01/25/2011 04:32 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

It's Not About the Money

Well, at least not completely. Here's the deal: The intersection of the social web and social good is flipping the traditional funding process upside down. And it's going to revolutionize how we create and scale impact.

The phenomenon, called crowdfunding, also powers something as -- or even more -- important than money: it powers community.

And particularly in the world of social good, where people feel an emotional attachment (you're trying to do a little good after all!) to your organization or company, building a community of passionate supporters can often drive change. And that, after all, is what it's all about for us do-gooders.

Think about how you feel after you donate, or even invest. Do you post messages on your Facebook wall? Imagine investing just $100 bucks in a local restaurant; think you would be more likely to tweet about their "awesome" food? What about bringing a group of your friends there on a Tuesday night?

Feeling attached to a cause or a company after investing or buying their product is not pie in the sky stuff -- it's just, well, human. Robert Cialdine, a professor of psychology and author of a book on influence, explains the power of just a small commitment:

"It's known as the foot-in-the-door technique. It asks people to say 'Yes' to a small request. "If you come back later and ask them to donate to a cause, they are significantly more likely to do so than if you hadn't asked them to make that small commitment first."

Crowdfunding, because of the possibility of hundreds or thousands of potential investors or donors, amplifies our natural human tendency to become a cheerleader for something we've already committed to supporting.

Martin Montero, a Starting Bloc Fellow helping to build a national infrastructure for the world of social enterprise, explains:

"Crowdfunding is an excellent way to build a community of passionate evangelists. It's an effective way to bring in people with a deeper sense of ownership in the venture. It creates a 'cheers effect' 'where everyone knows your name' through creating a loyal community that believes and champions the cause just like it was their own -- because it actually is."

Can you say viral?