Creating a project
When you publish your idea, we call it a project. For your idea to become a project, you must have a clear goal and be able to explain how you will spend the funds you raise. This has to be related to achieving that goal and making the first steps towards realizing your ideas as a product (sorry, pizza deliveries don’t count!). The feedback and level of support you receive will be an early sign of whether people want your product to exist.
One of the main reasons sponsors prefer crowdfunding to traditional fund-raising drives is that they get to see exactly where their money is going. A project is your idea, but with a well-defined proposal, funding target and completion date.
Check for other similar ideas
We want to encourage a wide range of ideas but if your idea is too similar to an existing idea it may not be accepted. The first thing you should do is take a look at the ideas which other people have submitted and try to make sure that your idea is unique.
Expressing your idea
We recommend you begin by writing a clear and concise summary of your idea as a first step. This will help you plan your video and will also help with writing the description that will accompany the idea.
Preparing your video
We suggest you prepare a short video to 'pitch' your idea. Remember to explain, not only what your idea is all about, but also the benefits it would deliver. 2-5 minutes is a good length to aim for when preparing your video. Once you have created your video please upload it onto YouTube or Vimeo.
If you want to look at videos that people have submitted in previous competition please see https://elevator.jisc.ac.uk/e/student-ideas-2016/ideas.
What title should I give my project?
Make it simple and specific. Remember - it's a title, not a description. It needs to grab attention, but should also include your club or society name/initials.
What should I include in my project?
Write a full description including details of the idea and the benefits it would deliver. You will want to keep this description brief and very clear. 300-500 words is generally a good length for these descriptions. You may want to consider the following headings when writing your description: • Who the idea will benefit and how • How are you going to do it? • How will the funds be used? • What have you achieved already with regard to this project? • Who are you and the other Creators on your team?
If you are after sponsorship to cover the general costs of your project, think about how you could break this down for potential Sponsors. How will you spend the funds? What will they allow you to do? Over what period will the funds be used?
When will my project go public?
Once you've created your project you can submit it to us. If it meets all of our guidelines we'll make it available to the public. But please note that you can't edit your project after submitting it. However, you will be able to add updates.The Crowdfunding Handbook
Funding a project
There are two opportunities to fund your project using the student ideas competition.
First: Project ideas achieving at least 200 supporters will also be shortlisted for a chance to be one of 15 teams who receive a £2000 grant and participate in a 5-day design sprint to help you develop you project idea.
The competition uses supporters as a measure of interest in your project idea. Unlike crowdfunding supports do not need to pledge money but just indicate they like your idea. Project ideas that achieve a minimum of 200 supporters will be shortlisted. Around 15 projects will be selected by a panel of experts.
Second. All project ideas submitted will be able to crowdsource funding and receive that funding if they reach their target.
Crowdfunding uses an all-or-nothing funding model. If you don't reach your minimum needed by competition closing date, no sponsor money changes hands. This way, you're not expected to carry out your project or deliver rewards with insufficient funds. We suggest choosing the minimum funding target that allows you to carry out your project, pay fees, and deliver rewards. There is no limit to the amount you can raise and projects often raise more than their funding target. You need to raise enough money to complete your project as promised.
What do I need to consider?
You will also need to consider the small fees that apply. PayPal fees are approximately 3.5% depending on the size of individual donations and your PayPal account type. Stripe fees (for accepting credit or debit card payments) are 2.4% + 20p per donation. We recommend you add a few percent to your targets to cover these fees.
The competition prize of £2000 is paid as grant funding from Jisc and has no fees.
The deadline for submitting ideas is 30 April 2018 and you will have until the 13 May 2018 to get supporters and follows.
What do I need to consider?
The larger your funding target or your minimum needed the longer you are likely to need to raise it.
Receiving the funds
You only receive payments IF you have hit your minimum target and AFTER your project's completion date. PayPal payments take up to 24 hours to arrive in your account. Don't forget that PayPal take transaction charges of approximately 3.5% of each donation. Stripe payments (credit/debit cards) take up to 7 days to arrive in your account. Don't forget that Stripe take transaction charges of 2.4% + 20p of each donation.
The earlier you submit your idea the longer you have to raise crowdfunding to achieve you target and get supports to be shortlisted for the competition. That's why we've found that projects up to a month in length tend to be more successful. A shorter project focuses your promotional efforts and shows confidence in your project.
One of the best ways to increase your chances of achieving a successfully funded project is to make a video. Videos allow Sponsors to gain more of an idea of who you are and what you're doing. It builds trust between you and the Sponsors, and this is essential if they are going to make a donation. Sponsors need to have a feeling that you're genuine and you intend to deliver.
