Magdas hotel crowdfunding

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Magdas hotel is a social business hotel based on cooperation, existing resources and a social vision. Refugees, volunteers and professionals of the hotel business transform a former rest home, situated at the Wiener Prater, to a grand budget hotel. The idea of the hotel deals with the topic of integration and enables the chance for multicultural encounter between people.

About Magdas hotel

The hotel is an innovative project that connects people and creates chances. Refugees from different nations are integrated into the hotels operations and work together with volunteers and professionals from the hotel industry with different cultural, social and professional background.

The hotel offers 80 rooms, a garden, café, lounge, artists-in-residence, a library and a great variety of services and features. Refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Iraq and other crisis regions live and work in the hotel and get together with traveling salespeople, families, city and culture enthusiasts from all over the world.

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Types of crowdfunding

The project is planned and implemented by the Caritas Services GmbH which is a subsidiary company of the Austrian aid organization “Caritas”. Supplementary to a given budget, which was provided by the Caritas itself, two types of crowdfunding were applied to realize Magdas Hotel:

financial-based-crowdfunding: a project or business is funded by raising monetary contribution from a large number of people who support the idea; usually by using a platform on the internet
product-based-crowdfunding: people contribute to the project by providing furniture or other equipment


This type of crowdfunding was a basic and important instrument in financing the hotel project. It enlarged public perception and enabled direct encounter with supporters. The Caritas provided a budget of € 1.500.000 to finance the main modification costs of the hotel. As the BAWAG PSK Bank was looking for innovative and exciting projects, it launched the crowdfunding platform which led them to the project Magdas Hotel. Finally the BAWAG and Caritas defined € 25.000,- as a reasonable and reachable aim to finance the completion, e.g. curtains, bedding and other hotel inventory and further investments of five rooms via monetary contributions. These € 25.000 serve as a financial relief and are not included in the project budget (€ 1.500.000).

The following rewards are given for supporting Magdas Hotel financially:

  • For € 20,- you receive a postcard and “sweet dreams” from the hotel.
  • When donating € 100,- you can sleep in a double bedroom.
  • For € 1.000,- you receive 10 double bedroom vouchers with breakfast and
  • For € 3.000,- you get forty vouchers for a double room inclusive breakfast and you are mentioned by name or logo in the foyer.

On the 9th of December 2014, the 25.000 € for furnishing the five rooms was achieved. For more money via crowdfunding, Magdas Hotel started another appeal – this time by a German crowdfunding website
At this website you can see what you receive for your donation:

  • for 10 € you get a “nice postcard”
  • for 45 € you get a “Magdas’ T-Shirt”
  • for 100 € you can spend one night at the hotel
  • for 250 € you get a double bedroom for one night
  • for 500 € you can have “a good night's rest” and you receive your breakfast at your bed
  • for 1000 € they buy a coffee machine (you can drink as much coffee as you want) and you get a hotel room for two nights
  • for 5000 € you receive a 7 nights’ residence. You also get breakfast at your bed, a t-shirt and you can also have breakfast with one of the project indicators. Furthermore your name or logo will be mentioned in the foyer.

Precisely they want to buy with the crowdfunded money:

  • 197 beds and mattresses
  • 394 pillows and blankets
  • 197 upcycling tables, 394 upcycling chairs and other furniture for the rooms
  • 300 place settings inclusive cutlery, plates, cups etc.
  • Stable napkins, tablets etc.
  • stuff for the kitchen: supper cans, kitchen knives, mixing machines etc.
  • furniture for the seminar room
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At the beginning of the project the architectural office AWG (AllesWirdGut) included mainly firms in the process with whom they had already built bigger projects successfully in the past. At first Magdas hotel was not that well known by the public and so it was rather hard to get donations of any kind, but with increasing public relations more and more firms called the Austrian architectural office AWG and offered them their help in form of cheaper products or even for free (those where mainly from overproduction or inventory).

Types of crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is another type of crowdfunding – but without receiving or getting/donating money, but with help for example by work, furniture, items, ideas etc. It's a non money based form of helping a project to receive their ambitions. Many people, firms etc. get together and offer what they have to give and do not need for themselves any more.

The following two types of crowdsourcing were implemented:

art-based-crowdsourcing: collaboration with artists or art schools who support a specific project with their artwork

work-based-crowdsourcing: voluntary non-financial assistance of workforce


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Redesigning Josef Macho House/ magdas grand hotel Deadline: 16.06.2014, 9.00 a.m.
„The competition for redesigning the facade of the „Josef Macho House/ Magdas grand hotel“ was developed especially for students and alumni (diploma not older than three years) of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.“
SPECIFICATION/ TENDER (14th may 2014) The competition was tendered from the academy of fine arts together with the Caritas Services GmbH. In the course of modification an adaptation of the facade occurred. Using existing resources and donations – within this up-cycling process – a place for encounter between fugitives, students and tourists from all over the world developed. The ideas for the facade had to be handed in at the 16th of June 2014. The budget was suggested by the maximum of 44.000 €. In the tender documents from the academy of fine arts it was a condition that the facade had to last at least five years. The students got 500 € for good idea concepts and the winner got 1.500 € for his project.


