April 27, 2022
Discussion and news-sharing site Reddit has invested $1 million in Community Funds, a program that supports Reddit users in bringing their best ideas to life. For the past six months, Reddit has been experimenting with the initiative, supporting 13 projects nominated by communities on the platform including a comics tournament, a digital conference for history buffs and a musical artist billboard in Times Square. Starting in June, Reddit will be accepting nominations for projects needing from $1,000 to $50,000 in funding for anything from events and contests to giving and “almost anything you can think of to bring people together.”
“We want to foster more opportunities for connection by making Community Funds official, with $1 million in funding,” Reddit explained in a blog post. “Community Funds aligns with our mission of bringing community, belonging, and empowerment to everyone in the world. We believe that empowering communities to do more by awarding funds to support their best ideas is one way we can accomplish this.”
As part of its initial experiment, Reddit granted $5,000 to a photography competition and $5,000 for a contest to create comics. The company also provided $5,000 to its Reddit Public Access Network streamers and gave $5,000 to provide holiday season gifts for 25 children whose families were experiencing financial hardship.
“It’s worth noting that Reddit isn’t the only digital platform to launch a community fund, as Facebook launched a community fund in 2020 to provide funding to support local communities’ efforts to build their resilience and social cohesion around the world,” TechCrunch points out.
“Creator funds have become a key monetization pathway” for social apps including Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube, which have all launched funding initiatives for short-form videos. However, most face funding challenges “because you can’t add in pre- or mid-roll ads like you can with longer video clips,” notes Social Media Today.
“Reddit’s funding initiative is different, in that it’s aiming to fuel community-led projects, which is less directly focused on in-app content and engagement, and more on community building, and enhancing connection within Reddit communities.”
The $1 million in funding follows the news that Reddit has made improvements to make its vast content platform more easily searchable, starting with the ability to search comments.
“With this new capability, users looking for particular discussions or comments on Reddit no longer need to click on several posts and then scroll through what can sometimes be thousands of comments to find threads that are relevant to them,” the company said in a blog post earlier this month.