Mapping Below the Radar: organisations on crowdfunding platforms

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Nesta Working Paper 15/05
Issued: May 2015
JEL Classification: C81, O33, Z13, L39  
Keywords: BTR research, Third Sector research, social action, civil society organisations, community groups, crowdfunding platforms, data-driven methods, co-link analysis.

Abstract

Mapping Below The Radar is a project aimed at exploring how data driven methods can be deployed to identify UK-based below the radar (BTR) groups on crowdfunding platforms.

On the one hand, it provides a methodology to map BTR activity on two crowdfunding platforms: Spacehive and Crowdfunder. Crowdfunding platforms were deemed a suitable environment to identify data on BTR organisations, as they can provide these organisations with the financial resources needed to carry out their work. As BTR groups are characterised by their activity, the project was the unit of analysis selected to account for this type of organisations.

This methodology has been developed into a software prototype that uses web crawling techniques to navigate crowdfunding projects through hyperlinks and capture those projects complying with certain criteria. Namely, projects are expected to be run by BTR organisations if:

  1. they meet the condition upon which co-link analysis is based;
  2. have reached their funding target, and
  3. are not run by registered organisations.

On the other hand, the application has been used to collect data in order to conduct a case study for each of the platforms. This paper further explains the methodological approach undertaken and the development and evaluation of the methods based on the results obtained in the case studies. It will conclude with a summary of the lessons learnt across the two case studies and the next steps to be taken in the development of data driven methods for BTR research.

Author

Maria Botella Trotonda, European Alternatives

The Nesta Working Paper Series is intended to make available early results of research undertaken or supported by Nesta and its partners in order to elicit comments and suggestions for revisions and to encourage discussion and further debate prior to publication (ISSN 2050-9820). The views expressed in this working paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of Nesta.

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