At the start of the year ( through the phenomenon that is Global Service Jam ) I met an awesome lady called Kirsty Burnham. This week has been a rollercoaster of happenings for Kirsty - who is the founder of SoLoCo!! I was at the recent launch of Scottish based project - the first ever dedicated crowdfunding website for the Third Sector – and its founders want it to revolutionise how projects are funded in the UK.
“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.
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:
// 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.
"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.
Our project base is across Scotland at present but our doors are very much open to projects across the UK.”
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.
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...I am watching this space!