GD Backer is the result of my master’s thesis. My role was to design and build a web platform that leveraged multiple social media and crowdfunding APIs; storing user data as a means of calculating platform success.
Having previous experience in the field of crowdfunding, I quickly realized a problem I now refer to as “the counterintuitiveness of crowdfunding.” Ideally, crowdfunding is meant to help penniless entrepreneurs with great ideas get the funding they need to bring their product to market. However, because popularity dictates site-wide visibility, companies that can afford attractive marketing dominate the space. It was clear that a lot of potentially great, humanitarian ideas were being lost solely due to their lack of exposure.
I started GD Backer by researching and analyzing crowdfunding campaigns on multiple platforms (Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, and Watsi). The goal was to find what makes a campaign successful and to address how campaigns grow in popularity. I found that marketing was the most significant factor that contributes to a campaign's success, but a close second was the target demographic. In my research, I found that campaigns focusing on a younger demographic were more likely to fail. I concluded this was mainly due to the demographic’s lack of purchasing power.
Younger demographics lack purchasing power. However, they are more likely to use social media on a regular basis. The idea behind GD Backer is to use these philosophies to encourage younger demographics to support humanitarian crowdfunding campaigns by discussing the campaigns on social media, as word-of-mouth communication has been proven to be the most effective. By incentivizing people to talk about philanthropic efforts on social media, we can efficiently boost the visibility and overall effectiveness of a campaign.
GDBacker uses gamification to encourage users to promote humanitarian projects via social media. Users can sign in via their pre-existing social media account and receive a regularly updated list of humanitarian-focused crowdfunding campaigns. Users can vote on projects with a variety of ways to share them, each action awarding points. As users continue to use GDBacker, they unlock achievements; special badges distributed to users that reach difficult milestones. Additionally, users can climb a global leaderboard, incentivizing users to share more. GDBacker makes it fun and rewarding to support great projects and causes even if you can’t fund them directly.