ROMEO, the Italian civic crowdfunding platform

Crowdfunding’s strength is based on global communities, right?

So why focus on the local dimension of crowdfunding? Aren’t communities thriving, regardless of “place”? Since the Internet, people gather because of common interests, not because they share geographical location.

However, I’ve been obsessed by a question. As Chance Barnett puts it, “there’s an essential question I’ve been thinking about recently that I believe underlies one of the most powerful and transformative possibilities of crowdfunding. The question is… how important is “local” to the crowdfunding movement?”

Crowdfunding is not (only) about money. It’s about leveraging on the emotional magma which ties people to projects, causes or businesses. But in certain cases, “place” does have an impact on emotions. Especially if it’s imaginary, long gone, missed and beloved. As homeland is, for emigrants. Or for people who decide to stay in a given place (or think they cannot leave), but nevertheless engage in projects which are tailored on local assets.

What happens when you mix imagined communities, with dreams and aspirations produced locally and add web technologies? 

ROMEO happens.

ROMEO is a civic crowdfunding platform which leverages on Italian emigrants’ emotional capital to support projects and initiatives which have a strong impact on specific territories.

I already presented it at the WeDoItaly competition (waiting for the response), but no matter the results, I am determined to pursue the goal. Let me try to share with you the idea…  

The pilot project kicks off in Basilicata: there are more people originally from the region living outside, than people living within its frontiers. Regardless the brain drain, the poor attractivity and the ageing population, there have been some significant initiatives which targeted local change: Matera 2019 is one of them. 

Building on the momentum created by Matera’s bid being shortlisted within the European Capital of Culture competition, I am convinced that in the next 6-7 months we will have to build something irreversible to seed change beyond the “Capital of Culture excuse”. Building the conditions for ROMEO to be launched is one of these irreversible things.

I was wondering: do Edgyeryders want to be part of it?

I know we are all stretched thin, but I was wondering if:

  • anyone who had experience in (civic) crowdfunding wanted to share some insights
  • anyone interested in (eventually) developing the platform (NOT for free) would say "hey!

On my side, I am bringing this into the real world, linking it to the Regional office of “Lucanian diaspora” and linking it to the Matera 2019 process: but I believe this could be a perfect joint venture with Edgeryders, interested in finding alternative ways to funding projects with a strong impact on a specific territorial community.

I have more data, but didn’t want to bore you further. Toc, toc, anyone has any questions or is interested?

p.s. if someone reacts, I’ll tell the story of the name :slight_smile: