We’ve all heard about crowdfunding — a way for individuals or organizations to raise money via small contributions from a large number of people, often done through internet-based platforms such as the popular Kickstarter, GoFundMe, IndieGogo and YouCaring. CrowdSOURCING uses the same concept but applies to collecting ideas, skills and other input.

(Side note: crowdfunding can be considered a subset of crowdsourcing for the purpose of this article, we are going to set aside fundraising.)

Wikipedia is an excellent example of crowdsourcing. Millions of users contribute to the growth of an ever-evolving online encyclopedia. Websites offer ways for artists, writers, designers and engineers to solve problems, create art and pool resources.

Why is crowdsourcing valuable?

Of course, crowdsourcing is the implementation of the age old adage of “two heads are better than one” many times over. More input means more creativity, more solutions, more support.

Crowdsourcing also creates personal investment. When people contribute their own ideas and talents — even if they aren’t used in the final product — they feel more attached to the project and will be more likely to promote it.

How can you harness the “power in numbers” strategy of crowdsourcing?

First, you probably already do! Any time you are collecting data, you are using crowdsourcing to gather multiple perspectives on one issue. Any time you hold a meeting to discuss a new campaign, you are crowdsourcing. Even the contact page on your website encourages crowdsourcing!

But there are more ways to crowdsource. Here are just a few ideas to get your staff, community and students involved.

Create a poster contest for upcoming campaigns. Have students contribute their own artwork for fundraising campaigns, blood drives and upcoming events.

Host a staff talent night. Students LOVE to see their teachers in a new light. A staff talent night guarantees a full house — and a full cash box if you charge entrance fees!

Use a mock presidential election to also gather input from your students. Add in a few opinion poll questions such as “What would make

Tap into the talents of your media & performance arts clubs to create videos for the school.

Challenge your computer science students to create or customize apps that can be useful to your

With a little creativity, you’ll be amazed at how much more creativity your crowdsourcing efforts can yield!

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