A Smart City is a city that utilizes technology, integrating it in all public spaces. This can be everything from a mobile application that tells you, in real-time, when your bus will reach your stop to having free wi-fi in all public spaces, open data on city demographics to interactive zoning maps. With so many fantastic apps available, it is no surprise that there are crowdfunding and donation apps to help sustain community projects, charities, and non-profits in a tech-focused, online manner. While the list is long, these three citizen-centered applications are our favourites for creating and supporting citizen-lead projects, groups, and organizations.
Citizinvestor is a crowdfunding and civic engagement platform made specifically for local government projects. Citizinvestor takes projects that are already supported by community groups, citizens, and local government and gives them a platform to raise the necessary funds to bring the project to fruition. After a project is created through their platform, citizens can donate to their favourite projects and receive a tax-deduction receipt. Much like other crowdsourcing platforms, money is not taken from the donor's credit card until the project has reached its funding goal (before its deadline).
Spacehive is a crowdfunding platform that aims to make civic engagement through community projects as easy as possible for as many people as possible. Some of the projects created and backed through their platform include updating playgrounds and parks, renovating old buildings, and creating art hubs in a variety of cities, towns, and villages across the United Kingdom. With resources on how to create a project, engage with people, and attract media, Spacehive aims to make places distinctive, lively and loved. So far, the total value of funded projects is £4.9M with an average value of projects of £27.6K. Almost 70 cities, towns, and villages in the United Kingdom have Spacehive projects.
Crowdfunding is great if you have extra cash to spare. If you are more of the giving in-kind goods instead of fiscal donations type of person, there are still options for you to improve your neighbourhood using applications.
Operating out of Chicago, Zealous Good matches charities with items that people want to donate. Let’s say you just bought a new computer and have your old (but still complete functional) laptop that you’ve just restored to factory settings. You can go to Zealous Good, fill out a short form that will let you know what charities and non-profits need your computer. All you have to do is drop it off or schedule a pick up. From shelving units to children’s books, Zealous Good can find a home for almost anything. Working with over 500 charities and non-profits, t’s a win-win situation.