While crowdfunding has been a popular strategy for quite a while, especially so in the past few years, it remains a strategy for raising resources that could be more widely used. Some people still don’t know about crowdfunding or understand how it works. People may decide to make use of crowdfunding to start a business or to help others through fundraising. Essentially, if you have a cause that you believe in, you can use crowdfunding to encourage like-minded individuals to help you fund the idea. Crowdsourcing typically fits into one of four categories: Donation, reward, lending, and equity. However, you can expect crowdfunding to take new shapes and forms in 2015 and beyond, as well as a merging or mutation of the current categories. So don’t let the old categories pin you and your ideas down! What’s New in Crowdfunding? Beyond the expectation that crowdfunding will continue to grow in popularity in 2015, there are some trends that will be appearing with more regularity. By understanding the brief history of crowdsourcing as well as the near future trends, you’ll have a much better chance of ending up with a successful venture. \tVideo. As you’re creating materials to promote your crowdsourcing project, you can expect video’s importance to expand. As Internet connection speeds and cellular networking connection speeds continue to grow, people are able to view video over the Internet more successfully. No medium can tell your crowdfunding story quite like a smart, cutting-edge video. \tSophistication. As more individuals and organizations begin using crowdsourcing, expect more sophistication in campaigns. While simple ideas and opportunities will still have their place, the most successful large-scale crowdsourcing ideas will involve quite a bit of planning and extensive social media coverage. \tBig businesses. As crowdsourcing efforts show increasingly successful results, it shouldn’t be a surprise that more big businesses will seek to make use of this type of fundraising. While some providing funds to crowdsourcing projects may balk at giving money to large companies, that won’t stop them from trying. Small and start-up businesses should continue to have success in crowdsourcing, but it will be interesting to see what level of success larger businesses have in 2015. \tPre-project planning. With more crowdsourcing projects inundating potential donors going forward, crowdsourcing projects that take the time to plan will have more success. For example, come up with a few ideas for soliciting donations. Run your ideas past other people who you think are sure to believe in your cause, as well as others who you’re sure will not. Take note of which ideas work and which ones don’t with both groups to give your project a jumpstart. \tOversight. As this method of raising funds grows in popularity, the number of reports of people who feel they’ve been scammed by a crowdsourcing plan will grow too. Private and governmental organizations that oversee charitable giving are sure to demand more oversight with crowdsourcing projects in 2015. Governments may take a closer look at the tax ramifications of crowdsourcing-raised funds, too. \tOver-the-top campaigns. As the crowdsourcing field becomes more crowded, you can expect to see an increase in the number of projects that use over-the-top marketing ideas, some of which will work … and some of which may be offensive. Make sure you know your audience before starting your campaign. You’ll want to be as original as possible to make your crowdsourcing project stand out, but you don’t want to cross the line of good taste for the people who will be your primary contributors! Specific Crowdfunding Sites If you’re seeking crowdfunding sites, several new options have cropped up in the past 12 to 18 months. While Kickstarter may be one of the most well-known crowdfunding sites, look for other sites that are tailored to your needs. Consider sites like Crowdrise, FirstGIving, GiveForward, Indiegogo, and Invested.in to see which one meets your fundraising needs. Some crowdfunding sites are aimed at specific activities and are worth checking out if your needs match the site’s focus, such as Appbackr for funding mobile app development and PledgeMusic for funding aspiring musicians. And one of the most well-organized crowdfunding sites is Razoo, which splits projects into easy-to-understand categories, which should make it easier for interested parties to find you … which is the whole goal of joining a crowdsourcing site in the first place! If you liked this article, you might like: Social Media and Crowdfunding: Why You Should Use Both For Your Startup Recent Changes in Crowdfunding If you’re looking for a small business loan, and would like to see what options are there for you, click here to see your matches.