Harnessing the power of crowdfunding

InvestMySchool CEO Chris Rose talks to the March edition of Independent Education Today about how to harness the power of crowdfunding for your fundraising appeal. He talks schools through the crowdfunding process and the services InvestMySchool offer including arranging peer to peer loans and online fundraising appeals.

When fundraising is a burden, InvestMySchool can provide an online platform and team to manage your campaign, says chief executive officer Chris Rose.

Crowdfunding has leapt into the public consciousness as an innovative way to raise funds quickly for a major project. Wholescale funding of projects including films, musical tours and, sadly, even rescue attempts have hit the headlines while the concept itself has quietly and successfully filtered into many sectors including education.

As we all know, a first-class education and outstanding pastoral care are necessarily a given at any independent school and maintaining these standards comes at a cost.

Increasingly, independent schools not only struggle to invest in the state-of-art facilities parents expect but also struggle to keep realistic track of ongoing maintenance and improvements.

Crowdfunding with InvestMySchool – a specialist crowdfunder for independent schools – can provide an answer as it takes the fundraising burden from your school by providing a separate dedicated online platform and team to manage your campaign.

Through this platform, we enable independent schools to raise much-needed funds for one-off or ongoing campaigns. We are completely unique because we have been authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority not just to harness the power of crowdfunding through accepting donations but also through loans from anyone.

The basic concept of crowdfunding is that a fundraiser sets up an appeal with a realistic financial target and then cultivates and grows a crowd of supporters online. 

“Independent schools are all individuals and we treat them as such, creating a bespoke campaign incorporating one, either or both methods of fundraising, as appropriate to each school”

Members of this crowd are asked to contribute an amount of money to the campaign and then share the message, encouraging others to do the same. 

At a school, this effect can be achieved by planning and launching an appeal to key stakeholders including children, parents, grandparents, staff, governors and alumni, and asking them to contribute and share the fundraising message.

Starting with your core group or ‘crowd’ of supporters and encouraging them to contribute and share, the ripple effect of the online sharing grows that crowd to the wider school community and beyond.

InvestMySchool can also facilitate a peer-to-peer loan on your behalf, simplifying the process by cutting out the bank and setting attractive rates for potential lenders. Independent schools are all individuals and we treat them as such, creating a bespoke campaign incorporating one, either or both methods of fundraising, as appropriate to each school. 

Each school can set the terms of its fundraising campaign and full details are provided on a dedicated campaign webpage – including whether the school is seeking to raise its funds through loans or donations or a combination of both.

We charge a competitive 3% marketing fee when you choose to accept our funds, whether loans or donations. This is all inclusive with no additional bank or legal charges.

We also offer a unique full-service model for a 5% inclusive fee where our specialist consultants provide advice and templates on how to market your campaign every step of the way from inception and pre-launch to launch, ongoing fundraising and successful closure. No other fundraising platform offers this service.

Registering for your fundraising account is simple and free. All we need to know initially is what you would like to raise funds for and how much you would like to raise. You also need to let us know whether you want to accept loans, donations or both from your school’s community.

Marketing your funding request to your ‘crowd’ will be through a dedicated webpage with a unique URL, social media buttons and a bespoke leaflet to print and distribute. Full service will also give you access to expert support throughout our appeal.

When it comes to campaign closure, your funds – including gift aid on qualifying donations – will come directly to your bank account. It really is that simple.