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Crowdfunding Isn't Just for Cool Tech Gadgets. Just Ask Bernie Sanders. (Infographic) Love him or hate him, the senator from Vermont has almost entirely powered his bid for president much the same way the Pebble smartwatch was funded on Kickstarter.

By Catherine Clifford

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

berniesanders.com
Bernie Sanders

Some of the biggest early crowdfunding wins may have been for tech gadgets -- Pebble smartwatch's two campaigns raised more than $30 million combined -- but its power extends far beyond the ability to raise serious money for high-tech startups and their high-tech gadgets.

Take Bernie Sanders. The candidate for the Democratic nomination for president may not use Kickstarter, but he is certainly raising money by soliciting large quantities of small donations (the definition of crowdfunding) even if the campaign isn't labeling it as such.

With his fly-away hair and frumpy, grandfatherly nature, the senator from Vermont had raised more than $70 million to fund his presidential campaign at the end of 2015. In other words, he's already lapped the crowdfunding efforts of both Pebble smartwatches, combined.

Contrary to the well-worn traditions of tapping wealthy donors for large contributions to fund a political campaign, Sanders' presidential campaign bid has been funded with millions of small campaign donations. The average campaign donation to the Sanders presidential bid was $27.16 in the fourth quarter of last year, according to an infographic generated by Tess Hottenroth, co-founder of the equity crowdfunding platform Bankroll Ventures.

Related: Equity Crowdfunding's Unlikely Proof of Concept: Bernie Sanders

To learn more about how Sanders' political fundraising is a test case for the power of and potential for crowdfunding, have a look at the infographic from Bankroll Ventures embedded below.

Click to Enlarge+
Berning Man - Bernie Sanders (Infographic)

Catherine Clifford

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

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