Anne Strachan has worked for over 20 years as a trainer and fundraiser within the third sector. At a time when she has seen the effects of government austerity measures, Anne has become passionate about crowdfunding and the potential it has to offer, which she conveys through her own website CrowdfundUK . It's goal is to "promote crowdfunding to build community and raise funds for social enterprises, charities, creative organisations and community groups". The workshop, possibly the first of many, was designed as an extension of this goal.
Through a series of slide show presentations, Q&A sessions, group exercises, and videos, Anne covered every aspect of crowdfunding starting with the overall principle to the intricacies of the all important pitch. There were the usual practical considerations such as choosing the right platform (as some tend to specialise) and preparation. In calculating the budget, it was stressed that all costs must be factored in such as the percentage taken by the platform as well as the cost of the rewards offered to investors. When preparing the pitch many fundamental aspects were considered in detail including;
- how to sell the project and the people behind it - consider the use of videos
- building a network of contacts
- set up and using social media and attracting followers.
- designing the right rewards.
- length of the campaign (essential to be available while it is active)
- post launch promotion and contact.
The workshop identified key influencing factors in a successful crowdfunding campaign following its launch;
- Regular contact with potential investors. Anne's message was clear; "You must be thankful to people who donate". Thanking investors as they pledge support, and providing regular updates could prove pivotal in attracting more donations making passionate supporters from investors who will encourage others to donate.
- Quality of the rewards. Even for a nominal sum of £10, the quality of the rewards can make all the difference in getting people to part with their money. The project owner's "eternal thanks" for example, is likely to discourage investors whereas a personalised acknowledgement, be it a handwritten card, or a person's name emboldened clearly in the finished project would be more enticing. Personalised merchandise, as well as some sort of involvement should also be considered.
Crowdfunding provides a means of raising funds at a time when the recession is hitting us all. It's increasing popularity is evident when you consider that "crowdfunding" attracted over 50,000 hits through search engines. Anne was adamant however that crowdfunding was more than just about the money, but as a means of allowing people to participate, have shared ownership and build something they care about.
There was no doubt, Anne's workshop was a success, and much ground was covered. By the end of the day, there was much excitement abound and those with little or no knowledge of crowdfunding, already had ideas as to how they could use it for their organisation. The session was fun filled and informative, even for the Gazette, which gained a perspective not easily sought from the comfort of a laptop.
For more information you can follow Anne on Twitter @crowdfunduk.
Image Credits; Comedy Nose