fundraising triumphs have had a talismanic effect: Many of the civic crowdfunders I’ve interviewed cite Obama’s campaign fundraising […]

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