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Amy sml Amy McKie, Marketing and Communications Officer

Should I consider crowdfunding my project / idea? With the availability of grant funding dwindling, many charitable organisations are considering alternative routes to generate funds. Crowdfunding has become a widespread approach in recent years, enabled by clever online platforms and digital campaigns. Crowdfunding is not, however, a new concept (records of crowdfunding date back to the 1700s!) and crowdfunding should not rely on digital campaigns and individual pledges alone.

So what makes a successful crowdfunder?

You need to offer something tangible that will make a difference in your community. Crowdfunding can be well suited to capital projects – funding for buildings, resources or shows. In 1884, Joseph Purlitzer raised $101,091 through crowdfunding to build a base for the Statue of Liberty.

Sometimes crowfunders offer something in return for support. In the 1700s, Alexander Pope wanted to fund his work of translating Greek poetry into English and asked people for help in return for acknowledgement in his book. (A Brief History of Crowdfunding)

Crowdfunding campaigns may happen quickly but they still take a lot of planning and engagement with your long-term supporters. The community backing needs to be there from the start. Without it, your campaign won’t be successful.

Success4All in crowdfunding

Success4All is a local CIC (Charitable Incorporated Company) in Newcastle that helps young people through education by offering Learning Hubs run by local volunteers. One of the challenges they have is finding suitable venues for the clubs. One young person from the club came up with the clever idea of building a Learning Hub on wheels.

Success4All decided to set up a crowdfunding campaign for the refurbishment of a double decker bus and successfully raised £21,994 through Tyneside Crowd. The process was fast-paced and took a lot of hard work. They had just one month to raise the money they needed and on the last day of the campaign, they were still £5,000 short of their target. Thankfully, a long-term supporter decided to step in and help, with a generous £7,000 pledge on morning of their deadline.

It was undoubtedly their existing relationships and the promotion of a tangible outcome (a finished bus that would be seen and used in the community) that helped Success4All raise the money they needed through crowdfunding.

Busola Afolabi, Operations Manager, said, "Our advice to others wanting to try Crowdfunding is not to solely rely on social media. Social media is great when spreading awareness, but it doesn't make people pledge. You still need to use personal contacts and also spend time to help those who have never donated anything online.”

You can read our full story about Success4All’s crowdfunding campaign in the next winter edition of Inform magazine, published in early December.

Where to start?

Crowdfunding can be a fast and effective way to raise funds but it needs careful consideration and a lot of planning. Before you begin, you need to have an understanding of how crowdfunding works, the pros and cons of using it to raise money for your cause and what you need to do before starting a campaign.

We are offering a two-hour Introduction to Crowdfunding session on 6 December to answer these questions and to look at case studies of successful crowdfunding campaigns like Success4All. This training session is free to our members and just £10 for non-profit non-members.

The next deadline for applications to the Tyneside Crowd crowdfunding platform is 15 December so now is the time to find out if crowdfunding is right for you.

Book your place on Eventbrite