Case Study 1. Sherland Road Community Garden – A case study of strong community involvement in the success of the campaign

Back in 2012 residents of Sherland Road in Twickenham, designed and built a garden on disused land at 98 Sherland Road they had been gorilla gardening for many years. The new garden further enhanced the space as local heaven for wildlife, as well as bringing the community together to help maintain the space.

In 2018 the Sherland Road Residents Association were looking to regenerate the original hedges around the garden which had reached almost 10ft since 2012. They wanted to lay the hedgerow, which will make it grow thicker and more beneficial to at-risk wildlife such as stag beetles, song thrushes, house sparrows and hedgehogs.  The cost of the project was estimated at around £500 for which the Association decided to run a crowdfunding campaign with SWLEN Crowdfund.

The crowdfund online page was launched in August 2018 and ran for a whole month to September 2018. The funding goal was set at £550 but the association raised total of £739.

How did they manage to hit and exceed the target?

A strong Community Involvement:

Local resident Julie Hill coordinated the project, she met with the SWLEN crowdfund team to decide how the campaign should be run. The Association didn’t have a presence on social media, SWLEN agreed to utilise all its social media channels which included; a Facebook page with ~1000 followers (plus a Facebook group with ~1800 members), a twitter account followed by ~2,500 people a newly launched Instagram account with 200 followers and SWLEN’s newsletter ~500.

However, close to 85% of donors to the campaign were members of the community directly involved and living nearby who were brought in by Julie. We know this by tracking every social media post and newsletter we sent and measuring the traffic and impact/donations (and therefore donations not as a result of this activity).

How did Julie managed to attract the people?

Julie understood the concept of crowdfunding and knew that if the community directly benefitting from the project wouldn’t support it, who else would?

SWLEN always asks the project owners to secure a around 30% of the funding target before pushing the project on social media and other means, Julie quickly reached the 30% and donations continued flowing in.

Julie did a lot of work in talking directly to people, emailing people connected with the Association, she sent out letters to neighbours, she talked with people in the community she thought would have an influence. She asked every single one of these people to donate any amount, but more importantly, to share their crowdfund with others and ask their friends to support it. This effort generated a cascading effect and donations grew fast.

Case Study 2: Save Barnes Hedgehogs. A powerful message that appeal to people’s hearts.

Save Barnes hedgehogs was a project led by Barnes hedgehogs. Michel, the group leader, is concerned with the declining numbers in the hedgehog population realising the problem was loss of habitat and the scarcity of easy routes so they can roam to find food, shelter and to mate. Hedgehogs need 20 to 30 hectares approximately (60 acres) of continuous well-connected habitat, with male hedgehogs travelling 1 to 2 miles a night.

Michele sought a possible solution: Linking gardens across Barnes to provide easy foraging routes for hedgehogs. The project he proposed was to link 30 new gardens in the area through ‘hedgehog highways’. The cost for equipment and work was estimated and so they decided to crowdfund with SWLEN to raise £500. The Campaign ran from 9th May to 8th June 2018 and successfully raised £766

How did they manage to hit and exceed the target?

The strong point of the crowdfund Campaign was the message ‘Save the Barnes Hedgehogs”.

Hedgehogs are vulnerable animals, an endangered species and lovely creatures that people find ‘cute’ (despite their spines) and inspire an urge to be protected. Furthermore, this project was targeted in Barnes allowing local media and other organisations, such as Friends of Barnes Common, to helped spread the message.

The message was clear, ‘hedgehogs need you and only with your help we can help them’. All campaign videos and pictures aimed at showing the vulnerability and beauty of the animal to appeal to people’s hearts: this was a successful strategy. People felt compelled by the message and donated. We sent out ‘thank you’ notes with little happy hedgehogs to all donors.

Case Study 3: The Real Junk Food Project: Local business involvement: How a very innovative idea was welcomed by the community and well supported.

The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP) is a growing movement that aims to reduce the UK’s vast quantities of food waste (~30%). Two local women, Crissy and Clare who were concerned by this issue decided to do their bit to tackle food waste and started a local project: The Real Junk Food Project – Twickenham.

Every Monday for just two hours at the ETNA Community Centre, they run a pop-up cafe using food donated by local outlets and food retailers which was destined to go in the bin. They cook delicious meals and provide it to the public for any amount they wish to pay on a ‘Pay as you feel’ basis.

In order to get food hygiene certifications, equipment and cookware necessary to get the café running, they needed around £1,000, so they launched their crowdfund campaign with SWLEN in June 2018 and closed in August having raised a total of £1195

How did they manage to hit and exceed the target?

The success of this campaign was due to the great reception by the public much of which was generated by local business involvement. Local business interesting in the message “reduce food waste” strongly supported the campaign. Local food outlets such as Harris and Hoole coffee shop in St Margaret’s and Cavan Bakery in Whitton supported this campaign by not only donating food but by publicising it in their premises, retweeting and reposting on Facebook. The ETNA Community Centre also played a role championing the project on social media and their newsletters (not to be confused with their own Community Kitchen crowdfund which was to follow). Even after the crowdfund, the initiative continues to be a phenomenon praised in newspapers such as the Guardian.

Case Study 4: ETNA Community Kitchen – A project backed by the London Mayor – A campaign with Crowdfund London using Spacehive

ETNA has been a well-used and loved community centre operating in Twickenham for the past 30 years. The project of a new ‘community kitchen’ will allow the Centre to be open to more people and be more accessible; enabling the centre to tackle the loneliness facing some members of the community.

The total cost of the new kitchen was estimated at £170k and it was thought £93k could possibly be raised through crowdfunding and grants connected to this. In September 2018 a campaign was launched to raise the amount through Crowdfund London, a GLA/Mayor initiative using the Spacehive on an ‘all or nothing’ or ‘100% Threshold’ basis. SWLEN was commissioned to create and deliver the digital marketing and communications strategy of the campaign. This was a team effort with SWLEN and ETNA using all of their resources, networks and connections, which ranged from groups and individuals who are users of the premises, board of directors and trustees, local partner organisations and even local businesses like Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

The number of pledges increase steadily but it was necessary that at least 25% of the goal amount was reached and a minimum of 200 backers supported the project before it was considered to qualify for Crowdfund London grant, which adds a grant of up to £50k to projects crowdfunding with them that meeting these requirements. ETNA and SWLEN worked tirelessly to promote the campaign to increase donation pledges, reaching a total of 250 backers within a month.

Richmond Good Gym were recruited to deliver flyers around the streets of East Twickenham and St Margaret’s and invitations to the Halloween Feast, an ETNA organised event to support the crowdfund. Local businesses were spoken to face-to-face to get them on board.

Meanwhile SWLEN and ETNA worked hard to get the campaign featured in local newspapers and magazines, local community notice boards, as well as all SWLEN and ETNA social media channels. Finally, with the help of corporate donations and other local funding schemes (Tesco Bags of Help) the crowdfund hit its target!