Buddhist-flavored crowdfunding: dana.io

A little while ago I came across this site, which is made of pure awesome:


Basically it’s a kickstarter built on Buddhist principles. It’s wonderful to see a progressive Buddhist contribution that, instead of whining about modernity or going all commercial, sees that some aspects of modern life are actually pretty amazing and 100% in line with Buddhist principles.

And one example of that is the whole idea of crowdfunding, which provides a means, based on generosity, to complement to usual commercial ways of raising funds. It’s a brilliant, subversive idea, and ripe for a Buddhist slant.

Dana.io takes the whole idea of dana even further; you don’t have a set percentage to pay the site for their services, you choose what to give them. And their profits are put back into the community. There’s a heap of little details like this that show that the site has a really good handle on both the Buddhist principles and on how to apply them on the modern web.

One of the founders is Alan Clements, an ex-monk and Buddhist teacher, and the depth of experience shows in the site. It has been carefully put together from every angle, from design to philosophy. It goes without saying that the site, like the Dhamma as a whole, is not just for “Buddhists”, but opens up the fundamentals of Buddhist practices for everyone.

So when you’ve got a project to get started, consider dana.io!

22 thoughts on “Buddhist-flavored crowdfunding: dana.io

    • And thanks for the website, it’s something that needs to be said! I remember all those years ago at a meeting of the (extremely hierarchical) sangha of Wat Nanachat, when I mentioned that the Vinaya established the Sangha with communal property, consensus decision making, absolute equality, no power of command, and governance by principle, all characteristics of an anarchist collective. The silence was awkward. Good times!

    • Thank you for the kind words. I was originally inspired by your talk about how the Sangha was run, after doing some research I found a few other monks and scholars who had the same non-authoritative/hierarchical stance on the subject. Would you consider this type of Sangha organization rare in modern day Theravada Buddhism?

  1. Reblogged this on ManyLittleDrops and commented:

    Dana (Sanskrit) =generosity, giving —— I love the many ways that Buddhist teachings can interact with the ‘regular world’. Also, in the world of money, there is plenty of room for the teachings of generosity, love, etc. Win-win!

  2. I’ve contemplated before on a crowd sourcing platform particularly for Dhamma related projects, such as supporting the construction of meditation centres, spiritual communities, Wats, maybe Kathina ceremonies etc. It would be nice to give an opportunity for people around the world to create Punna by supporting the triple gem irrespective of their geography.

    What is your opinion, Bhante Sujato? Also, is their any way to donate to the SuttaCentral? It is an amazing repository of wisdom to which I am very grateful for having free access to.

    • Hi Luv,

      Well, it seems that dana.io is exactly that, is it not?

      As for SuttaCentral, up till now we have not been in need of funds and so have not set up a donations button. We have just hired a full-time developer, however, and will need to support his wages. We are setting up a Trust to handle the funds for this, and will implement a donation button on the site very soon. So don’t despair, you’ll be able to donate soon!

  3. Dear Bhante,

    Great work!

    I’m wondering if we can also use this website not only to raise funds for a dhamma project but also to recruit people o work on it. My last project involved nearly 100 people from about 10 countries, all of whom told me that they were so happy to be part of a project to express our love and gratitude to our teachers. If we can use this website as a medium to reach out to whoever has access to the internet to be part of the project either by donating money or time and skills, the dhamma world will be a real globalised community!

    With great respect,


  4. Theravada has not been big on social engagement. What defines a dhamma project? Is it the scriptures or is it protecting groundwater from pollution. Androcentric views still define agenda.

  5. The same set of developers could set up 10 different crowdfunding webpages based on targetted audiences. ie. devotees of various religions. Crowdfunding still fundamentally feeds off closest people in one’s network first hence it does not help for those with genuine goals but has only 1 friend on facebook. The website also allows use of bitcoin as payment, which this cryptocurrency itself is still a controversy.

  6. There’s a story about Jesus throwing the money lenders out of the temple (calling corruption for what is is). Can you do this and be detached.Did the Buddha do it or was this not his thing in a face saving culture.

  7. I feel privileged to have met the Sangha. They compromise a heterogenous group and they have my utmost respect. They are capable of reform. I hope to stay at a monastery at the end of the year and I am lucky to have the opportunity. As for my interest in the environment, well I may just have to accept that there is nothing I can do. Crowd funding a reservoir engineering project is not so easy. People just don’t get maximum principle stress. Its not a cute concept.

  8. Ajahn Brahm had a lot of guts ordaining the Bikkhunis. He is talking about gender issues at the Global Buddhist Conference. He works tirelessly to help the nuns here. It all depends on what you focus on. Some of my best friends are Asian. We have our cultural differences but we still can love each other.
    There are other paths if you find this one is not right for you but I suggest you just come and visit.

    • That’s a shame, I would suggest contacting them in person. If you still have no luck, let me know and I will email the founder.

    • Just a note to explain the project we’re interested in funding — an ESL text with Buddhist themes for monastics at an intermediate level of fluency. We’ve been working on it for some time, and using it with students studying at universities in Sri Lanka and India (Burmese, Indian, Korean, Chinese, Bhutanese, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi, mainly). We will need funding to finish it properly, e.g. for an illustrator, and to record lessons, dialogues, and listening exercises. We expect it will be suitable for classes or self-study.

    • Wow, sounds like a great project, and much needed. We have a lot of monastics here in Australia who are interested in learning English, too, and I’m sure in most places around the world. A few years ago at a monastic conference in Melbourne, we asked the monastics what their number one need was, and it was learning English.

      May I ask, how much funding are you looking at to get the project finished? Maybe we can help.

  9. We have tried again with two different email addresses and two different first names. In all instances, we receive the message: “You must be a human, not a spam bot, to submit forms on this website. If you insist that you are a human, please try again. If error persists, contact webmaster using contact link at the bottom of this page and give all the details of this error (your browser, version, OS).” We have contacted webmaster twice, but have received no response. Thank you for any assistance you might be able to give.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s