Why your PTA should try crowdfunding!
With a ready-made network, schools are in the best
possible position to make a success of digital fundraising, so what
are you waiting for?
What is crowdfunding?
Rather than asking one donor for a large investment,
crowdfunding asks a large crowd of donors to each make a small
This method of fundraising is especially effective for schools,
given that you have a ready-made network of people in your
community who have a vested interest in seeing your project
succeed. Rather than tapping up the same group of people - your
parents - time and again, crowdfunding enables you to appeal
to a wider network of extended family, community groups and local
The benefits of a well-managed crowdfunding campaign go far
beyond the extra funds in your bank... Crowdfunding helps raise
awareness of your school's vision, opens doors to new opportunities
and partnerships, and increases your support base for future
What makes a good project?
If this is your first crowdfunding campaign, then concentrate on
a project that is likely to motivate your community to donate. You
will need to create a compelling story that clearly illustrates how
your school will prosper as a result.
Explain how you will deliver the project, in what timeframe and
who will benefit. Consider the amount of funding this project
requires - having a successful launch project will enable you to
follow up with subsequent campaigns in the future, so set a modest
target, say between £1,000 and £5,000.
What should we include in our campaign?
Donors will want to know how their hard-earned cash will be
spent, and that they can trust you to deliver. Cost out your
funding target and provide a sensible plan to show donors that your
project is feasible - include maintenance and running costs.
Outline how additional funds will be used should you exceed your
fundraising target, and what you plan to do in the event of a
How do we get our project noticed?
Think of this as an advertising campaign - why do so many people
share the John Lewis advert every Christmas? What will make people
want to share your project? Research similar crowdfunding campaigns
- were they successful, and how engaging was the pitch? Give your
project a simple, attention-grabbing strapline and spend some time
creating eye-catching visuals to be used on your website, on social
media, in blogs, etc.
What's the process?
The crowdfunding process can be split into four stages: plan,
recruit, engage and finish.
PLAN: Define what you want to achieve - put
yourself in your donors' shoes and think about the narrative you
need to create to appeal to them. Prepare full project costings,
and gather evidence from beneficiaries and stakeholders to show the
impact your project will have.
Put together a database of potential donors and those who might
also help share news of your campaign. Think about groups or
businesses working in a similar field to that of your project as
they will be more likely to support your campaign.
Decide how long to run your campaign for - projects of up to
four weeks in length tend to be more successful because a shorter
project conveys a sense of urgency, focuses your promotional
efforts and makes it easier to maintain momentum.
Prepare visuals to help share your passion for your project and
to inspire people to give. Consider creating a one- to two-minute
video explaining how funds will be used, who will benefit and
how - projects with videos are 147% more likely to be
Compile a promotional plan and consider what rewards you can
offer as an incentive for donors to be generous!
RECRUIT: Once you have identified potential
supporters, select those you regard as your core team and ask them
to help with the 'soft launch'. Ask these people for feedback on
your campaign and then make any adjustments in advance of your hard
launch. Create some hype before you launch.
Include a clear call to action in all messages and aim to secure
ten donations (30% of target) prior to launch. What local and
national press does your audience engage with? Are there any
upcoming local events at which you could promote your campaign?
ENGAGE: Using your contact list, identify the
communication channels that are most relevant to your audience
(i.e. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn). To ensure that your story is
consistent, create a bank of messages that your core team can share
- these should explain who you are, your goal, why your project is
so important and how funds will be spent. Prepare update collateral
in advance, such as to announce milestones (i.e. launch day, 10% of
funds secured, two weeks to go, etc). Review activity throughout
the campaign and adjust your promotions accordingly.
After the initial launch you can expect there to be a lull -
updates featuring messages from pupils or teachers will help
invigorate supporters. Remind people of the great rewards you have
FINISH: In the final week of your campaign,
have a final push, posting social media updates that create a sense
of urgency. Once your campaign has finished, thank your supporters
and send personal emails to particularly generous donors or groups
with whom you want to forge stronger links. Stay connected! Post
regular updates on the progress of your project, using photos,
press cuttings, etc. Fulfil any rewards - your crowdfunding
platform provider should give a report with details for each reward
If you aren't already registered with HMRC to claim Gift Aid
then register! Donors are asked to confirm whether they are a UK
taxpayer and this information is included in a report once your
campaign ends. Use this to add up to 25% more to the total
Get in-depth guidance
Subscribe to our
sister resource, FundEd, for just £90 (+VAT) a year and get
access to a wealth of targeted crowdfunding guides, including:
- A Crowdfunding Handbook - From preparing your
project to thanking donors, this guide gives a valuable overview of
all the steps to consider.
- Promoting Your Campaign - Identify your likely
support base using our mind-mapping template, and develop a
marketing strategy to take you from pre-launch to the final
- Rewards: Everything You Need to Know - What
might encourage your donors to dig deeper? What makes a good
- Scheduling a Campaign - Allow time to plan and
prepare, recruit support, launch and engage donors and complete
- Building a Support Base - Supporters should
include those who are likely to pledge money as well as those who
could spread news of your campaign to the widest possible
For more information, go to funded.org.uk.
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