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Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding

Creating an impact report
Community Projects Handbook

Creating a GoCardless account
Pitching to Funds

Verifying your project

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Running a campaign

Creating a great project page

The first thing to do is check if your idea has what it takes to be crowdfunded i.e. will your project appeal to enough people who would pledge cash, skills and stuff to it. This section will help you review your idea, and where necessary, help you rework it into something that people won’t be able to resist getting behind.

So before you get started, ask yourself these five questions.

1. Is my idea popular?

2. What makes my project special?

3. Does it look good?

4. What will I offer backers in return?

5. Is my idea eligible?

For the answers and guidance on how to best shape your project for the crowd, read our guide here.

Your project page is the ultimate marketing tool to selling your project, so make sure you take time to fill in each section carefully. For our top tips on creating the perfect page, read our guide here

A video is a great way to get your message across in a succinct and engaging way, and actually increases your chance of success by 20%. This doesn’t mean you need to have a big budget or production team, just a smart phone will do.

Top tip is to enjoy being in front of the camera – if you’re not enjoying it no one else will.

Read our guide for more great tips on creating a video that perfectly fits your project.

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Just before going live

GoCardless is a great way to accept pledges, with industry lowest fees of just 0.5% and a payment failure rate of less than 0.25%. However, unlike PayPal this is probably the first time you’ve come across them, and will be creating and verifying your account to accept payments for the first time.

Their verification process is completely standard amongst online payment processors, but may seem quite in depth. Here’s our guide to getting through it as quickly as possible.

If you haven’t already, then you will soon receive an email from Jane Dodson or one of her team at Locality. They will give you an initial assessment of your project and possibly have a few questions for you. During this process, your project page is locked and you are unable to make any amendments to it, except for changing images and video.

Make sure that you have all of your organisation documents to hand, as well as an up-to-date spreadsheet with your cost items and links to quotes/stores if purchasing something. This will be very useful if Locality get in touch with questions, as it will mean that you can quickly respond.

Some projects sail straight through first time without any need to communicate further with Locality, but there’s a good chance that you’ll have to provide a little bit more information on your project. Remember, the verification process is in place to ensure that your project has the best chance of success, so we need to make sure it’s ready before being verified!

Don’t worry – currently over 90% of projects get verified and are able to confidently begin crowdfunding. In the meantime, it’s an excellent time to start thinking about your crowdfunding campaign and ensuring that you get off to that all-important good start.

Funds are set up on Spacehive by organisations such as your local Council, national grant bodies, or big supermarket chains, who want to pledge to crowdfunding campaigns. Because they tend to be the largest Backers – they’ll pledge 35% of your project value on average – they usually need some extra information than the rest of the crowd in order to make their decision.

You’re matched to a Fund based on your project’s geography, Category, and lasting impact your project will make. Once matched make sure to at least check them out, and then decide whether or not to pitch.

Read our guide to find out everything you need to know about Funds and Pitching.

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Running a successful campaign

Businesses are great supporters of local projects and are always looking for ways to engage with their communities. Whether it’s a local branch of a national supermarket or an independently owned book store, they all want to give back, ideally in a way that gives them as much exposure as possible. Crowdfunding campaigns are great ways of doing that, as shown by almost every successful campaign on Spacehive receiving a pledge from a business.

Top tips

  1. Don’t be shy! Businesses are long time supporters of local projects and will welcome being told about a chance to get involved
  2. Set the amount for them. If the business is open to the idea of pledging, make it easier for them to decide by suggesting an amount.

Read our guide to learn how to make the perfect approach to businesses.

The 3-4 days it takes your project to be verified by Locality is a great time to sit down and plan your campaign. Taking the time to think about who will be able to pledge to your campaign, both big and small, will help to set small targets on the way to your goal, and help you decide how long you need to run the campaign for.