Quotes: “Magdas Hotel at Vienna's Prater: hotel guests can co-design the façade in the future.” “The Caritas and the academy of fine arts Vienna are happy about the winning project for the façade design of the hotel. More designing actions and interventions with the support of the academy are intended.” “For the adaptation of the façade a competition was tendered. Students and alumni of all classes and institutes of the academy of fine arts could attend and could offer design suggestions for the hotel façade. After a two-stepped Jury Judgement the project from CHRISTIAN GATTRINGER and MARC WERNER with the title “DID YOU SEE WHERE I PUT MY MONEY?” was chosen as the winner of the tender.” “The innovative design of the project is the idea of an active participating (from the hotel guests) in the façade designing process.” “The winner of the project about their concept: “instead of only represent the social function of the Caritas Project, the amount of money for the façade will be invested in a product, copper, that do not lose value. Hotel guests and all of the people, who want to support the project, can buy this little, quadratic copper pieces and can attach the pieces to the balustrade of the balconies. If the project really ends in five years, you can theoretically resell the panels and take the money to support another social project.” “In the following months more corporations between Magdas (a social – Business - subsidiary of CARITAS) and the academy of fine arts are planned: “We are very happy to support this hotel project – for example with helping to design the rooms. Also an artist-in-residence program is planned and there also will be workshops for unaccompanied under-aged fugitives”, said Andrea Braidt.”


Besides financial and product support, the project needs of course manpower at the construction side. An example would be international well known firms like e.g. Samsung, who sent 40 of their employees including the CEO Samsung Austria to the construction area of the magDAS hotel. There they helped by cleaning recycled door handles and washbasins from the former home for the elderly. They also assisted with smaller assembly works. Even a lot of people, who noticed the project through the media (TV-documentary or the Magdas-homepage etc.) came and offered their help. It was tried to integrate the asylum-seekers into the construction during the whole building process.


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The Magdas hotel offers a profitable symbiosis for all sides. The hotel and its supporters can benefit from contributing to the project in different, mutual ways:

  • Profile
  • Marketing
  • Product
  • Audience engagement

Contributing and assisting in a social project can boost the reputation of a company or supporter f.ex., 40 employees of the company Samsung Austria, even including the CEO, offered their help for a day, on the “Langer Tag der Flucht” (“long day of escape”) and cleaned door handles and washbasins and assisted in doing installation work. All bigger sponsors are mentioned with their logo on a panel on the ground floor.

Raising money via crowdfunding helped the project gaining more attention from the public. At a certain degree of popularity companies and private individuals started to call the architectural office AWG and offered resources and help.

Depending on how much you donate, you receive smaller rewards or a specific amount of vouchers for double rooms in return. The concept of the facade of the Magdas Hotel also reflects the social vision of the project. Small square-tiles made of copper can be bought by the hotel guests, which can mount them on the balustrades of the balconies on their own. At the end of the project the copper will be resold, whereas the proceeds will belong to the Caritas, so the facade is actually financing itself.

Audience engagement
Crowdfunding enables a direct encounter with the audience. People can give feedback, comment and can follow the process on the crowdfunding platform or on the facebook page.


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Architects - Johanna Aufner // Alles Wird Gut Architekten

„Architecture IS crowd funding.” 
“Crowd funding is a tool to USE -  because it is there.”
“This should have happened at a much earlier stage in the process. … If I ever have
to use crowd funding again in the future, this enormous public relations
machinery has to start earlier, so you get a much better overview of the
resources you will possibly get access to.”

full interview - J. Aufner

Caritas - Klaus Schwertner // Caritas Vienna

„Generally to deal with the subject crowd funding: It is relatively new in Austria."
“There are only few projects - when I think about the web platform - 
which I think are very interesting.

full interview - K. Schwertner

Marketing - Cloed Priscilla Baumgartner // PRISCILLA & PAT

„It is all about gathering a crowd, which is “investing” into your project and 
“rewarding” them with storytelling. It is interplay between investing and rewarding.

full interview - C.P. Baumgartner



I: IDEA // the foundation for a successful project is an authentic and genius idea
II: PROJECT START // prepare yourself and get in touch with experts, introduce them to the idea – so they can help you take further actions
III: DEVELOPMENT MAGDAS HOTEL // now everything's in motion - implementation of the necessary steps
IV: FINANCING // now some research is crucial: find the best method of financing the project and combine this with existing resources; calculate the budget for the realisation
V: CROWDFUNDING // set your mind and decide which type of crowdfunding/crowdsourcing is fitting
VI: PLATFORM // consider which platform is best for the project and make sure you choose a well-known platform with an already existing crowd
VII: PUBLIC RELATIONS // use multiple social media platforms as a promotion tool
VIII: IMPLEMENTATION // connect the gathered resources and information for the wanted goal
IX: AIM ACHIEVED // congratulations! you crossed the finishing line!