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Brendan has a thing for #digital & #social #change. He blogs and tweets about #charity, #politics, #fitness, #music & #london #life.

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The Importance of Projectification

When I first spoke to my boss about crowdfunding, I was merely spitballing ideas. Perhaps other charity managers will know the conversation well, as it goes on forever, and seemingly in circles. “How can we bring in more money, without spending loads more in the first place?”

I had seen one of my favourite online comics, Matt Inman (@Oatmeal) successfully crowdfund an exciting new boardgame (Exploding Kittens), and he’d done so to such an intense degree, it was dubbed the most successful Kickstarter campaign of all time raising $8.8million when it’s original goal was only $10k. 

There had to be a way to do this for the Foundation! With the greatest respect to Mr.Inman, his card game isn’t going to ease the suffering of people who have been diagnosed with a rare genetic condition, and The Neuro Foundation’s work just might.

Though, if he can hit target in 8 minutes, I suspect he can sleep easy. And his game is super fun.

In terms of a successful crowdfunding opportunity, what Mr.Inman had that the Foundation didn’t was easily identifiable; he had a project.

How could we reduce the overarching goal of the charity “to help people with Neurofibromatosis find solutions appropriate to themselves” into a short term goal? It was then we began to fearlessly fathom that we shouldn’t aim for $10,000. We needed to aim for more than $20k. 

This is actually one of the most significant mindsets that small charities and businesses need to overcome. Everything can be made into a project, even those complex half-funded salaries can be accounted for in over arching project goals. You just need to be willing to set yourself high standards and ambitious goals.

Me: How much do we need to raise to fund a nurse for a year?

Boss: £20,000 

Me: Holy hell! This is going to be serious. 

But that idea of asking our supporters to fund a £20,000 nurse, one that might not even be located near them quickly began to sound more and more viable. 

Even though we were asking for a lot of money, more money even than Mr.Oatmeal’s first target goal, we knew that some things, people are willing to pay for. 

The lesson I learnt from all this is to be ambitious with your crowdfunding projects, and going forward I will be ‘projectifying’ all of our main charitable activities and services wherever possible. This won’t always be easy, salaries in particular, are tricky to fund in a project. However the #OneMoreNurse campaign is proof that it is possible. The real question is what project is too ambitious? How far can we go?

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