Crowdfunding a community festival - case study and tips

Friends of Cale Green Park (Stockport) are running a campaign of part of the NESTA funded CrowdMatch Project. Partners Community Development Foundation, Buzzbnk and CrowdfundUK are supporting organisations in running crowdfunding campaigns across the country. The donations they raise will be matched by a Community First Grant.

The Friends of Cale Green are crowdfunding on Buzzbnk to run festivals in 2014 and 2015. Their first milestone is £500 – when they reach that they unlock the £500 from Community First. But their target is £2500. If they reach that they are secure for two years.

Here they are on Facebook .

And it looks like they’ll easily surpass their milestone and be well on their way to their target.

Why are they doing so well – I asked Harold Cataquet, the Project Coordinator.

We have a core set of untapped contributors

These are people who would like to support us, but can’t come to our events. We put these events on for them, and they never attend. So we’re playing on their guilt… Later on, I will email this group again to say “The honor roll is up, and I notice some of you haven’t given money”. That public finger pointing may upset some, but I think it will encourage those who haven’t contributed yet to give something.

We have a story with a bad guy

I’ve made a pitch that shows a group trying to put on events for the benefit of the Community, but the Council is making it harder and harder for them. My letter to the other residents made this stronger than the pitch on the website. This approach appeals to people as they can see that it’s a good cause, AND they can see a bad guy who they want to see defeated.

We have someone champion to the idea

There are 8 people on the Friends organizing committee. Six of them were opposed to the idea, and I had to push this and convince them one by one to even try. From their point of view, it’s easier to just fill out an application for a grant. Some are still opposed (!), but I got the majority to agree to try it out. If you haven’t got that pigheaded champion willing to push doubters aside, the project will fail before it can even start.

We’ve got a team capable of putting a pitch together

Although you may believe anyone can put a pitch together, it’s really not that easy. You need a tech guy [for the video], a literate guy [for filling in the forms] and a creative guy [to think of awards, etc]. Again, if people don’t back you’re idea [believing it will fail], they won’t be willing to participate in the pitch creation.

These are really the stumbling blocks!

Harold is on the Community First panel and they were looking for a group to dip their toes into crowd funding.

He goes on to say

I knew (from my experience with friends using Kickstarter) what it was all about, so I decided that the Friends of Cale Green should have a go. I also suggested that the panel offer matched funding of £500 as an extra incentive to try it out [I read this was a possible approach in a Community First notice]. I figured we’d get a few years of event funding from the process, but I knew the rest of the group would not like the idea because (i) they had no idea what crowdfunding was, and (ii) they wouldn’t like the idea of “taking a risk” as implied by the idea of crowd funding [risky because you have no idea if anyone will contribute].



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