Tips from crowdfunding a big red bus

It’s always interesting to chat to people in the middle of running a crowdfunding campaign. Commonplace is a mobile community space housed in a big red double decker bus, showcasing the best events and meet-ups across Manchester. They are crowdfunding to start the conversion of the double decker. 

Commonplace Bus4

I interviewed Lucy and Roxanna about setting up their campaign.

 Why are you crowdfunding?

We have decided to crowdfund as we are creating a community space for Manchester, we want the community to be involved in the development of the social enterprise and this is one way for us to engage them. Launching the crowdfunder, was really exciting especially as we have been talking about developing a crowdfunding campaign for a while, we really enjoyed creating the video as we knew we wanted to create a fun campaign. 

Commonplace Bus

How have you prepared for the campaign?

We created, a crowdfunding video, wrote an online campaign and scheduled lots of social media. We also contacted previous people who we have worked with to promote us their networks.

How easy was this to do? Who helped you?  

We prepared for the campaign by watching lots of other campaigns and thought about what message we wanted to portray. Planning the incentives was quite difficult, as we needed to calculate how much things would cost us. We received support from Anne, who advised us about developing our campaign and dos and donts for the video. 

How is the campaign going?

It’s going well. First week we have had a real flurry of pledges but things are starting to slow down now! Our social media platforms have been really busy! Find them on Facebook and Twitter

Commonplace Bus3.jpg

 How did you get the first pledges? Do you know everyone who has pledged so far? 

Our first pledges were from friends and family, and people who we had primed to make sure our page looked busy. Initially we knew most people who pledged, but now we are starting to receive pledges from people we don’t know. 

How will you maintain momentum?

Our plan is to program different activity during the campaign, online and offline and use our contacts networks to promote the campaign. Whilst also keeping it fun!

Commonplace Bus2.jpg

How will you extend your reach beyond friends and allies who already know you?

We hosted a launch event at the beginning of the campaign, and are attending face to face networking events speaking at as many events as possible, which is a great opportunity for us to gain face to face feedback on our campaign. We are also getting back in touch with people who supported our business when were very first developing our idea and asking if they can support us.  

Manchester social enterprise, Commonplace, are crowdfunding to convert the interior of their double decker bus to make it a flexible and beautiful event space for the people of Manchester. The next stage of their development includes the conversion of the interior space, which would include installation of heating, electricity and the addition of beautiful furnishings. They will be running public workshops taught by talented local makers to produce some of the fittings including stools, coat hooks and soft furnishings. To kick start the process they are hoping to raise £5,500 which would pay for the initial design work and the first public workshop. You can pledge to the campaign here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/commonplace-bus-the-big-conversion/ 

 They have some fantastic incentives, including a photoshoot in the driver’s seat (complete with hat!) and a private dinner party on the bus for 10 people, cooked by Real Junk Food Project Manchester. Follow their journey on Twitter and Facebook @commonplaceuk and share their campaign using #getonboard. 

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