What makes a good video?
A good video is you! At its simplest, a good video can just be you speaking into a camera. The basic idea is to give people an idea of who you are, what you're doing and why Sponsors should care about your project. Oh, and be yourself!
- Camera Many computers come with integrated cameras. These are fine. You may also consider using an external digital camera. DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras give awesome results.
- Sound Reduce background noise as much as possible!
- Light Lots! Record in the day and use extra lighting.
- Editing Windows Movie Maker (PC) and iMovie (Mac) are great.
Vimeo has great advice!
What types of video can I use?
How large can my video's file size be?
Vimeo's basic account has a limit of 500MB per file and 5GB for premium accounts. YouTube has a limit of 2GB.
Can I use music on my video?
Yes, but only if you have permission to do so from its owner! Alternatively you can use any music from http://freemusicarchive.org/ with artist permission.
Rewards are what you give Sponsors in return for their donations. Rewards give an added incentive for people to sponsor your project. Rewards need to be well priced (matched to the appropriate donation level) and creative. The better your rewards, the more likely you are to achieve your funding target. Sometimes rewards are so desired that projects achieve many times their funding target.
What makes a good reward?
A good reward is something which you yourself would want. Put yourself in the shoes of a Sponsor. What would be the most unique and appealing thing you or your group could provide? A Sponsor of a sports team would probably want your team's jersey. A Sponsor of a band would probably want a CD. A Sponsor of a drama group would probably want tickets to a play. If you'd want whatever's on offer then it's likely to be a good reward.
Rewards should always have connection to your project. The most common rewards we've found fall into four categories:
- Products does your project or idea lead to the production of anything? CDs, DVDs, prints, T-shirts or badges? Place these at a donation level that matches their street value.
- Mementos signed photos of your project, thanks in the credits, anything meaningful!
- Experiences tickets to the concert or match, dinner at your college. Sponsors want to connect with you!
- Collaborations your Sponsor gets to sing on your album or play at a training session.
How can I promote my project?
Start by sending a friendly, personal, email to family and friends. Include a link to your project! Once they have supported your project it begins to look more attractive to others. This is a good time to get posting about your project on Facebook, Twitter, other social networking sites, and your blog. College, halls or department newsletters are also a great place to raise awareness.
You shouldn't overwhelm your networks with group messages, but gentle reminders throughout the course of your project will be beneficial. Remind them of your deadline. However, nothing beats a personal touch when asking for sponsorship!
Look on Facebook or LinkedIn for former students and staff of your school, university of college. Often alumni will lie dormant on these pages until reactivated by something like a sponsorship proposal. University and college forums on Linkedin are also a good place to post up your projects and get a discussion going. The more people you have talking about your project, the better.
Your Alumni Office keeps contact information on alumni, and in some cases, may even know what societies they were members of and what their interests are. If you are friendly and gracious, and make it clear to your Alumni Office Director that you will use the contacts responsibly, they may be kind enough to reach out to some alumni who would be interested in your project!
Use student or local newspapers and radio stations to get the word out. Media attention will help you reach out to people outside your immediate networks.
The real world
Get out there! Posters, flyers, meetings, parties... not everyone lives in cyber-world!
Don't overdo it. This won't reflect well on your project, or your university, college or school. Also, please don't use other Creators' projects to promote yours. That's not cool!Download Promotion Guide
Updates are a way of interacting with Sponsors. They breathe life into both your project and are essential to the sponsorship process.
Regular updates show anyone viewing your project that you are committed to it and that there is someone with a personality behind it. Your sponsors will be notified of each of your updates by email. If they like what they see they are more likely to tell their friends about you.
What kind of updates should I provide?
Is your project going well? Short messages let Sponsors know that your project is progressing well and their contribution is being used productively!
Small milestones show that the project is making progress and will encourage new Sponsors that you deserve their cash!
Share reviews, press releases, photos and videos! Sponsors love to see how their donations contributed to the success of your project.
Your project was successful!
If you offered any rewards to sponsors now you have to deliver the rewards you promised. This may seem daunting at first, but we'll provide you with plenty of information to make it easier for you. Get your team members to help.
You don't need to reward people who supported you project by voting but you may consider posting a general thank you via social media or other channels you used to get support.
Jisc will provide you with all the information you need regarding your Sponsors. Names, rewards, delivery addresses. In case you need any more info, we'll also give you their email addresses so that you can contact your Sponsors directly.
Let your Sponsors know that their rewards are on the way! Ask them to let you know that it has arrived safely. And please, don't forget to celebrate!The Crowdfunding Handbook