Crowdfunding for #SC4SV

Even though at the beginning of our road Social Capital for Social Ventures (Fund) is planned to operate on moneyless basis, it still requires funds to operate, among others for: design and development of the #SC4SV website, network building, promotion, and introductory trainings for newcomers. Here is where crowdfunding may come in handy. Particularly, with a community as strong as Edgeryders.

Before, however, starting a campaign, there are few questions we’d need to answer:

  1. Do we have any internal deadline for raising the money?

  2. What are we raising money for (few sentences + simple table)? (part of the answer above)

  3. What kind of platform do we prefer? – donation-based (anyone can chip in with whatever the amount of money they choose and we give “nothing” in return); reward-based (prizes for each donation)? I don’t think we’re interested in equity-based or lending-based platforms as we might be unable to foresee the timeframe for shifting from moneyless phase 1 to phase 2, which could earn us some money and the ROI. Still though, if u believe we should take a look at these too, I’ll be happy to provide you with an analysis.

  4. What communication channels (owned, earned) do we have (list)? (websites, blogs, social media accounts, newspapers, etc.)

  5. Team – who wants to get involved in the campaign from the very beginning (we will need, among others: someone who’s good in making videos, managing social media, creating content, etc.).

Some of the first things we’ll be working on are:

  1. our message

  2. video with our message (and other visuals — depending on the platform)

  3. basic description + supporting blog posts + social media content

  4. schedule for the campaign

  5. (depending on the choice of the platform) rewards for support.

That’s for starters. We will be aiming at raising 30 000 EUR. 

So, what do you think? Who’s in? :slight_smile:

My 2 cents

Hi Justyna,

So I was wondering about how to pitch this to potentially interested people, what kind of message I would like to see in a campaign to make me want to join or donate, so some thoughts:

  1. the promotional message or video, is in my mind a story (think scenario building) where you have the idea of calling together people with diverse skills and someone with no access to capital investments looking to benefit from a couple hours to pilot a project. Enter submission. this as opposed to writing detailed versions of the project for a far far away official competition for large large amounts of money with little little chances of support and with lots lots of paper work. then they are matched in an online system and they start working together, and towards the end we see the added benefits for each participant in the scheme: sort of like 1 phrase interviews.

  2. another idea is to campaign for skills to be placed in the database, rather than or in addition to campaign for money, not sure if it’s possible but ideally we’d be reaching 1. the audience supporting the project 2. the audience directly interested to join. the latter’s support could go straight into a back end, lively updated database

  3. the rewards we would be giving in return for financial support is different levels of packages with no. of hours and selected skills, how does that sound?

Is this concerning LOTE or Edgeryders in general?

  1. promo video: this story can make a cool animation, even though animated movies have become a bit of a cliche of fundraising. if I could only draw! I can try to scetch it though, on the level of a 3 y.old.

  2. How abt hose who want to contribute skills, rather than money, can be sent to the building the lote3 pge, and those who want to donate money to the verified by visa page.

  3. This, I suppose, is concerning Edgeryders in general. Like some sort of a skill pool? Made me think of taskrabbit. This model might require sorting it all out with tax authorities, I guess. And selfmade poolen which is a mix of an incubator and a skill pool.

definatley awesome video advert, & keep out buying skills 4bad

i think the video idea is especially good because i find that many people are put off by reading. especially to sell a creative idea a video that shows, requirements, those requirements being met, and the outcome being cool and inspirational, will make people want to repeat that scenario.

it is just as important in my opinion to make video or whatever medium is chosen to encourage donation of skills as well as money.

it was my impression from reading vinays post that the people contributing skills into the “bank” would be possibly entitled to apply for “bursaries” of time from the collective for good projects. that would be incentive enough for many people to volunteer their time. but as for money i would be worried to offer skills rewards to projects that have not been vetted by the community. as in somone (maybe a small business) contributes money and wants my skills to advertise their business, it would be good to feel there was a way of avoiding supporting that if i felt thier business was not wholesome or if it was a way for them to get cheaper highly skiled work as reward for financial investment.

in terms of suggestion for video, i would say its important to keep it really short and very captivating and full of energy. and it would be good to have it or several in different languages. how can i invite people with good skill sets to this project? is there a link i can use or should i just email them with the web bit at the top of this browser?

many thanks

Should do this for Edgeryders itself!

