A pioneering new online approach to fundraising used by President Obama’s campaign team in the United States has opened its ‘virtual doors’ to communities and charities across Scotland.
Crowdfunding connects communities online by allowing projects or causes the chance to appeal directly to the public – or crowd – for funds for a specific campaign over a 60-day period. (1)
Borders based project SoLoCo, which launches today (Sept 5), is the first ever dedicated crowdfunding website for the Third Sector – and its founders want it to revolutionise how projects are funded in this country. (2)
SoLoCo Founder Kirsty Burnham said: “We believe SoLoCo can help revolutionise the future of funding in the UK. We want to make it easier to raise funds, and in time make it easier for organisations to be become less reliant on the ‘traditional’ funding bodies. We also want to help improve the visibility of our communities and all the amazing work happening on the ground every day. Crowdfunding has already made a huge difference to the arts, music and even, Obama’s political campaign – now we want it to change communities.”
The SoLoCo launch comes as the Third Sector faces an increasingly tough financial climate, battling reduced income from statutory funding against increased demand for services in some areas. Recent figures highlighted a worst case scenario loss to the sector of £200 million over the next spending review period, if austerity measures at Westminster were mirrored in Scotland. (3)
Six projects across Scotland have already signed up on the SoLoCo website to crowdfund for donations, worth a total value of £124,976. These include (4)
The launch of a new Scottish online newspaper, the scottishtimes.com
Scotland’s first Digital FABlab based at Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture, The Lighthouse, Glasgow
Renovation of Glencanisp Walled Garden by The Assynt Foundation to create a local enterprise
Crowdfunding for audio-visual equipment for the hugely successful Youth Football Scotland project
A multimedia project at Duns Youth Centre in the Borders, to help young people develop skills in film-making & radio production
A community café Punjab'n De Rasoi in Leith, Edinburgh is crowdfunding to employ its long time volunteer chefs and waitresses.
Kirsty added: “The ‘virtual doors’ are now open for projects across the UK to start their own crowdfunding campaign through the SoLoCo site, giving them access directly to the public, a wider network than they have already, and without having to organise any sponsorship activities.”
The idea is that a project uploads its crowdfunding campaigns to the SoLoCo website in a few easy steps. They then have 60 days in which to fundraise, with a heavy focus on social media. Projects reaching their target keep all the money, while those who don’t, keep the money raised and can use it to apply for match funding. (5)
The official launch of the project’s site onto a worldwide stage takes place in Glasgow on September 19 as part of the largest social media event in the world, Social Media Week. (6)
But the site goes live today (Sept 5), giving charities, voluntary sector groups, social enterprises, in fact any group that benefits the communities, and potential donors a chance to start crowdfunding ahead of the worldwide launch. Visit www.soloco.co.uk/findoutmore.html
As well as the live launch, Social Media Week will also see SoLoCo leading a special crowdfunding workshop on September 20. The day will see collaboration between many of the UK’s pioneering crowdfunding platforms, including Unbound, where the focus will be on producing one or more viral adverts to help promote the notion of crowdfunding. (7)
Successful crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter in America have seen hundreds of thousands raised for arts projects. Obama used crowdfunding to contribute to his election campaign. And a most recently in the UK, Brewdog, successfully launched its second Equity for Punks crowdfunding campaign, after the first one proved such a success.
Notes to editors
Various definitions of crowdfunding can be found on Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowd_funding
For more information about SoLoCo – www.soloco.co.uk/findoutmore.html
The recent figures come from the SCVO. For more information see http://www.scvo.org.uk/scvo-media-release/english-body-underestimates-cuts-in-scotland/
Details of all the project are available on the website – but for a Word document detailing all the projects, the funding bids, etc, please contact Christina Cran, 07725 316 513.
Criteria includes that the project benefits the community; has an organisational bank account, and if not a registered charity, or registered with Companies House, then they must provide a copy of their constitution. SoLoCo receives a 6 per cent commission if a project reaches target and 9.5 per cent for amounts below target. Aside from operational costs, all profits are ploughed back into the community.
For more information about Social Media Week, http://socialmediaweek.org/glasgow
For more information about the viral campaign http://socialmediaweek.org/event/?event_id=180
SoLoCo Founder Kirsty Burnham came up with the idea having worked extensively in developing services and fundraising for Third Sector organisations. Until recently, she ran a small web design agency. She is a graduate of the Scottish Social Enterprise Academy 2020 Leadership Programme and the Common Purpose Matrix Programme. She is currently Chair of Jedburgh Youth Café Association, on the Board of Jedburgh Out of School Club, Ancrum Youth Club and was Founding Director of Borders Creative.
Co-founder John Ayscough is a creative with 15 years experience of advertising and online brand management working with some of Scotland biggest Ad and design agencies such as Tayburn, Leith and Golley Slater. During this time John has worked with both Public and Private sector clients including the BBC, Scottish Government, Visit Scotland, RBS, NHS Scotland, Mental Welfare Commission, Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise, Edinburgh University, Glenmorangie and Charles Taylor. Technical Director, John Keiller brings 15 years experience in internet and web development.
SoLoCo are also working with Cran Communications and Third Sector Lab to promote the launch of the site, and the official opening.
Christina Cran, Cran Communications, 07725 316 513
PHOTOGRAPHS: SoLoCo logos available from http://www.soloco.co.uk/resources.html
For an .eps version of the logo, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
INTERVIEWS: Spokespeople are available to interview from both SoLoCo and individual projects. Please contact Christina Cran, 07725 316 513.