James Borrell explains the huge benefits for conservation that can be generated via Crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are going through an explosion of recognition and are becoming more and more popular.

They enable the general public to donate/fund with their own money and support concepts, ideas and initiatives that they believe in. We now have this brilliant opportunity for the conservation community to jump on board and utilise this kind of funding.

However, on a recent breakdown of several different categories of assignments funded on Kickstarter, foods managed $1. 5million, music managed to hit $13million and film reached a phenomenal $19million. Meanwhile however, conservation didn’t actually register as a category.

Clearly, this is certainly something that passionate environmentalists, scientists and the public should look to change.

Precisely what is Crowdfunding?
“Crowdfunding is an auto financing method that involves funding a project with comparatively modest contributions from a sizable group of individuals, instead of seeking substantial sums via a small number of investors.”

How Can We Utilise Crowdfunding?
The essence of crowdfunding means that the project or projects seeking funding must look interesting, captivating, and original; these are the projects that are most likely to get their funding. The only limit is your imagination. Here are some ideas for setting up a project…

  1. Crowdfunding is well suited for unconventional methods that could be less likely to get funding from the usual sources (e. g. government).
  2. Community projects in which a large number of people will most likely receive direct benefits are more than often successful.
  3. Many projects offer benefits or incentives for different levels of funding support. Conservation assignments are perfect for this as they will frequently offer photography/pictures, progress updates, locally crafted or produced items, or visits to field stations.
  4. Crowdfunding appears to work at its best for small to medium size projects (with some exceptions!). These frequently yield the greatest returns on limited funds.

What Types of projects can Crowdfunded?

  • Focusing in conserving a specific group or species, like this kind of project in Samoa.
  • Building a documentary to emphasis on an issue, similar to the Black Turtle Project, in Indonesia.
  • Help to support the science and technology skills needed for conservation inside a developing community, like this project in Cameroon.
  • Encourage sustainable livelihoods and conservation by strengthening and empowering local communities, such as this Project, in Peru. (There’s also a great write up regarding this project, right here).
  • Or you can certainly go more committed, like these guys, situated in Wales of all places.

(Of course, I should think you may probably get the solution to climate change and biodiversity damage funded too, just need to think of it first)…
James Borrell ConservationTips for Designing a Successful Crowdfunded Conservation project

  1. Choose the right Platform

The amount of crowdfunding sites is definitely growing, and fast, unsurprisingly wikipedia provides probably the most up to date lists. However, please bear in mind that concept may support so many different sites partly as a result of the popularity of the concept, also because most sites take a small cut or maybe a  percentage of the financing fund.

There’s a lot of more conservation orientated crowdfunding sites under development right now, more regarding that below.

  1. Start small

People like to fund projects with a good chance of achieving the goal, set a realist target and deliver proficiently and effectively.

  1. Plan Ahead

For people to fund your project, they need to know about it. Developing a network of supporters in advance of launching your project may take some time, however it really will permit you to quickly distribute your message once you launch your campaign. (It’s a different topic, nevertheless the Janapar project performed this very effectively indeed).

  1. Video, Online video, Video

Definitely the one thing that the majority of successful projects have in common is a good, crafted, inspiring and detailed video clip. Get somebody on board who is prepared to help build this kind of, or teach yourself.

  1. Build A Story

Powerful and compelling crowd funding campaigns possess a compelling story. If you are unable to describe clearly what you’re planning to achieve in 50 words, then simplify. With the significant quantity of information available on the net, you need to grab the public’s attention.

  1. Invest In Yourself

Ask yourself this: Would you fund you? It provides potential funders a lot of confidence if you are also invested financially (probably mentally and physically too), in the project. This goes for more conventional types of sponsorship too. This doesn’t mean you will need to mortgage your house or throw in the daily life savings, simply that you’re confident in your chances of success.

  1. Learning from others

Look to find which projects in a similar theme have recently been successful, after all it’s worth mentioning that in conservation we’re all on the same team.

A Few Words of Caution

  • Crowdfunding is not a quick fix for conservation, anticipate a considerable investment in time before hand.
  • On the Kickstarter platform, for example, only 43% of projects are successful. (…but that’s still pretty amazing)
  • Make sure you accurately cost your project, can you really achieve the required outcome with the expected funding. If not then you’ll be letting the supporters down.
  • Crowdfunding often means an ongoing commitment far beyond the end of your online campaign}.

This article was kindly supplied to us by James Borrell, one of the UK’s most forward thinking conservation biologist. We seriously recommend you follow James on all the social media channels and read his very interesting and inspiring website.
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