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/ 28 March 2017

Crowdfunding and other fundraising opportunities

Crowd funding

In this blog, Parish Fundraising Manger Carol Ward considers one way of raising funds from community involvement.

In my last blog about how to raise money for your community outreach, I mentioned that one of the questions that funders would probably ask is ‘How do you know this is what the community wants?’

A fair few of my blogs point back to where there are some useful toolboxes to help parishes fundraise effectively. Included is information on how to carry out a Community Audit to help the parish better understand its congregation and neighbourhoods and Mission Action Plans which are integral to strategic planning and delivery of effective mission and ministry by parishes in the Diocese of London.

However, actually knowing that the local community is really interested in what the parish is doing and will actively support the initiative can be something of a challenge. So how can you really be sure of this?

Crowdfunding isn’t really a new initiative for the Diocese. A Parish Resources Crowdfunding guide is already available, however, although I’d heard a lot about it, I haven’t had any real experience of Crowdfunding either in a professional or personal capacity. I wanted to find out more about this funding stream and see whether it could be of benefit to parishes so I signed up for a Crowdfunding webinar.

The experts who delivered the session covered the following:

  • What is crowdfunding?
  • Introducing Crowdfunder.
  • Introducing the ‘Improving Life for Londoners’
  • Why do people crowdfund?
  • What’s involved in running a project?
  • The next steps to start crowdfunding.

It was the Improving life For Londoners fund that really caught my eye. This fund helps organisations based and working in London to deliver projects which will address inequality and lift people out of poverty in the capital – something a lot of our parishes are already doing.

Working with Crowdfunder, the Trust for London and City Bridge Trust have made £100,000 available to organisations using crowdfunding to raise funds and deliver projects which will benefit Londoners and the communities they live in. Successful projects will be delivering practical solutions to support people on low incomes, led by communities that will benefit from the work.

The Improving life For Londoners fund will provide up to 50% of the target (up to a maximum of £10,000), with projects expected to raise at least the first 25% from the Crowd.

For me, the following came across loud and clear:

  • A successful Crowdfunding campaign will provide interest and support from the local community because they believe in the idea – they can see the benefit; or want to be included – and they want a piece of the action.
  • Crowdfunding campaigns should run for a relative short time – ideally between 2 and 8 weeks – to keep momentum going and the interest high before running out of steam
  • Visual stuff works really well. Videos, quotes, testimonials – all help to interactively communicate with supporters.

As with any other form of fundraising, planning your Campaign is fundamental to its success, however, to see if this fundraising stream can support your existing fundraising or be included in your fundraising strategy, why not find out more about Crowdfunding and the Improving Life for Londoners fund by having a look at the first webinar– an introduction to Crowdfunding? It could be 30 minutes very well spent!

You can also register for the next session ‘Planning your project’ that takes place at 1pm this Thursday, 30 March.

And finally, another top tip:

It can sometimes be quite easy to be put off by something we’re not quite sure about or feel we don’t have the time to do.

Registering with Crowdfunder for the sessions outlined above, doesn’t mean you have to commit to the date and time, but it will provide a link to the webinar for you to watch at a more convenient date and time, along with PDF’s so the information can be downloaded and shared with the PCC and/or fundraising team in your parish.

And it’s the same when registering with other fundraising sources so that a steady stream of information can be delivered straight to your in-box. It enables you to decide when and if to look at them – it can also save time in the long run because you will be in possession of information about, and access to, relevant, and sometimes quite surprising, funding streams.

Email notifications from the Postcode Community Trust, London Community Foundation and People’s Health Trust will usually contain information about local funding initiatives. Funding Central may also a useful tool for identifying fundraising opportunities. Subscription is free for organisations with a turnover of under £100,000; £100+VAT for organisations with a turn-over above £100,000.

Happy researching!

Carol Ward (MInstF), Parish Fundraising Manager for the London Diocesan Fund is a dedicated fundraiser with the London Diocesan Fund who is always looking out for additional fundraising opportunities!  For more information, e-mail Carol or follow the team on twitter (@fundmychurch).

Resources

FileAction
Crowd Funding Finance Guide  Download  

About Carol Ward

Carol Ward is the Parish Fundraising Manager for the Diocese of London, and has a wealth of experience across many sectors for parishes to call on. She is married to Andy. Together, they have three children, two grandchildren, and a dog called Jack.

Read more from Carol Ward

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