Metroland Media Group is staying connected to their communities through a new crowdfunding initiative.
“This is community focused where readers can help people in their own community,” explained Terry Kukle, vice president of business development at Metroland Media Group.
Crowdfunding is a way for individuals, groups and businesses to appeal to the public to provide financial support for a cause or initiative.
This can range from supporting a family whose child is receiving cancer treatment or sending a group of students to build a school in Haiti to investing in a new gadget or helping an aspiring musician release their debut CD.
“Crowdfunding is not a unique concept – if you think way back, the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York was paid for by donations from citizens,” Kukle said.
Fuel Local allows anyone who meets the terms and conditions to start a campaign.
The website is divided into 16 sections of campaigns, such as business, education, arts and family.
The InsideHalton websites, including Burlington, Oakville and Milton, will also feature a crowdfunding section where local causes curated by local editors will be highlighted.
Kukle said a significant portion of regular crowdfunding initiatives are not successful because they aren’t able to reach beyond the fundraiser’s immediate circle of friends and family.
The advantage of Fuel Local is the increase of awareness through the many readers that visit the InsideHalton websites.
“The vast amount of campaigns don’t raise more than $500 because there’s not enough people that know the campaign exists,” Kukle said.
As with other crowdfunding online platforms, there is a service fee for Fuel Local.
The fee is set at seven per cent plus credit card processing fees, but may increase depending on the package of additional services chosen by the campaign owner.
There are safeguards through the program to ensure the cause is legitimate, but as with any crowdfunding site, contributors are asked to exercise caution.
“When there’s $0 attached to a campaign, people are reluctant to put money towards it unless they actually know the people,” said Kukle. “When there is already a portion of the money raised, they are more likely to give.”
To get started on the Fuel Local website, create a campaign at www.fuellocal.com.
Readers can visit www.InsideHalton.com to see highlighted crowdfunding initiatives in their community starting in early June.