Crowdfunding from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Crowd funding (sometimes called crowd financing, crowd sourced capital, or street performer protocol) describes the collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool their money and other resources together, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. Crowd funding occurs for any variety of purposes, from disaster relief to citizen journalism to artists seeking support from fans, to political campaigns, to funding a startup company or small business[1] or creating free software.

The crowd funding approach has long precedents in the sphere of charity It is receiving renewed attention from both commercial and social entrepreneurs now that social media, online communities and micropayment technology make it straightforward to engage and secure donations from a group of potentially interested supporters at very low cost.

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Crowd Funding – Capitalization For Start-Ups and Growing Businesses
The Internationalist Page (5 Jan 11)