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21 June 2013 – minutes

Fundraising meeting

 Wednesday 21 June

10.00-12.00
Royal Festival Hall, Southbank London
Attending: SP, JR, LS, PS, AS and TH and PS via Skype

Fundraising goal

Could we give out £100,000 per round? This would mean raising £300,000 to distribute and perhaps another £30,000 for admin.

A more realistic goal in the short-term would be £50,000 per round; £150,000 per year plus £30,000 admin. Total: £180,000.

We need to break this down into what we might expect to raise from foundations, through small regular donations, larger one-off donations and other means.

Raising funds from other foundations

Can we raise funds from other foundations? Funds like Global Greengrants Fund, Rosa Fund for Women and Red Umbrella Fund receive funds from foundations such as Tudor Trust, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and Reform Trust and Open Society Foundation.

Funding would be for infrastructure to support our mission to change the funding model, such as admin costs, website etc. We would need to ascertain whether funds could support us charitably or not. Seems unlikely.

  • PS to look into this.

Raising funds from individuals

We should aim to get as many people as possible to give by monthly donation. Currently people can do this through our website with GoCardLess, which is a direct debit system. GoCardLess take a % fee for admin. People can also set up a standing order if a paper-based option is needed (at events etc). Should we put the bank details on our website so people can set up payments via internet banking etc?

We need to widen who hears about us. We should use social media, including having a direct link to making donations on Facebook. Can we get an article in the Guardian?

What do donors get? How can we value people who give donations? We should send monthly updates with thanks for their contribution. Perhaps once a year a personalised note? We should put the names of all the donors on our website to recognise their contribution, whether given large or small amounts. There should always be an anonymous option. We could ask donor members, and others to do short interviews which we can publicise via podcasts etc. Can be anonymous.

The main ‘selling point’ of being a donor is being part of a community. People need to identify with that community. Will be important to get people together through events. Perhaps the final funding meeting should also include a social event. We should also ask grantees and other allies to tell us about their events.

Should there be a separation between members and donors? Being a member is more engaging. But do people just want to give and not be members? What roles are on offer?

We need to ask grantees to tell others they were given funds by Edge to help spread the word. Should also ask them to tell us what they did with the money. Just a half page we can share to encourage people to give.

We should be honest and say that we need money, what is most useful to us etc, without playing into the usual fundraising games (rewards, guilt, manipulation etc). People can get disgruntled if they feel cheated. We should ask everyone to try to reach 20 people to ask them to give.

Crowdfunding would be good to explore. Whilst usually it doesn’t involve asking people to give monthly, it can provide a way of growing supporter list to ask to sign up for regular donations. PS has been involved in crowdfunding for other projects.

  • TH will aim to get 15-20 people signed up to regular donations as trial.
  • JR will look at crowdfunding.
  • SP to send Standing Order form to team
  • SP to check with bank about putting details on the website
  • ? listing members/ donors, podcasts?

Different model need different language/ approach to fundraising

We’re still using the ‘bankers’ model in terms of language – ‘donors’, ‘beneficiaries’ etc. Can we use different language? Something more progressive, away from the old school language. Perhaps something based on the growing food, i.e. providing nourishment, like roots (donors) and fruits (grantees). Could donors be ‘altruists’? Terminology sets certain mindsets. What behaviour does the usual fundraising language trigger? Self-interest? It would be good to look at Common Cause, who look at values and behaviour within different ways of messaging.

How can we be different to the capitalist model? Accumulating capital and giving it out, thus creating competition and power dynamics. Can we share power with grantees further by asking them to suggest other grantees (as well as encouraging them to become members)? Helping access resources in other ways? Can the mentoring role, which was very much focused on helping groups provide information in the first round, be expanded to include supporting groups in other ways, such as helping them apply elsewhere?

  • LS will explore use of language further (after 8 July). Will reach out to others about it.

‘Celebrity’ endorsement

Should we ask well known activists to endorse us? Can be powerful, but there is always the risk that they might say or do something that reflects badly on us in future. Often they just give their name and no money or involvement. Perhaps better just to ask people with a big following to help promote us, such as Owen Jones or Paul Mason.

  • ?? Follow this up?

Outreach

We recently took out a quarter page ad in New Internationalist, which was printed on the inside front cover. Can we look to see if there are any increases in website traffic? Advertising can help to build our profile but not always the most cost effective way of doing so. Would hope to cover costs at least. This is a good test to see how effective.

Difficult to get editorial because we don’t have a story. The groups we fund and what they do with the money is more newsworthy. What did Edge funding make happen? If we know in advance what groups have planned, in terms of events we’ve funded etc, we can help publicise it. We could particularly try to keep tabs on projects that have a tangible result, and try to press release that. We need to get word out about successful projects to attract more donations.

We need a relationship with groups to be able to keep in touch and know what’s happening. In the corporate world this would be a ‘relationship management’ role. Can this also be included as an extension of the mentoring role? Start off a process where we get to know groups better, including a sit-down introductory meeting. It should be about more than just giving them money, they should become part of our community. Do members have time to build up and maintain these kinds of relationships?

For any outreach we need to be clearer how we’re different. Be edgier – clear that we want alternative to Thatcherism and the right-wing. Ask people How much would you give to get things done differently?

  • ‘Mentor’ role to be discussed more fully at next members meeting.

Events

Can we take part in events to help raise our profile? For example, Raise Your Banners in Bradford, next one planned for May 2014. We could have stalls at festivals or give our fliers. JR is going to Glastonbury and will be seeing Billy Bragg. Could take leaflets. PS is also going to several festivals.

We should also organise our own meetings around the country, this would help get new members outside of London. The events could be organised around the idea of creative, alternative forms of fundraising and accessing resources, such as meeting spaces. There are plenty of examples of groups that have depended on grant money or local council contracts who found that this restricted them and they were better off without it, who are now turning to more innovative ways of getting what they need. If we could get different groups together to talk about what they need and what they can offer others, as well as sharing ideas, we could help groups make links whilst also helping solve some resource/ fundraising issues. This would also help foster a co-operative rather than competitive approach. We can also tie this into local media, radio stations etc.

Could we collect different ideas from around the country and compile this into a guide for alternative fundraising strategies? The book could be used to raise funds or made available for free to groups. This kind of project might be well suited to a crowdfund appeal to cover costs of the meetings and printing some copies.

The Funding Network tried to start up a branch in the North West, there may still be individuals in that area interesting in trying something again – perhaps which doesn’t involve a £50 minimum donation.

  • SP to sort A6 leaflets for Glastonbury and other festivals
  • SP to explore idea of regional events
  • JR and PS to distribute leaflets at upcoming festivals.

Earning funds

Are there ways to can build raising funds into our outreach work? For example, some bands give groups the opportunity to speak, give out leaflets or even run the cloakroom (and keep the fees). Could we offer meeting space cheaply?

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