Since launching last year’s campaign on Indiegogo, we understand a lot more about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to crowdfunding for social good.
One of the first major lessons we learned came from conducting an in-depth review of existing crowdfunding platforms.
This review was formative in helping us figure out exactly what we needed to do to achieve our goal of raising the funds needed to put Ostrog Primary School on the path to energy independence.
Using our newfound knowledge, we were able to spread the word and garner support via social media and online news agencies.
During the Christmas holiday season, our project was even featured on Indiegogo’s main page, and most of the time it was selected as one of the top five projects in its category (out of 750!), which brought higher visibility and more contributions.
While the main purpose of this project was to investigate the best ways to make a school energy-independent, it was also an opportunity for us to experiment with a new method for garnering support for projects.
Therefore, sharing our experience with other offices and organizations is now one of our key priorities.
On 28-30 May, we will be participating with the World Bank at the Carbon Expo in Cologne in a round table discussion titled, “Scale-up crowdfunding for climate actions.” We are also participating in European Union-funded Citizenenergy project, which aims to set up an online platform for citizen investments in renewable energy projects in Europe over the next three years.
DOs and DON’Ts
So, with all of this in mind, we felt it was important to sum up a few of the lessons we learned managing this campaign.
The biggest thing we learned is that crowdfunding can make a big project more visible and can be used to catalyse funding for even bigger projects.
Building a community around your project idea means involving more people in the project, and increases the chances for future success.
For example, we received a number of supportive letters – one of which came from a man who donated US $1,000 the day before the campaign ended.
It turns out he had attended that very school 35 years ago, and took part in planting the school’s famously beautiful botanical garden. He now lives in Germany, where he organized a fundraising party on his birthday to collect donations for our initiative.
Here’s an excerpt from his touching letter:
The small olive trees that we planted as kids now produce so much olive oil. I am grateful to my teachers that I had such unique opportunity to learn from that and take such a treasure with me into my adult life. And this time, I would like to thank and give back a part of what I received back then.
That’s when it hit us – maybe, 35 years from now today’s pupils will also give back part of what they received. The cycle will continue for the next generation.
This is how sustainability begins.