IMHO SC4SV is not the best thing to try to crowdfund. The best thing is Edgeryders itself. Here’s why:

  1. the Edgeryders community has already generated benefits. Examples: several partnerships between various Edgeryders, like my involvement into finding a launchpad for the first unMonastery prototype; small paid gigs for community members in the Mission: Baltic recently launched; mutual support among participants in the European Social Innovation Competition (and one of our projects, Economy App, actually made the semifinals and is still in the race). There is a very serious case we can make for this thing to be useful.
  2. However, keeping the community going has costs. After the spinoff from the Council of Europe they were borne by some of the more committed Edgeryders. We will presumably continue to do our part, but we need to go up a couple of notches. This means arise against activities that are well-loved and appreciated by the community, such as community management and the Living On The Edge events.
  3. Edgeryders is already a community, whereas SC4SV is not. The first has a name, an online presence, and more than 1,000 people that, at some point, decided to associate themselves with it. Some of the core members of the community have pretty good social media traction, and might be willing to help. By running a crowdfunding campaign as a community, we'll share a learning experience across all of us, not just the SC4SV group.
  4. Edgeryders, I would argue, has a potential for sustainability. I mean, look at it: we have a client and a paid gig (Mission: Baltic) and we don't even exist yet!
  5. Finally, all Edgeryders activities also contribute to SC4SV. There might be some SC4SV-specific costs – some software, a dedicated person – but I would argue those would be easier to fund from more traditional channels. Funding agencies are happy to fund projects, but no one wants to fund the organizations themselves – a couple of core salaries, a place to meet, whatever.

​All things considered, I would use crowdfundiing to get the Edgeryders thing off the ground, and take care of SC4SV through a dedicated funding channel. Thoughts?

Equity Crowdfunding

Just wanted to comment on your 3rd point, Justyna, regarding equity crowdfunding. We may very well be in a great position to get ahead of the curve.  There are thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of entrepreneurs and investors queueing up to get in on the action in my country (the US), but Congress has yet to approve and make it legal – some speculate they will never legalize it, probably because they fear what the whole model will do to shake up the old boys club. It is, however, very legal in Europe. For those that don’t know, equity crowdfunding attempts to solve one very specific problem: how to create a vehicle for smaller investors to legally and safely receive equity compensation in return for investing sorely needed funds. Equity crowdfunding is a more democratic, accessible and inclusive way of of investing and doing business. I don’t think I am so much concerned about which project ends up benefiting from this model, so much as I am interesting in seeing EdgeRyders take on the idea. 1,000 members strong, EdgeRyders is in a great position to infuse any project with all kinds of energy. The crowdfunding just accelerates everything and gives an immediate and tangible proposition to prospective stakeholders. The truth is not everyone has the same style as elf, a guy who has chosen to liberate himself from financial restraints. For everyone else, working with equity provides a huge motivational boost. It certainly beats a .gif merit badge. My level of dedication for projects goes through the roof when I am a part “owner” – be it profit-motivated or otherwise. Anything else is just asking for handouts and in my opinion, that may sometimes be a noble thing, but it’s also not very sustainable.

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tough choice

Noemi, Jessy, Alberto, Said, thanks for your comments! I think it’d be best to discuss them in detail starting from the most fundamental question, namely:

What are we raising money for?

Alberto, I understand and agree with your argument that Edgeryders themselves are much stronger and well-embeded than SC4SV. However, I would still argue for SC4SV as the “purpose” of the cf campaign. Here are my two main reasons:

  • Tangibility of campaign's goal. Creating a "fund" may be a much more "tangible" and "measurable" outcome than "managing/growing/supporting an existing community" for someone who is new to Edgeryders (potential backers). In other words, would you rather support a project through which an organization/community tries to crowdfund its development (what exactly do we mean by that?) or a project to develop one of its products (particularly if you're interested in using the product later on)? We need to keep in mind the standpoint of potential backers.
  • I don't think it is an "either-or" argument. We would not be raising money as SC4SV. We'd be raising money as Edgeryders for a project, which is SC4SV. From this standpoint, all your arguments about the power and potential of ER as a community remain relevant and still support the cause. 

I realize that this is where we come back to what you wrote about the (un)willingness of potential sponsors/backers to fund organizations in the first place… But I’m affraid we might throw the baby out with the bathwater by focusing too much on this argument.

So I guess the bottom line for us is - if we decide to crowdfund Edgeryders as a whole and not SC4SV, are we then able to list things we are raising money for, specify the outcomes/goals and draw a timeframe for it? The goal of the campaign should be as clear and “measurable” (and “attractive”) as possible.

Once we answer these questions, we can move to the issue of platform type (donation/reward/equity/lending) and then communication (videos, message, channels, etc.).

What do you think?


I see your point, Justyna. But I have to disagree: this is really a either/or sort of choice, because, if you crowdfund on SC4SV you have to fund strictly SC4SV activities, which don’t include this website (funded by time and money donated by some of us right now), community management, the conference etc.

The only way to get around this (well, the only one I can see now) would be to bake SC4SV as an Edgeryder core activity. But this would sort of blur the distinction between ER as a place for figuring out things and building partnerships among participants (radically decentralized) and a sort of incubator/accelerator (more centralized). How to get around this?

Re: “unfortunately” :slight_smile:

Agreed. In this case our primary focus should be on making clear what exactly we are raising money for (goal(s) + fundable means). We may start by drafting one-two paragraphs about who ER are and what is the value they carry. This then would be followed by a list of targets that we want to achieve (within some timeframe) that would justify to the backer the funding needed. Lets take a closer look at this part and we’ll see where we are.

