Creating a project

One of the main reasons donors prefer supporting through crowdfunding rather than traditional fundraising approaches is that they can see exactly where their money is going. Your project will need to have a well-defined proposal, a funding target and a completion date. Projects need to be submitted through the Chancellor’s Fund, if successful then we will work with you to set up your project on our platform.

What title should I give my project?

It’s the first thing someone will see about your project. Make it powerful, short and snappy, try to sum up your project. You want it to grab attention.

What should I include in my project?

The Board will firstly review your project to see if it will work well on crowdfunding. After that donors will need to be able to judge whether they think your project is feasible. To showcase your project to both audiences, you’ll need to tell them:

  • Who are you and your team?
  • What are you trying to do?
  • How are you going to do it?
  • How will the funds be used?
  • What have you achieved already with regard to this project?

You will need to break down the cost of the project, outlining funds that might have already been secured. Always make sure the total cost of the project adds up, if it doesn’t then you will need to add an explanation of why.

You will need to also explain how the funds will be spent, what will they allow you to do and over what period will the funds be used.

When will my project go public?

Our Chancellor’s Fund board will meet twice a year, April and October, at this time they will select projects for crowdfunding. We will aim to select 4 projects every time, if successful we will work with you to develop your page and work out the further details. As long as the Board approves, and your project meets our guidelines we'll make it available to the public.

The Crowdfunding Handbook

Funding a project

The Spark Funder team will work with you to set a minimum amount needed for your project to go ahead. All projects promoted will be expected to run therefore we will always ensure you have the support needed to run your project.

What do I need to consider?

Rewards

Donations made to your project might be eligible for a reward. We will discuss this with you before your project goes live. The reward will be different depending on how much a donor donates. All rewards will be small with low or little cost, for example a thank you postcard or a social media post.

Postage and Packaging

We will send your rewards from our office and cover the postage and packaging fee.

Fees

We will cover all fees associated with the site, therefore you will get the full value of your gift.

Timescale

Projects on Spark Funder can last from 2 weeks to 3 months, maybe even longer. A longer project doesn’t necessarily mean more funding, you need to think about how much you are trying to raise, when the project is due to take place and what sort of activity you are going to be doing. We will help you sort out what suits your project best.

What do I need to consider?

Funding target

The larger your funding target the longer you might need to go on the site but we will discuss this with you, that's what we are here for!

Receiving the funds

We will discuss receiving funds on a project by project basis as you may wish to receive them at the end of funding or throughout so we will discuss what works best for your project.

Urgency

A shorter project can convey a sense of urgency to donors. That's why we've found that projects up to a month in length tend to be more successful. A shorter project focuses your promotional efforts and shows confidence in your project.

Video

One of the best ways to increase your chances of achieving a successfully funded project is to make a video. Videos allow donors, alumni, family and friends to gain more of an idea of who you are and what you're doing. It builds trust between you and them, and this is essential if they are going to donate. They need to have a feeling that you're genuine and you intend to deliver your project.

What makes a good video?

A good video is you! At its simplest, a good video can just be you speaking into a camera. The basic idea is to give people an idea of who you are, what you're doing and why they should care about your project. Oh, and be yourself!

A good example: Django Pi

A great example: FOURH4ND Does Freshers' Week

Key tips

  • Camera Many computers come with integrated cameras. These are fine. You may also consider using an external digital camera. DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras give awesome results.
  • Sound Reduce background noise as much as possible!
  • Light Lots! Record in the day and use extra lighting.
  • Editing Windows Movie Maker (PC) and iMovie (Mac) are great.

Vimeo has great advice!

Video 101: Choosing a Camera from Vimeo's Video School

Video 101: Shooting Basics from Vimeo's Video School

Video 101: Editing Basics from Vimeo's Video School

What types of video can I use?

Spark Funder accepts Vimeo and YouTube videos.

How large can my video's file size be?

Vimeo's basic account has a limit of 500MB per file and 5GB for premium accounts. YouTube has a limit of 2GB.

Can I use music on my video?

Yes, but only if you have permission to do so from its owner! Alternatively you can use any music from http://freemusicarchive.org/ with artist permission.

Rewards

Rewards are what you give donors in return for their support. Rewards give an added incentive for people to sponsor your project and should match the appropriate donation level. The better your rewards, the more likely you are to achieve your funding target. Sometimes rewards are so popular that donors give multiple gifts to secure different sorts of rewards.

What makes a good reward?

A good reward is something which you yourself would want. Put yourself in the shoes of a donor. What would be the most unique and appealing thing you or your group could provide? Rewards should always have connection to your project. The most common rewards we've found fall into three categories:

  • Products does your project or idea lead to the production of anything? CDs, DVDs, prints, T-shirts or badges? Place these at a donation level that matches their street value.
  • Mementos signed photos of your project, thanks in the credits, anything meaningful!
  • Experiences tickets to the concert or match, dinner at your college. Sponsors want to connect with you!

Ask yourself, would you want this and if the answers yes then its probably a great reward!

Download Rewards Guide

How can I promote my project?

Your networks

Start by sending a friendly, personal, email to family and friends. Include a link to your project! Once they have donated your project begins to look more attractive to others. This is a good time to get posting about your project on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. College, societies or department newsletters are also a great place to raise awareness. You shouldn't overwhelm your networks with group messages, but gentle reminders throughout the course of your project will be beneficial. Remind them of your deadline. However, nothing beats a personal touch when asking for sponsorship!

Your society's members networks

If you are creating a society, club, team or department project you have many more networks to approach. Get your members to contact their friends and family as well!

Alumni networks

Look on Facebook or LinkedIn for former students and staff of your school, department, course, club or society. Often alumni will lie dormant on these pages until reactivated by something like a sponsorship proposal. University and college forums on Linkedin are also a good place to post up your projects and get a discussion going. The more people you have talking about your project, the better.

Development and Alumni Office

We will be contacting alumni and promoting Spark Funder on our alumni channels and social media regarding the projects featured on the platform. We will have full responsibility of this and will discuss this with you in detail before your project goes live.

The press

Use student newsletters and radio stations to get the word out. Media attention will help you reach out to people outside your immediate networks.

The real world

Get out there! Posters, flyers and meetings can be a good way to get the word out... not everyone lives in cyber-world!

Don't spam!

Don't overdo it. This won't reflect well on your project, or your university, college, school or society. Also, please don’t use another project to promote yours, that’s not cool!

Download Promotion Guide

Updates

Updates are a way of interacting with donors. They breathe life into your project and are essential to the sponsorship process. It is also a way to engage new potential donors. Regular updates show anyone viewing your project that you are committed to it and that there is someone with a personality behind it. If they like what they see they are more likely to tell their friends about you.

What kind of updates should I provide?

Tweets

Is your project going well? Short messages let donors know that your project is progressing well and their contribution is being used productively!

Developments

Small milestones show that the project is making progress and will encourage new donors to support!

Achievements

Share reviews, press releases, photos and videos! Sponsors love to see how their donations contributed to the success of your project.

Delivering Rewards

Your project was successful!

We will work with you to deliver the rewards as promised. You will be responsible for any rewards that have been promised as social media posts.

Donors' Info

As the rewards come from the Development and Alumni Office at the University of Glasgow you will not need to know the names or delivery addresses of any of your donors, we will give you their names, so you can write them notes where needed.

Updates

You can update the site to say rewards are on the way so donors can look out for them. Ask them to let you know that it has arrived safely. And please, don't forget to celebrate!

The Crowdfunding Handbook