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  • 26 Mar 2020
    During these testing times, we have seen a significant increase in the number of crowdfunding appeals being set up by charities using our platform. We’ve also seen an incredible response from the general public - with an increase of over 300% in the donations we are processing through the platform. Many charities and community groups are currently facing an increase in demand for their services or a threat to their long-term existence. Setting up a crowdfunding appeal can be a great way to gain financial support and awareness for your great work.  If you set up a crowdfunding appeal please let us know and we’ll add your appeal to our campaign page, which you can see here: https://localgiving.org/campaign/covid-19/ If you aren’t already a Localgiving member, you can sign up here and we will set up a personal fundraising advice call once you are live. We’ve outlined our top 10 tips for running a crowdfunding appeal in response to the challenges faced by coronavirus below. Setting up the campaign 1. Make it specific Be detailed about the costs you need to cover in order to avoid cutting back the services you provide. These should be reflected in your words, the targets and the timescale that you set for your appeal. Provide examples of exactly what a donation could achieve. We are seeing a significant number of high value donations. Use £50, £100 and £250 as examples. Think about a stretched target. If you are successful in reaching your fundraising target, have a larger target in mind so that you can build on your fundraising momentum. 2. Make it emotive  Use a photo or video that shows the work that you do or the people that you support. Use terminology that makes the donor sound like the hero. Make your wording reflect this e.g. 'because of you, the most vulnerable people can stay safely in their homes during this concerning time'. Outline how time-sensitive your need is during this crisis. Pre-launch  3. Identify how you will reach out to your networks  Bring your team together via phone or video conference software, like Zoom, and identify all of the networks who you can promote your appeal to. Your networks may include: current donors, family/friends of service users, supporters of partner organisations, local media, social media supporters, community leaders, peer organisations, and other groups in your local community. Decide what your call to action is for each network (e.g. donate to us, share our appeal with your friends and family etc.) and the channel (e.g. email, phone, social media etc.) via which you will reach out to them. 4. Secure initial donations before your public launch Most people will be more likely to give to an appeal that has already received some support. We find that the tipping point for success is 20% of the way to the overall target.  When you launch your appeal, reach out to your inner circle of supporters and ask them to help you create a solid base of donations which will give you a leg-up on your overall target. Launch 5. Get everyone to launch the campaign together Bring together everyone closely involved in your organisation (e.g. staff, volunteers, trustees, service users etc.) and ask them to all promote the campaign via their social media channels at the same time. 6. Update your website and social media  Don’t forget to add the web address for your appeal to your website, social media and email signature. Why not reach out to any popular websites that your local community uses and ask if they can add it to their website? Building Momentum 7. Review your progress regularly It is important to review your progress. Create a fundraising team and catch up every day. Review what has worked and what hasn’t, identifying what to continue and what to improve. Most importantly - celebrate your successes with your wider team!  Use these reviews to keep people updated on the progress of your appeal as you reach significant milestones (e.g. 50% of the target or 7 days left to donate). 8. Thank donors quickly  Once someone donates they become a key stakeholder in your campaign. Ensure their buy-in by thanking them quickly and guide them to the next level of involvement.  Invite them to follow you on social media for further updates on your appeal progress. Ask them to share your appeal link on their own social media channels. Donor care 9. Turn donors into ambassadors Consider which of your supporters can help you drive momentum by counting down to the deadline and shouting when you get close to the target. Keep them up to date on anything going on behind the scenes and try to make them feel like part of the team - they’ll want to pitch in and champion your cause. 10. Turn donors into long-term supporters  After building up a relationship with these donors through your appeal updates, consider asking them to make a monthly donation to your organisation. The disruptive impact of COVID-19 is likely to affect the economy, your community and the services that you provide for longer than the current period of social distancing in place.  Regular donations will help to secure your organisation’s future and help broaden awareness of your work. We hope that these tips can help you set up and deliver an excellent crowdfunding campaign. Remember, if you set up a crowdfunding appeal please let us know and we’ll add your appeal to our campaign page, which you can see here: https://localgiving.org/campaign/covid-19/ If you aren’t already a Localgiving member, you can sign up here and we will set up a personal fundraising advice call once you are live. Good luck with your fundraising!
    5867 Posted by Chris Breeze
Coronavirus 3,524 views May 20, 2020
COVID-19 response spotlight - Square Food Foundation

#Square Meals

Square Food Foundation is a cookery school and community kitchen in Bristol that supports adults and children across the city to access, cook, and eat good food. In their eyes, cooking is a vehicle for personal development which helps build resilience - it addresses challenges people face which stem from poverty, disability, or other circumstances beyond their control. The Foundation operates both as a Community Interest Company and as a Charity – offering paid cooking masterclasses and corporate workshops to subsidise their work with schools and community groups. They also apply to various trusts and foundations to secure grant funding for both core costs and specific projects.