ER are very strong in terms of social capital that is already out there. I’m wondering whether/how we could use it even before we launch our campaign. For example, maybe we could ask each of us to run short “surveys” with their friends to find out “)knowing who we are and what we do) what would make you back our cf project?” We still need some time to prepare the campaign, so we could start talking to people in the meantime. Just a thought…

What do you think?

Should we make it another thread or stay here?

The beauty of Drupal-powered communities

… is that we can simply move the whole discussion onto the main blog, without having to restart. On the other han, if we do reallocate the campaign onto Edgeryders, the discussion shifts (we’ll need to decide whether SC4SV is going to be a core activity of ER right from the start or if we develop it in the future. There are advantages (and drawbacks) to both solutions. I’ll ask Nadia what she thinks – we are traveling and more often offline than on– :slight_smile:

Fundraising for Edgeryders projects.

So my two cents are that SC4SV the arm of Edgeryders that fundraises to create conditions for individual Edgeryders projects to happen. That is:

  1. Fundraise for \#LOTE: One of the main things that keeps the community going and thriving is a yearly LOTE meeting where people come to gether, learn new skills and build capacity to do things, are inspired to get inititatives like the unmonastery off the ground, and coordinate individual and community activities for the next year. 
  2. Amplify effort: The second is helping to amplify community members own existing crowdfunding drives.
  3. Matchmaking: The third is to offer a matchmaking service between community members with projects who need help, and community members who have skills and time to help. Or inviting new people to the community when needed. I put this in as third because we will need a team of volunteers to help shape and drive this including modifying parts of this paltform to support this work.
  4. Building a funding re-distribution mechanism in collaboration with e.g. funding bodies (in the long run).

Anyone is welcome to join the community but what you get out it only as good as what you put in. Community members who contribute more to the SC4SV fund, also can count on more help from it when it comes to their own initiatives.

What do you guys think?

Crowdfunding LOTE3

Seems like a good idea to me. @justyna_krol are you thinking of crowdfunding as one of the options? Should we pick a platform and try it out? Do you have any platforms in mind? There are plenty and each seems to be best for the a specific campaign. Which will be the best platform for funding LOTE3?

Europe based or with large part of campaigns based in Europe, so that contributors feel more affiliated with the cause/location? Or it doesn’t really matter? And what matters is what sort of community is created around the platform. Those who are into co-working spaces and participatory projects, probably socent, I guess, will more easily relate to LOTE3.

What do contributors get from Edgeryders?

Should we make a list of possible platforms, unless it is already done, and get started by the end of this week around the next hangout? May be not start the campaign, but atleast post it to the platform of choice?

K, since we first nned to check if there’s enough interest in the community to take the idea any further, I’d suggest doing two things first:

  1. Making a list of things that have to be done (regardless of the platform we choose, if) before we launch the campaign, and then outlining things that will be happening during and after. We could share the list before the next hangout and check if there are people interested in testing it out. So that everybody knows what skills and how much time and effort we would roughly need.

  2. Let’s take a look at the platforms and prepare recomendations (before the next hangout). I am biased towards goteo, as they are the most open source and giving-back-to-the-commons platform. Plus, they allow projects to have not only financial but also other contributions (like time, or in kind).

As for the format of the video, etc. – let’s dig into that if we decide to run with the campaign :slight_smile:

How does that sound to you?

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sounds good

Should we draft it all in a doc?

I started writing down random thoughts regarding CF campaign here

Please, have a look, edit and add stuff.

Maybe for LOTE4 rather than for LOTE3?

Guys my suggestion would be to focus efforts on devising a crowdfunding campaign for LOTE4 rather than for LOTE3.

Maybe one way to do this set up a track at LOTE3 dedicated to learning crowdfunding by doing: ie a track in which we collaboratively build the concept and all communication material including shooting and editing an awsome video while on location in Matera.

And then launch and drive it together after the event… what do you think?

makes sense

It’s true it’s better to make a CF campaign on the spot while working on it in RL/RT. Saves some energy on cooridinating online work too.  So setting up a track for now instead of full blown campaign?

May be even invite ppl from one of CF platforms over?

so a track? :slight_smile:

How do we go about setting up a track for that?

I guess, similar to other tracks: get someone curate the track and hunt for speakers.

Describe it, invite more people to plan, and participate before&during LOTE3.

Ping those who are interested in CF, doing it at the moment or planning to launch one.

I think, I might get it now: tracks&sessions

@justyna_krol As far as I understand, a CF learning by doing/doing by learning session should be added to Track Proposals, so I did: here it is, so we can discuss it as a session of LOTE3 separately from this CF SC4SV discussion.

Then ping @petros_at_freelab who has goteo CF campaign Expedition Freedom at the moment and others who might be interested to get involved/contribute/share insights.

My first impression is this kind of session fits an Upskilling track as described here. Though, CF session might be a one on the Unconf track (track 3).

I hope I get the structure right: session proposed by using “add a track” button on propose a track page should fit one of the 3 tracks in a program.

Do you have anything in mind regarding the structure of the session? I wrote down few things that a session can involve.

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