What do you do when you're a scientist and you have no job and no money for your research? If you're Ethan Perlstein, you try crowd funding. He raised $25,000 to investigate where the drug methamphetamine is stored in the brain.
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Kickstarter, the crowd-funding site that pairs indie-minded inventors and entrepreneurs with online investors, fully funded more than 18,000 projects in 2012, according to its end-of-year analysis. The site says that in total, more than 2.2 million people pledged a total of nearly $320 million. For the year, 17 projects raised more than $1 million.
Big-hearted Americans always rush to give money after a disaster. Just how much and how fast is often determined by technology. After the earthquake in Haiti, texting small donations, for example, became a new standard practice.
This time around, Hurricane Sandy has shown crowdfunding websites are a simple tool for quick-response giving. Anyone can go on these sites and ask for money to rebuild or to help their neighbors rebuild. Friends, family and strangers chip in.