Crowdfunding and SDGs open data to accelerate knowledge about sustainability and citizen participation

01/January/2022 by Olivier Schulbaum
Sustainable Development Goals in the Goteo crowdfunding platform
Olivier Schulbaum

Olivier Schulbaum

Co-founder of Platoniq Foundation

Social entrepreneur, founder of the ethical crowdfunding platform Goteo. I work as a consultant in numerous national and foreign organisations applying my knowledge and extensive experience in design and development of agile methodologies and open source tools for digital social innovation. Since 2001 I have been carrying out actions and projects in which the social uses of Information and Communication Technologies and networking are applied to the promotion of communication, self-training and citizen organisation. Member of the Board of Trustees of the Civio Citizen Foundation.

At Platoniq I interpret the needs of our partners taking into account new social challenges, opportunities and technological paradigms. I have been running projects since 2001, applying the social uses of ICT and distributed networks to improve communication, self-training, social entrepreneurship and citizen organisation. My work with Platoniq has been presented at innovation conferences and digital culture festivals and has been implemented in organisations such as the Basque cooperative Mondragon and in several educational spaces in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

With an early release of open research data in the Social Sciences, we present the results of a pioneering initiative that unites action research and open knowledge, developed in collaboration between the Dimmons research group of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya and the Goteo civic crowdfunding initiative.

The results here consist in a detailed dataset and its corresponding data descriptor in Scientific Data, containing various statistics on 487 campaigns on Goteo.org that followed various crowdfunding modalities, in parallel to its relationship with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.

See full paper here.

For this, through a process of coding and enriching data based on the 17 SDG indicators, in accordance with the impact “footprints” that Goteo was already presenting on its campaigns, between both organizations we have managed to generate not only a volume of open data reusable by other research initiatives on SDGs and crowdfunding, but also a qualitative and quantitative improvement in the way the Goteo platform itself allows to classify campaigns in relation to the SDGs.

The Goteo open source platform, led by the Goteo Foundation, was established in 2011 for the development of social and solidarity economy initiatives and open knowledge, something that in the platform’s strategy translates as “crowdvocacy”.

Apart from a crowdfunding tool used by thousands of projects and hundreds of communities since its beginning (to achieve collaborations both monetary and in other voluntary resources), Goteo constitutes in a way an experimentation laboratory in citizen participation and civic technologies (similarly to projects like Ushahidi or Decidim).

As an example, among its different platform features one of the financing modalities that Goteo enables for campaigns is “match-funding”, which consists of an algorithm for automatic multiplication of donations thanks to public and monetary fund, which “match” contributions for the types of projects they want to support.

Added to this, there’s an initial mechanism for users of the platform to classify their initiatives according to three types of impact “footprints” (social, democratic and ecological), and a first automatic assignment that relates it to the SDGs that through this collaboration with Dimmons team could be refined and extended, prior to the preparation of the open dataset that we now share.

We believe that this open data and open research initiative can be a good starting point to continue expanding possibilities of transdisciplinarity and action research, so we would like to invite more researchers and digital activists to contact Dimmons or access the Goteo API for exploring the reuse or improvement of the dataset that we have prepared. From this open knowledge perspective, we also believe that it is important to raise the need for more crowdfunding platforms (and for civic software in general) to join this effort and release open data, to allow a wider and rigorous access to derived research that can broaden this field of knowledge.

From a perspective of social impact of civic technologies, based on the idea of “crowdvocacy”, future lines of similar research that we are considering is to continue refining the analysis of citizen participation around the SDGs within other platforms related to Goteo, as well as in its connection with more stakeholders and actors in the economy, governance and sustainability spheres.

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