The Social Change Agency in conjunction with Hubbub is excited to announce the launch of the UK’s first ever Crowdfunding Academy, which will take place at Nesta on the 19th September 2016.

The Academy is for people and organisations looking to learn about the best ways to use crowdfunding to increase their social impact. It will cover best practice in digital fundraising along with cutting edge movement building techniques, enabling participants to get the most out of this fast-growing area.

And you’re invited to the launch!

Just let us know your burning concerns and questions about crowdfunding, and you’ll get your name on the guest list. We’ll be using this feedback to help develop the introductory workshop at the launch, so you can be sure that it will be relevant to your needs.

Why a Crowdfunding Academy?

Back in June, Nesta launched its Crowdfunding Good Causes report, setting out the opportunities and challenges crowdfunding presents for charities, communities and social enterprises.

The report demonstrated what many in the sector knew or suspected – crowdfunding use among nonprofits is growing fast, with a 500% increase in donations in 2015. Done properly, it represents an incredible opportunity to bring in new money, fund novel projects, reach out to new supporters and build deeper relationships with them for the future.

But the report also showed that the sector is lagging far behind the commercial world, with less than 0.5% of charitable donations in the UK raised through crowdfunding. This suggests that there’s a huge untapped source of donations just waiting to be harnessed.

So what’s holding us back? The main thing seems to be a lack of knowledge and skills, along with concerns about the risks. Some charities have had previous bad experiences with crowdfunding, in some cases due to being poorly advised, and are wary of the whole process.

It’s clear that something needs to be done to turn this around, and we believe that we’re in an excellent position to lead the way. We have direct experience helping organisations to plan and run crowdfunding campaigns, and we’ve run crowdfunding accelerator programmes in the fields of social justice and social innovation.

We know how crucial solid planning, analysis and campaigning methods are to success. We know the warning signs to look out for, and on a number of occasions we have stepped in to turn around failing campaigns into successes. You can find a list of testimonials on the website.

What to Expect

The Crowdfunding Academy programme is based on our insights and experience, and targeted at the skills and training gaps identified in the Nesta report. And we’re keen to continue developing it using your insights and priorities.

We’re not here to promote crowdfunding as a cure-all to fill funding gaps and address public mistrust of many mainstream fundraising techniques. But we do believe that, by giving fundraising skills a digital reboot, we can help social change organisations to respond to a critical generational and attitudinal change in the way that people relate to causes.

Digital crowdfunding can help to transform fundraising:

– It can help campaigns be more immediate and more transparent.
– It allows causes to mobilise large numbers of people through their supporters’ online networks.
– It has the potential to give donors a fantastic user experience and build communities around a cause.
– It can give access to an unprecedented selection of user insight, which can be used to design compelling supporter journeys that will motivate donors to keep giving and supporting.

But to get these advantages, you have to play the game properly. Projects need to be authentic, with inspiring messages and engaging content. Campaign teams have to be willing to provide real-time feedback. Engagement with supporters has to begin before the campaign starts and be sustained when it is over.

Get Involved!

The Crowdfunding Academy is designed to help you and your organisation to plan and execute campaigns which get you noticed, attract new donors and keep them engaged long-term.

We would love to see you at the Learning Launch on 19th September to further discuss what the programme will involve, and to get your thoughts about what it should focus on. Just tell us what you’d like to learn in a five-minute survey, and we’ll book you a space.

See you there!

Carol, Esther and Jonathan, The Crowdfunding Academy Founding Team