Goteo: Cloudfunding the Commons

Ever wanted to contribute to a crowdfunding campaign but didn't have money to spare? Goteo, a now mature crowdfunding website for social and open source projects out of Spain, allows campaigners to crowdsource their outstanding balance through non-financial means, resulting in what the founders call "cloudfunding."

Cloudfunding is a way of drawing on a larger, more diverse bank of capital that you may require to complete your task, but didn't know you had at your disposal. These contributions can include timebank hours, skillsharing, alternative currencies, and more.

When you browse projects on Goteo, you can respond to calls for "non-economic needs." In many cases, your skills are worth more than money! Responses for non-financial help are all done publicly so you can join the conversation at any time. To date there have been over 2,000 responses for non-financial help.

In addition, Goteo partners with local authorities who will directly benefit from these commons-based projects and in certain cases they co-finance the projects, matching dollar-for-dollar the donations people give, up to €50.

The Basque government has co-financed about €10,000 in health related projects and are continuing to invest.

The Goteo philosophy is unique amoung crowdfunding sites because the projects they choose are all commons based:

We need individuals, civic organizations, and public and private entities of all stripes, whose common focus is an interest in the development of a collective, open source, knowledge-based society. Goteo differs from other models of crowdfunding by positioning itself as a social network composed of promoters, co-financers, and collaborators.  -From Goteo.org "About" page.

Goteo isn't just a crowdfunding platform but also a social network for innovators that support projects through the various aforementioned channels or simply by connecting people with others in their network. It is managed by the Spanish non-profit "Open Source Foundation" which guides the initiative. 

Goteo has already established itself fairly well within the free and open source software community worldwide and also with many local authorities throughout Spain and in Latin America. Now they are looking to expand their model a bit further and, considering that the site's interface is already in five languages, it looks like it will work.

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