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25 October 2013 – Fundraising WG minutes

Fundraising Working Group minutes

Timing urgency
Can we have a process where we raise the funds we need in advance of a round, to create a sense of urgency? For example, we set a cautiously optimistic target before opening an application round and run a crowdfund to raise it? Having more donors will democratise our funding and help more people to feel part of Edge. People often respond better to appeals if they can see a target amount and their money going towards it. Hopefully we will also have monthly donors so that we don’t have the full £40,000 to raise each time.

Crowdfunding/ Monthly donors
Having monthly donors is key. Crowdfunding is not for every group as it is only one-off donations and is very project based, tends to work best for tangible projects that the donors can benefit from in some way. CharitySub is an example of how monthly donors can be kept engaged in a project, but is probably a bit to sophisticated for us at the moment.

We could use the principle behind crowdfunding for a monthly donor appeal. On the website we can set up a page which shows the number of monthly donors we have (and possibly also the total that comes in every month from monthly donors) and set a target of 50 donors by the end of the year. We could call these supporters plEdgers – since they are pledging to support Edge monthly over the long-term. This page will be updated as new people sign up, which could possibly be done automatically using the GoCardLess data if we can find someone with the technical expertise. During the last Facilitating Group meeting it was agreed that Working Groups should be working on plans to present at a review meeting after this round, however, Working Groups should also be able to use their initiative before then so long as it is nothing potentially controversial – so it should be fine to go ahead with this.

  • Sophie will look into setting up a web page and will write note to Facilitating Group.

We will need to write a special newsletter for monthly donors. This could start with a note to ask them why they give to Edge, how they came across us and if they have any ideas for how we can reach new monthly donors.

  • Tanya has offered to write message for existing donors.

Based on the response from existing donors, and our own thoughts about the reasons why people should support Edge, we need to write something compelling to convince people to sign up to monthly donations. We have something on our website at the moment, but it needs some work! Patrick also has some thoughts to share. We should use quotes from donors, applicants and members as well as any videos about the groups we’ve funded to support our case for people giving to Edge.

  • Amanda has offered to look over and edit the text we have at the moment to encourage people to give (might want to hold off until we have responses from existing donors).

We should also plan an annual event where donors can meet with members and grantees, perhaps similar to the launch parties.

High profile support
We should try to contact the likes of John McDonnell (Peter knows), Paul Mason (Amanda has links), Francesca Martinez (linked to Edge grantee WOW Petition) and Russell Brand to help raise our profile – particularly during the time we are recruiting monthly donors – just to mention us on social media or during talks etc. We would not want to have a patron/ celebrity endorsement system.

Large donations
Reaching people with larger amounts to give is probably down to us generally raising our profile through media etc as well as making the most of our connections with the Network for Social Change. The Network have had success with Guardian articles and Woman’s Hour interview, they try to get media coverage every couple of years but still only have 150 members, so it’s a slow process. Media for Edge will be for the Comms team, although Amanda has contacts with Red Pepper so will ask them about publishing an Edge article.

Would the Network be willing to receive a list of Edge grantees each round? There could be the potential for individuals to sponsor some of the groups to give them more access to funds, but also help spread the word about Edge. We’d need to check with grantees too since they may not want to be funded by rich individuals.

  • Amanda will check if Network for Social Change might be willing to accept list of Edge grantees.

Funds from other trusts
We have an application written for Joseph Rowntree ready to go, may need an update following recent meetings. The application is for core costs, including holding events.

Some members may have concerns about us seeking trust funding because it may give some funders opportunity to exert control over what you’re doing and there is also the issue of having the time and energy to provide the necessary reports. We should check if ok for us to pursue trust funding, but it shouldn’t be necessary for us to get member agreement for every bid.


Could we crowd source a book about ways of sustaining organisations that don’t rely on grant funding, with some political analysis/ critique of philanthropy? Perhaps as follow up to the book The Revolution Will Not be Funded and would involve real life examples.

Airing funder bad behaviour

Can we provide a forum for fundraisers to air grievances about other funders and support each other? Often you cannot raise an issue with a funder as it could threaten future funding. Also, funders seldom ask for feedback. It could be a great way of raising the issue of how funders abuse their power and could encourage them to change. Amanda recently contacted a funder about how they treated an applicant and they have agreed to meet with her… There are lots of examples of funder bad behaviour that should be challenged! (Of course, we should continue to seek feedback and address criticisms of Edge too).

Last bits…

Campaign Lab are running a programme for economic justice campaigners. They are thinking about running something similar for funders. Could they perhaps be persuaded to run a training programme for individuals who want to find out more about how they can give money to create change? Resource Generation do this. Also, Fund for Social Movements in Germany do it as a way to reach new donors.

CrowdfundingUK have offered us free training on crowdfunding – for us or our groups.

Tanya and Sophie still in conversation about running a fundraising skillshare with Becca from Corporate Watch.

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