Hardly a day goes by in the development world without hearing the term “platform”. Like in the business world, it’s becoming harder for any development organization to provide a single service or product that will make broad impact. Airbnb doesn’t build homes, it creates a network that brings together host and guest.
Likewise, it’s impossible to eradicate poverty – a complex phenomenon – without connecting different areas of expertise and partners across a wide range of thematic issues. And it’s often the case that the people we’re trying to pull out of poverty are closer to the problem and entitled to have a say about the solution.
While building platforms doesn’t happen overnight, it’s highly likely you’re already working in ways that resemble that. Take crowdfunding: it helps diversify funding, involves target groups, and mobilizes experts from all walks of life. I’ve led 35 crowdfunding campaigns at UNDP since 2015 and mobilized US$1.2 million. Our field offices are working on US$7 million worth of campaigns. So here’s my take-away:
Crowdfunding is the originator of all modern development platforms. When we turn to platforms, we direct money where it is most needed. People can crowdsource the best ideas and vote for them. Governments and donors can match the funds collected, financing projects citizens actually support.
In an increasingly networked age, it’s not only capable of unleashing significant impact. It can also inspire thousands of development organizations around the world to rally partners and contribute to global causes more effectively.
This post was originally published on IPS News.
Alternative Finance Lab is an internal startup run out of UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub.