I first learned about Mike Hearn's wonderful Lighthouse fundraising platform last year and proceeded to download it from his GitHub page and get the client running on my Ubuntu install without too much hassle. I donated to a couple of campaigns using the Lighthouse desktop client, most notably the amazing Medic Mobile campaign. I found it all fairly easy and was impressed with the completely decentralized nature of the tool.
I wanted to tell everyone I knew about this powerful new fundraising tool, but the problem was that my family, friends, and most of the folks I work with would have switched off after just reading those first few sentences! Another problem was that from within the Lighthouse client, it wasn't possible to search for Lighthouse campaigns. The task of publicizing campaigns fell squarely on the shoulders of the campaign creators. You had to search a site such as Reddit for a project, download the campaign project file and then import it to the Lighthouse client.
Fast-forward to the present day, and I'm happy to announce that there is a much more user-friendly way for members of the Bitcoin community to find Lighthouse campaigns. The folks at Lightlist.io have a created a web-based portal that allows those who don't want to mess with installing the client on their desktop an althernative where they can easily find and contribute to Lighthouse campaigns.
The Lightlist.io founders:
Because the (Lighthouse) crowdfunding platform is decentralized, there is no central authority or gatekeeper that can deny projects to receive funding. But it also lacks a central content discovery service that lists all available projects so you can find the ones you like to support. This is where lightlist.io comes in. We crawl the internet for you, curate and present the projects to you in a beautiful way.
Anyone wishing to donate to a Lighthouse campaign can now visit the Lightlist.io site and make a direct donation using a Bitcoin wallet on their mobile or smart phone.
I pledged some Bitcoin to a currently active campaign to raise funds for The Ronald McDonald House in Albany so that they can purchase a hospital grade breast pump for their latest house. Jeff Yule, the executive director for The Ronald McDonald House Capital Region (RMHC) stated:
Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region is proud to accept Bitcoin donations! We are currently seeking donations via Lighthouse to help us buy a Medical Breast Pump for our new house!
Cheryl, mananging editor at Let's Talk Bitcoin (as well as member of the NY Bitcoin Group), happens to live in the Albany, NY, area where RMHC is located. She asked Yule and NY Bitcoin Group founder Paul Paterakis to tell how RMHC started accepting Bitcoin for donations. Yule explained why he was open to the idea:
"Like all non profits, we are struggling to grow our donor base. Even though we are a mature organization (33 years and counting) our need for hundreds of active volunteers requires us to always be growing our base. We felt that Bitcoin offered us a unique opportunity to reach out to, perhaps, the hardest segment of our community to reach. Nearly every development/fundraising seminar these days talks about how to reach the tech generation and do so in a manner that generates donations. This seemed like a no brainer."
They have raised over US$5,000 in Bitcoin donations so far, including the present campaign. Much of their revenue already comes in the form of micro donations -- through penny campaigns at schools, change collected in canisters near the registers at McDonald's restaurants, through bottle drives, and even from collecting aluminum bottle tabs and selling them to local recyclers. Paterakis and Yule both saw how Bitcoin donations could fit right in.
Cheryl and I would thoroughly encourage our community of LTB readers to take a look at Lightlist.io and perhaps support one of the many campaigns and let us know about your experience.