Crowdsourcing Capital with Knight and Maine Health Access Foundation

Four Types of Crowdsourcing

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation recently announced the winners of the 2011 Knight News Challenge. As Massachusetts residents, we are excited to see so much wealth invested locally: Knight has dropped over $1 million dollars on projects in Boston and Cambridge including Awesome Foundation, Public Laboratory, and Zeega.

However, in accordance with the principle of Honest Practice, the Transmission Project is interested not only in what Knight has chosen to fund, but also in how it and similar groups go about funding projects that impact local communities. Zero Divide’s March 2011 paper “Amplifying Social Impact in a Connected Age,” mentions that several of its research participants noted funders should

embrace more than “what we fund,” it should also include shifts in “how we fund.” One example is how several community foundations are including crowdsourcing as a technigque to gather more robust information on regional priorities for their grantmaking.

Taking its cue from previous research, the Transmission Project looks at Knight’s and Maine Health Access Foundation’s uses of online crowdsourcing in their grantmaking with the report “Back to the Source: How Collaboration Can Transform Online Engagement.” Drawing on interviews with leaders at these foundations, we review varying approaches to gathering wider feedback on grant applications and construct a framework that serves as a guide for future practices and as the foundation for a more inclusive crowdsourcing tool.

In addition to the report, we make available below an extensive list of current and past crowdsourcing efforts. The list loosely groups different sites based on Beth Kanter’s four categories of crowdsourcing.

Back to the Source - How Collaboration Can Transform Online Engagement.pdf314.64 KB
Transmission Project - Models of Crowdsourcing in Wisdom, Voting, Funding, Creation, and More.pdf75.31 KB


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