Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular way for Friends of parks groups and others to raise funds for their work and to help them deliver a wide range of park projects.
For anyone who does not know crowdfunding is the practice of generating income for a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people (the crowd) who each contribute a relatively small amount, typically via the internet. The basic principle is that you set a target sum to raise and a timeframe within which to do it. You then place your project on a publicly available platform and encourage people to visit the page through an active and planned outreach program using tools like social media and email. The intention is to appeal to as many of these visitors as possible so that they contribute funds to your project and to share the news with their own networks. You collect the financial pledges made with the intention of reaching the target set.
Through MyParkScotland we have been supporting groups to raise funds through crowdfunding for the last four years since launching the MyParkScotland website in May 2015. During this time 60 projects of all shapes and sizes have been supported. Crowdfunding can work for small projects like the group who raised £500 to create a mini-orchard in a small neighbourhood park through to raising £15,000 to create a habitat for nesting birds within a Local Nature Reserve. Take a look at some of the past projects that have used MyParkScotland.
We are delighted to have worked with a number of projects within Fields in Trust protected green spaces including the West Boathouse at Glasgow Green and Pensioners Playground at Inverleith Park in Edinburgh. We are currently working with the Zetland Park Regeneration Project to support an inclusive play area at Zetland Park in Grangemouth.
Crowdfunding does require effort to attract the much-needed donations. For any groups looking to use crowdfunding to raise funds for their projects here are five top tips that can help increase the chance of crowdfunding success:
Tip #1: Choose an achievable target - cost your project and be realistic about how much money you can raise through crowdfunding. It is easy to set your target too high and then lose enthusiasm when it seems out of reach. You can always extend your crowdfunding target to achieve more!
Tip #2: Know your audience - it is important that, as you are asking people to donate to your project, you know who they are and what will enthuse them to donate. So, before getting in to your crowdfunding campaign answer these three simple questions... Who will we market this campaign to? What does our average donor look like? How do we get our message to them?
Tip #3: Plan your promotion - once you know who you are getting your message out to it is vital to plan how to do this. Don't leave it until the day your crowdfund goes live. Plan in advance to make the most of all opportunities. Planning your promotion will help keep momentum going during your crowdfund campaign.
Tip #4: Follow Up, Update, Thank, Repeat - it's good to say thank you. If you thank people who have donated to your project they are more likely to share to others and become repeat donors. It is not just about thanking donors though, keep your crowd updated on how your crowdfund is progressing so that they can see that their donation is making a difference.
Tip #5: Celebrate success - it is important for you and your donors that you celebrate success! This could be announcing a big donation, celebrating hitting a funding milestone or marking a milestone of a significant number of donors. Everyone likes to hear good news and celebrating how far you have come will help you keep momentum during your crowdfunding campaign.
Once your crowdfunding campaign is finished this is just the beginning. Keep people informed about the project they donated to so that donors can see it become a reality and keeping them engaged with the work you are doing.
Crowdfunding is a great way for park and greenspace groups to make their project ideas a reality and spread the word about the vital work they do. So if you are planning a crowdfund good luck and if you are crowdfunding for a park or greenspace in Scotland then get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can talk about how MyParkScotland can help with your crowdfunding goals.
Favourite childhood park: Abbey Fields, Kenilworth, Warwickshire - not only used to walk through it on my way to school but also where I learnt to swim and played football for years
Favourite local park: Mugdock Country Park, East Dunbartonshire - a local park with great views of Glasgow and lots of spaces to walk and cycle
Favourite overseas park: Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, Australia - stunning park with a dedicated running trail around the edge to try and get over jetlag
Favourite park memory: Having wedding photographs taken in Downanhill Park, Glasgow on a cold but surprisingly dry February day
Favourite thing to do at the park: Anything active, love running and cycling through parks and green spaces
Ian Goodman is MyParkScotland Project Manager at greenspace scotland. He can be contacted by email:
Ian Goodman is Project Manager for MyParkScotland - Scotland's only crowdfunding platform specifically for parks and greenspaces. Developed by greenspace scotland, with support from the Nesta/HLF Rethinking Parks programme. Ian has nearly 20 years' experience working on a wide range of partnership projects with bodies across the public, private and third sectors. With a background in digital connectivity and inclusion, he specialises in working with organisations and funders to make the best use of available technology. Ian co-ordinated the design, development and delivery of the MyParkScotland website and crowdfunding platform.