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The future is here: Supporting social innovation in Turkey

 Many people around the world say they don't contribute to social causes for fear that their contributions will be wasted. So how is it that a board game on Kickstarter mangadom managed to collect over $12 million in funding, with almost 20,000 pledges?

That's the beauty of crowdfunding: people from all walks of life supporting a cause they believe in. We at UNDP's AltFinLab campaigns understand that crowdfunding is about more than collecting money — that we achieve the best results when we apply the platform approach to crowdfunding. It helps us diversify funding, involve the right people, and mobilize experts from all walks of life.

In Turkey, the situation is different. People do not engage with charity or donations as frequently as their counterparts in the United States or Western Europe. Turkish people might give to others in need on the street but only 10 percent ever give to NGOs or social enterprises.

In addition, social enterprises are having a hard time reaching their beneficiaries and potential clients and are not yet ready to engage in investor relations. They are not ready to get funds from international or local funding organizations. With no financial history, they are not able to take loans from financial institutions either. That's what the academics and practitioners in the innovation ecosystem call the "pioneer gap" problem.

With this in mind, UNDP AltFinLab and imece have designed and organized the first everGlobal Crowdfunding Academy for Turkey to prepare social enterprises for crowdfunding. Our support includes training on campaign design, storytelling and fund development. We started the program in June with eight social enterprises from imece's network.

From the outset, we've had three goals:

  • Help social enterprises reach alternative financial sources in Turkey and the region. We think crowdfunding is an excellent way to solve the pioneer gap problem. Just like any private initiative, social enterprises need funding to offer competitive salaries, create an effective team, test products and services and continue advocating their cause.
  • Share our insights from this process and open source it, thus encouraging and facilitating subsequent efforts in this field, empowering the social entrepreneurs. When all the campaigns are concluded, we will compile all our findings and share them.
  • Remind people that we always have alternatives. We want to let individuals and institutions who are concerned with the increasing number of social, cultural, and environmental issues and are passionate about providing solutions, know that there are alternative financial means to help them achieve their goals.

So far, we have three active campaigns, available for your support.

If all of this sounds interesting and you want to be a part of it, join us at imece meet-ups: Graduation and Crowdfunding event this Saturday Nov 17.

UNDP's crowdfunding efforts in ECIS are supported through the Transformative Governance & Finance Facility II, funded by the Ministry of Finance of Slovakia.

imece is a social innovation platform established by founding partners ATÖLYE and Zorlu Holding with strategic partnership of S360 to support social entrepreneurs who come up with sustainable solutions to social and environmental challenges.


Marina Petrović ( Alternative finance expert, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub)

Duygu Kambur (Head of Strategy, Business Development and Partnership at IMECE)

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Wednesday, 26 January 2022