Before the impacts of COVID-19 began to be felt, Square Food Foundation was already working with children and families from local school Oasis Academy Connaught, where the majority of children are eligible for free school meals. The programme of weekly family workshops, teacher training, whole class cooking sessions, and an after-school cooking club aimed to improve health, provide skills, and build community resilience from the bottom up.  Not only did lockdown mean that all of Square Food’s services were suspended indefinitely, but associated school closures left stranded those families that usually rely on free school meals to feed their children. 

Faced with an increased demand for access to healthy food, the Foundation’s management team sat down and worked out how they could adapt their services to serve their community.  Taking on furloughed chefs as volunteers, they stocked their kitchen with two rotating teams of professionals, capable of producing over 270 meals a day, distributed in partnership with Oasis Academy Connaught, to 54 local families. They also devised a system of DIY meal kits and online cook-along videos to provide families with an extra meal and a fun activity to bring them together at the weekend, engaging groups who may otherwise have been reluctant to ask for help.

How to plan an appeal

Claire AllenSquare Food’s fundraising and communications manager, began by setting up The #SquareMeals Appeal on Localgiving, and documented the work of their staff and volunteers on social media and in their email newsletter.

“Until recently, our online fundraising presence has been minimal - we’ve used Localgiving more as a payment platform than as a fundraising tool. To maximise support for our #SquareMeals appeal, we knew we had to spread the word as widely as possible - setting up a page on Localgiving that was separate from our broader organisation page, and that we could add images to has helped position the appeal as its own project - and encouraged people to support.”

At the beginning of this process, Claire got in touch with the Localgiving Help Desk team to find out whether she could leverage the contact details which past donors on the platform had consented to share with them. The Help Desk team walked her through the process of configuring and downloading a marketing report from within the Foundation’s account which she then used to expand the reach of her newsletter.

“Having easy access to real people has been so valuable. Our workload is busier than ever right now and the super-quick turnaround, personal response and considered advice from Localgiving’s Help Desk team has made a real difference.”

Their message was simple – for as long as they could, the Square Food team would be working flat-out to help their community access the food they needed – and they made it as easy as possible for potential donors to support them in their work by directing them to their Localgiving page. They received widespread local news coverage after sending out press releases to journalists and were featured in the Bristol Evening Post, Bristol 24/7, and on BBC News. Donors on Localgiving are directly encouraged to share the details of the causes they support with their own networks via a social media ‘Share’ button built into the donation process, further increasing the online reach of any organisation on the platform.

Results

Since launching their appeal on March 20th, Square Food Foundation has raised over £21,770 on Localgiving from over 590 donors, supplemented by £3475 worth of Gift Aid. That figure represents a 15x increase on total donations received in 2019, when their organisation raised just over £1600 on Localgiving. Square Food raises in the region of £4000 offline from their paid masterclasses and workshops on a yearly basis – a revenue stream which has been put on hold for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. Thanks to their appeal's success, they have attracted new supporters by direct debit who will be contributing over £150 each month on an ongoing basis. Further to that, they received support from their local network – The Better Food Company raised close to £1200 on the Foundation’s behalf and provided an additional £1000 of match funding.

Localgiving has made it as easy as possible for people to support our #SquareMeals mission - and this is borne out by the incredible number of donations we’ve received from our supporters.”  

All of this culminated in the high point of their campaign – a single supporter approached Square Food Foundation after having heard about their work from a friend who had donated to their online appeal. They offered to match the money raised during their campaign up to a maximum of £10,000 to help expand the Foundation’s services more widely across Bristol.

The offer of match-funding came out of nowhere and really blew us away. It’s the first time we’ve received this level of support and it felt like an important milestone for Square Food Foundation.” 

What’s next for Square Food Foundation?

Whilst the future of many organisations is uncertain, they intend to maintain their current rate of meal production to help families in need through to September, by which time resumption of free school meals is expected. They want to build new partnerships with schools in Bristol, modelled on their ongoing relationship with Oasis Academy Connaught – these organisations form a vital link with the communities the Foundation aims to help.

What advice would the team at Square Food Foundation offer to other organisations hoping to raise funds online?

“We kept our message simple, made our work easy to understand, and kept our audience updated with regular, engaging communications. We knew they were rooting for us and we wanted to say thank you by providing them with pictures, videos and daily updates so they could see for themselves the impact of their support.” 

There you have it – a recipe for success.

 

You can find out more about Square Food's work here or donate to the #SquareMeals Appeal on Localgiving