The president of a Rotary Club in England opens up about crowdfunding in the UK.
Sally Duncan successfully crowdfunded through the GlobalGiving Accelerator for The Broadlands Riding for the Disabled Group.
Her Rotary Club in Four Marks and Medstead, England, now has a permanent spot in the GlobalGiving community and funds for an urgent construction project, which is central to its mission to provide equine therapy to children with disabilities.
Out of 600 participating organisations, Sally’s project gained the second highest number of individual donors in the 2017 December Accelerator. Sally told GlobalGiving how her team did it:
Q: How did you initially feel about the Accelerator challenge?
A: From the outset, I thought that participating in the challenge was a no brainer, but didn’t really know what to expect. We were quite last minute in putting together a plan, but now that I have more knowledge in crowdfunding, if I could go back and re-do the campaign, I’d put together more of comprehensive fundraising plan.
Q: What tips would you give to someone who is about to start the Accelerator, or crowdfunding in the UK?
A: To have tenacity and to not give up! Secondly, I’d advise planning the whole campaign really well and organise how you aim to raise your funds in advance. I noticed that the most successful organisations were the ones that planned. One organisation in particular started with hardly any donations, but successfully managed to mobilise their donors around Bonus Day, which saw their total shoot up! I think it’s also a good idea to get your team on your side before the campaign and prepare them to start outreach to supporters when the campaign begins. It was also really inspiring to work with The Broadlands Riding for the Disabled Group. I met with children and volunteers from the organisation who make up a community that looks after and supports one another.
Q: How did you ask for donations for your project?
A: The main focus of the communications was to ask people to support the project in any way that they were able. People didn’t need to give a lot if they couldn’t afford it. Some were able to share the campaign with their networks which was great to spread the word. I also used personalised emails and made a specific ask. On the last day of the campaign, I sent out an email saying that we were £572 short of reaching our £7,500 target. One individual generously donated exactly £572! This was our biggest donation. I also listened and was reactive to feedback given by donors about the communications.
Q: Describe one tool that was indispensable to your crowdfunding success?
A: I put together a series of short personal stories from individuals that were benefiting from the The Broadlands Riding for the Disabled Group project. These mini-stories were great for connecting supporters to the cause because people were interested in the personal experiences. I undertook a few experiments early on and modified them according to what caught people’s attention. Providing stories/silly images of horses proved to make people smile and got them engaged!
Q: How did you respond when someone didn’t donate?
A: I didn’t take it personally. If someone wasn’t able to donate, I didn’t want them to feel inclined and in some cases they shared the project on their social media and helped to raise awareness that way. What amazed me was the generosity of donors that don’t necessarily live in the area, but saw the Broadlands project as a cause worth supporting.
Q: How did you inspire your network to promote the campaign?
A: There were 3-4 members of our club that shared everything I posted on Facebook, one of which had hundreds of Rotary Facebook friends. The staff at Broadlands also shared with their networks. I posted on Facebook groups of other Rotary and district organisations as well as local community news groups, which gained a lot of interest. A member of my team is also an ex-journalist and was able to write press releases and reach out to the media. As a result we had a piece published in the local paper and appeared on two television channels.
Q: What should future participants know about the training and resources that GlobalGiving provides?
A: There are a lot of really useful tools on the platform and participants should take a look at what’s there. There are tools that help you construct emails and other communications, which I think is particularly helpful for those who are new to crowdfunding. There is a feature on the platform that allows you to see where your donations are coming from, so I was able to see where donors were finding the project. The Broadlands website and Facebook proved to be the most successful for us in terms of asking for donations.
Q: What’s the next challenge for you after the Accelerator?
A: Personally, I’ve really enjoyed doing the Accelerator, and when the club decides that there’s another project we’d like to raise money for, I’d be happy to carry it again!
Create your own crowdfunding success story. Apply now to be part of the next GlobalGiving Accelerator.
Featured Photo: Therapeutic Care for the Disabled by Rotary Club of Four Marks and Medstead Trust Fund