Crowdsource your funding.

I recently had the privilege to attend an introduction to crowdfunding course provided by Manchester City Council, God bless the ‘free event’ filter in eventbrite! Apart from anything else, this was a great opportunity to visit the newly revamped Manchester central library, and learn about the great Business and IP centre there. I find that keeping up to date with issues that affect our services, whilst being secondary to my main role, is crucial to understanding the pressures faced by social enterprises in today’s ever more competitive market.

A key thing that I learnt was that the relationship to your funders is of utmost importance to building a successful crowdfunding campaign. I have myself backed several campaigns through both crowdfunding, and crowdlending, and been witness to both successful and unsuccessful attempts to raise funds through both of these methods. Some campaigns have provided great feedback on what they were able to achieve, others not so great, in this case I’m afraid I am reluctant to further fund in the future. This has led to me wondering, how much do third sector enterprises consider relations with their funders? Historically, larger funding streams have often come from authorities that contract in services, and reporting criteria are outlined from the start. When creating outcome / impact reporting nowadays, you may have to appease to a much larger audience of stakeholders.

Having a reporting system like CORS allows you to send well formatted reports out to people electronically using widely available software such as Adobe and Microsoft Office. It is this professionalism that creates optimism and security on behalf of your funders, who need to see that the money they invest in you is bringing about the changes that they hoped to invest in. Crowdfunding is a great way for the market to get behind projects that they really care about, but it requires innovative approaches to feedback that support the trust required, and proves that the money invested genuinely affects a change that funders wanted to see.

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