The Internet has changed many things, creating a virtual landscape that is without the literal boundaries that once hindered our ability to communicate. In addition to bridging social, cultural, and even economic gaps, the Internet has become an incubator for entrepreneurs of all types, increasingly opting to go with the public Internet donation funding model widely known as crowdfunding.
Scientists and science educators have followed suit, and you can currently find any number of science-related projects to sponsor. You can find these projects on some of the general crowdfunding sites, like Kickstarter or Fundly, or on science specific sites like Rockethub, Petridish, or Microryza.
As a scientist who has depended entirely on major grants to fund my projects — a painstaking process with a low success rate — I became extremely interested in the concept of crowdfunding for science research and education. If executed correctly, these campaigns were often met with successful outcomes, and usually because they provided a context that was in some way familiar to their funders, including me. Because of my personal life experiences, I am very partial to projects focused on education in low-income neighborhoods, as well as those that study the processes of and treatments for drug addiction.
Photo courtesy opencage.info