Local fundraising example:
Crowdfunding during COVID-19
Net fin result (€)
|Organisation||Society For Motivational Training and Action (SMTA)|
|Funding needed for||Improvement of a primary school in the Himalayas|
|Period of action||May 2018 - ongoing|
|In-kind donations raised|
|Types of donations||Financial|
|Types of donors||Visitors of milaap.org|
SummaryRecent infrastructure development in the Himalayas (like roads) have promoted migration to the plains, because “good” and accessible education continues to elude many families in the mountains. An adult member of the family often shifts to the nearest town in the plains (100+ km away) escorting the eldest child, who has graduated from class eight in the village. In a few years’ time, the rest of the family with other children in tow, follows, leaving behind the fields and the cottage derelict. It is strongly suspected that if SMTA were to shut down its primary school in the region, 50-100 families would be forced to look elsewhere for education of their wards, over the next 2-3 years. Such migrations have impoverished both the natural and human ecosystems in the Himalayas. To counter this, SMTA decided to strengthen their school and started a crowdfunding campaign that will last for 5 years and was successfully continued during the COVID pandemic when no other fundraising opportunity existed.
Tips and lessons learned
1. Learning of online tools and skills is important, also for small agencies.
2. Thanking donors regularly on social media is very helpful.
3. Individualised notes are better than a mass email.
4. Encouraging donors for a personal visit – when possible – is quite meaningful.
5. Regular updates / good photographs or short videos are useful.
6. Small funds can snowball into substantial funds.
Review by Wilde Ganzen Foundation
This is a great example to show what perseverance can do. SMTA slowly but surely built a fundraising appeal on a crowdfunding platform and successfully continued their campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you care to have a look at their appeal for inspiration, here is where you can find it: https://milaap.org/fundraisers/support-smta-school?utm_source=shorturl.
And do have a look at the 'Tips and lessons learned'. They are so encouraging.
Short description of the organisation the funds were raised for
Society For Motivational Training and Action (SMTA) was registered as a voluntary agency in 1986. It works as a grassroots implementing agency for primary education, watershed development and community development. SMTA Niketan is the only non-profit primary school and community center serving about fifty small Himalayan villages, between Chakrata and Lakhamandal, since 1988, a stretch of about 50 km in the high mountains of District Dehradun.
Short description of the project or programme the funds were raised for
Many children have to walk long dangerous trails to reach a good school in the Himalayas. But they do it, because good education is valued more than anything - even personal safety, in these remote communities. SMTA Niketan wants to expand and deepen the ongoing education in its primary school. We wish to offer the students the quality education they expect, demand and deserve. The SMTA team wants to make the school financially independent, so it can run without having to rely on unreliable funds left over from other projects that may come in. Hence, we are looking for a five year support to diversify and enrich school’s ongoing operations; we plan to hire two more teachers, introduce a multimedia projector in the classroom, computer education, environmental science, a mindfulness programme and other extra academic activities like exposure trips for the students and finally, we would like to start a residential facility for the students who come from distant villages.
Summary of fundraising action
Like many other Indian agencies, SMTA had long been suffering from shortage of funds. CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) funds are there in theory but not easy to tap into. With COVID, things became more difficult: raising funds without visiting donors or CSR officers was not easy. Because of COVID, staff could not move into the field and implement various programmes or do feasibility studies for new ideas. We had to close down our school and shift over to online education through WhatsApp, even though connectivity is a big issue in the mountains. I think the biggest challenge at this time was a sense of loneliness. It seemed we were all alone in a big world full of uncertainties. All this had financial implications too. So far we had used mostly phone and emails to communicate with our community and the donors. Crowdfunding always seemed a fantastic idea - too good to be true. I was in touch with Smile Foundation, Change the Game Academy partner in India. We decided to start a crowdfunding campaign. Milaap.org is a popular site and we began with building an appeal on it. We faced a challenge: how could we win readers’ trust in a short span of a few minutes online? SMTA after all is a small organisation. We don’t have a huge media presence. We researched and quoted references to our work in the public domain and used these to build up our campaign. The second challenge was to find a good relevant video, to convey the difficulties students face to earn good education. Children travel such great distances to come to our schools that they deserve a good education. We did not have any such photograph or video. Finally we found a short BBC video, explaining the difficulties of schooling in the Himalayas: https://youtu.be/Xpq5kBcSYCI
Eventually our campaign read like a good cohesive and convincing appeal.
|Cost/benefit||National currency (INR)||Euro|
|Total amount raised||404,270||4,630|
|(-) Total amount invested||0||0|
|Net amount raised||404,270||4,630|
Description of preparatory work
Milaap.org is a popular site and we began with building an appeal on it.
We faced a challenge: how could we win readers’ trust in a short span of only a few minutes online? SMTA after all is a small organisation. We don’t have a huge media presence. We researched and quoted references to our work in the public domain and used these to build up our campaign.
The second challenge was to find a good relevant video, to convey the difficulties students face to earn good education. We did not have it ourselves. Finally we found a short BBC video, explaining the difficulties of schooling in the Himalayas. Eventually our campaign read like a good cohesive and convincing appeal.
Description of implementation
After the launch of the appeal, we faced another challenge: to provide regular interesting updates to the donors - because the school and our main office are separated by eighty kilometers.
Some donors donated more than once. Some even visited the school before the epidemic.
Follow up: Donor appreciation and acknowledgement
We continued thanking donors on and off Facebook.
Plans to repeat the action
The campaign is ongoing and will take 5 years to complete.