Top tips:

  1. Start small. For the first couple of weeks of your campaign don’t worry about the value of the pledges coming in. Just focus on getting as many small pledges from as many people as possible.
  2. Fill your calendar. Whether it’s targeting new businesses, external grant bodies, or writing content for your social media feed, find something to do every week of your campaign. If nothing else it will help keep you focused on the campaign.

Read our guide on planning a campaign for some inspiration, and use the templates to help plan yours.

10% of visitors to a project page on Spacehive decide to make a pledge – the key is to get them there. Communicating your campaign effectively across social media, press pieces and word of mouth is key to driving them there, and will vary depending on who you’re speaking.

Top tips:

  1. Don’t overload your audience with info when telling them about the campaign – that’s what the project page is for!
  2. Tell your audience how many people are already backing it – it’s the best soundbite you can give anyone about your campaign.

Read our guide for all the info.

As well as raising funds, crowdfunding campaigns are great ways of connecting people around an idea, and for Spacehive projects, local places. During a campaign there’ll be periods of excitement and then naturally periods of lulls, when the pledge rate slows down. Organising events for these periods, usually around the half way mark of your campaign, can be a great way of keeping the energy levels up, and spreading the word further by inviting your Backers to bring their friends and family.

Top tips:

  1. Hold the event at your project location. Have a party in the park you’re improving, an open day at the community centre you’re renovating, or a sports tournament on the pitches you’re resurfacing.
  2. Keep asking for support. Make sure your Backers know the job isn’t done, and funds are still needed to reach the target.

Read our guide to learn how to host the perfect event.

Community activism and crowdfunding campaigns make great stories for local media outlets, who are always on the look out for something to write about. A lot of Spacehive projects get covered in local press because they’re relevant to local people and the local area.

As well as spreading the word of your campaign further, press releases can be used to get local businesses on board, who will be incentivised to pledge if they might get a mention in a press piece as a supporter. Because most press releases are pre-written before being sent to the paper, you can decide to include the name of the businesses who are supporting you, and even get a photo with them on site if they pledge enough.

Top tips:

  1. Find a relevant journalist. It’s always worth finding a journalist to send it to directly, rather than going through the front door of the paper.
  2. Make the story facts based. When writing the piece just include as many facts as possible, and let the journalist add some colour if they’re interested in the core idea.

Read our guide on creating the perfect press release for more info.

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After a campaign ends

Whilst running your campaign you should know the types of impact you’re likely to make once the project has been delivered. Will you have created jobs, improved a green space, or improved access to art? Once you know the types of impact you’ll make you should think about how this can be captured once the project is open to the public. Capturing footfall past your mural, tracking hours of volunteering time logged or counting the number of trees plated are good examples.

After a campaign ends Spacehive will start collecting pledges within a couple of days. The 2 payment providers of PayPal and GoCardless then take 5 working days to collect the funds from your Backers and pay them out to you.

If your GoCardless account hasn’t been verified then GoCardless will hold the funds until it is. If your account hasn’t been verified then GoCardless will send regular emails letting you know what to do. If you’re unsure if the account is verified, log in to GoCardless and check the status in your account settings.

Once the funds have been paid out you’ll receive a payment report in your project dashboard, showing the total amounts pledged during your campaign, the the Spacehive and transaction fees on those pledges, and the resulting amount that was paid out to you.

After you’ve successfully delivered your project, you need to let your backers and crowd know that it’s done and ready to use. The best way to do this is by posting an update through your project, which will send an email to your crowd and post an event on the page letting anyone who visits the page know the project is finished.

The next thing to do is then report back on the difference their pledges have made to the local community by completing a straightforward impact report. The report combines data from your campaign with some fun metrics on who’s used the finished product and who or what has benefited from it.

The data you upload through our reporting tool is turned into a colourful report, like this one, and shared with your crowd. It serves a permanent marker of the positive change you’ve led in your community and has been used in the past to secure further funding for organisations, who use it as a record of their past achievement, almost like a project CV.

Read our full guide on impact collecting and reporting to find out more.

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