Blog 4: Diaspora crowdfunding: Why & How?


Why do members of the diaspora participate in crowdfunding projects in their country of origin?

Little needs to be said about the potential of crowdfunding. In other blogs I have already talked about the challenges and opportunities that crowdfunding can bring to the project owner and the (prospective) donor. Not only has crowdfunding grown to a more long-term and sustainable solution for funding needs, it has also been extending its products and target groups.

As the Worldbank already concluded in 2013, engaging resource-rich diaspora member to invest in crowdfunding projects in their country of origin could seriously stimulate the economy in emergent nations.

But how?

To name but a few of the mechanisms at work. These are different from some I identified in my last posting as research shows that, next to the general mechanisms that stimulate charitable giving, the diaspora seem motivated by some additional factors.

  1. A feeling of urgency to save the homecountry seems to underlie many donations. Diaspora members tend to feel responsible for the success and progress of their country of origin.
  2. Diaspora donors are more likely to identify with the project owners and be susceptible to emotional solicitations.
  3. The awareness of the ‘gap’ in both opportunities and material wealth between host country and homecountry seems to stimulate ‘guilty giving’ as a way to feel better about not returning.

A first conclusion is that there may be more emotional psychology to diaspora crowdfunding, and that has a few implications for the crowdfunder.

So what?

These distinct characteristics imply that the design of a crowdfunding project that is aimed at the diaspora is a little different from the mainstream. For instance, it works to:

  • Frame the message as a strong appeal to feelings of patriotism and meaningful involvement,
  • Create an even stronger “we”- rhetoric that helps in building this ‘imagined community’ of helpers to the emergence of the country of origin (creating a common enemy helps).
  • Have rewards and benefits for large amount donations that be catering to these needs for acknowledgement and ‘guilt relief’ for the best results.

Want to start your own crowdfunding project aimed at the diaspora? Don’t hesitate to contact me and learn more about how to do it.