Mohsen Alavian
Field Associate
Duty Station: Kerman, Iran

During my Fellowship year, I plan to focus on identifying the ideal model for crowdfunding in UNHCR, and understanding the potential challenges for introducing this model to UNHCR.

With UNHCR facing an all-time high in the number of Person of Concern in 2015, the need for funds is rapidly increasing. With this in mind, UNHCR had to reduce and re-prioritize many of its programs to ensure that they are in line with the funds available. As a result, many interesting programs remain unfunded and many needs remain unaddressed. This issue begs for the identification of new, alternative fundraising models for UNHCR.

With the internet rapidly expanding since the late 20th century and becoming an indispensable part of today’s world, many aspects of our lives and the way we do business have changed, and many new opportunities have emerged that were not possible before. One of the new phenomena, which has rapidly expanded in the past years, is the concept of crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is the process of collecting small contributions of money to support ideas, projects, or individuals – typically over the internet. Since the inception of the idea in 2003, the idea has rapidly gained attraction, with $16.2 billion being raised worldwide through crowdfunding only in 2014.