Charlotte Gateshill, Governor and Chair of the Community Partnership Group, Camelsdale Primary School, Haslemere, Surrey (240 pupils) told us:
‘In February 2017, our small rural school launched its first-ever crowdfunding campaign. Our aim was to raise £3,000 to replace one of five fast-failing whiteboards with the latest state-of-the-art Sahara Clevertouch Plus screen.
Our mission began weeks before our official launch date, generating early interest in the project. As a new initiative, it was important to explain the concept of crowdfunding and build excitement. The seed was sown at PTA and governor meetings, via class links, on the playground – you name it! A number of local businesses were approached personally. As per advice from the FundEd team, we set a goal to secure 30% of our target pre-launch and by the end of January we had £625 in the pot.
For 28 days, we captured the attention of our community with our call to action: “Please pledge, promote and power our project!”. We played on themes such as February being the month of love, and also the month of no council tax! Social media proved to be our most powerful means of promotion, further boosted by local newspaper coverage. Regular updates via school email, the crowdfunding platform and even on the outdoor blackboard ensured that it didn’t escape anyone’s notice! We offered an array of rewards, including the opportunity to ring the school bell (usually a privilege saved for Year 1’s Star of the Day!).
We celebrated reaching the minimum target by the end of week one, gasped with amazement when we received the first of four £1,000 pledges and squealed with delight when we exceeded the £3,000 mark with 15 days still to go!
Our campaign ran for just one month, by which time we’d raised a phenomenal £7,720 – enough to buy two boards and one adjustable stand. We were thrilled, not to mention overwhelmed by the generosity of our 86 donors, all of whom we immediately thanked. The FundEd team also provided a wealth of support and guidance throughout the process; the highly resourceful website was invaluable, especially as we were new to crowdfunding.
Would we run a campaign again? Absolutely! Would we do it differently? Timing is a key factor and perhaps post-Christmas wasn’t the ideal time. However, targeting an urgent need lent impetus, enabling us to raise money quickly. Hopefully, next time, even more people will rally behind us!’