The news about the crowdfunding campaign to build a protective case for Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit looks to be confirming a trend: governments are counting on crowdfund to raise money for projects. The outcomes can be very interesting.
We could see how appealing it is when a guy from England launched a crowdfunding campaign to bail Greek government. The campaign didn’t turn out successful, even because the goal was nearly 2 billion euros. But 2 million were raised nonetheless and Indiegogo website even crashed because of the project.
Armstrong’s Reboot the Suit campaign
Armstrong’s spacesuit protective case is a much less ambitious project however. The goal is building a kind of transparent refrigerator to preserve the suit, something that’ll take “only” $500,000. In order to achieve that, Smithsonian Institute launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in the 46th anniversary of the landing on Moon.
The project went live on Kickstarter. The authors say the website provides a wide audience that makes achieving their goals easier. The campaign barely kicked in but beat the goal in the first few running days.
What’s curious about this campaign is that Smithsonian is federally funded. In their Kickstarter page, the institute claims that government pays for operations expenses but not for projects like this, so that’s why they chose to crowdfund it.
The cause, of course, appeals to patriotism and the perks offered are very good. Among special visits to the museum and special receptions, backers can even have their names in plates as donors in the museum if they donate $10,000 and can have their taxes deducted, something that makes the actual value spent much lower. The way the campaign was set up is perfect.
It’s, however, an interesting use of crowdfunding. Could governments use crowdfunding as a way to finance specific projects that they deem important? Could crowdfunding be used as a research tool to measure how popular a government or a cause is?