The University of Surrey’s Theatre Society were the very first group to launch a campaign on the University of Surrey crowdfunding platform. Their success in raising the money they needed for an ambitious production of the Michael Frayn play “Noises Off “shows how crowdfunding can help turn great ideas into reality.
“We wanted to step up our show,” explains Emily Jeeves, coordinator for the society’s Crowdfunder campaign, “We do a show every year and we wanted to do one with a higher production value so our members would have the best opportunity to learn about the industry, especially the production side. We wanted to offer our members more of a chance to get involved with prop making and set building and so on. To do that we need a higher production value show, and that costs money.”
The society had never crowdfunded before, but were introduced to the idea through the University, which has partnered with Crowdfunder to deliver its own crowdfunding platform. The University’s Alumni and Development Office, Student Enterprise Team, Student Union and Business School have joined forces to create the platform to encourage more support for activities. So they were perfectly placed to help the theatre society launch a successful campaign.
“They ran a series of workshops introducing us to the idea of crowdfunding and giving us some advice on how to do it,” says Emily. Society members then met one to one with the University’s Alumni and Development Office staff, who offered further guidance.
“They were massively helpful in the advice they gave us and advised us on the best way to approach people,” says Emily.
Social networks were key to the success of the campaign. Emily says one of the most useful tips they were given was to draw up “network maps” identifying all the different kinds of people each member could connect and share the project with. “It gives you a better overview of all the people in your circle,” says Emily.
The society largely promoted their campaign through social media, on email and by word of mouth, and the word spread fast – they ended up exceeding their target of £550. Emily says they were particularly touched by the generosity of fellow students – even if they could only donate a couple of pounds, it all added up. The money raised will go towards paying off the production costs for the show.
“We were so pleased and surprised by how well it went,” says Emily. She adds that she would definitely encourage other students at the University of Surrey to crowdfund their own ideas and projects on the University’s platform, as it opens up opportunities that might otherwise not be available to them.
“It’s just such a great platform to do it on and it gets the word out there,” she says. “I wouldn’t have known how to raise that money in that short space of time.”
If you’d like to raise funds for your University of Surrey project – add yours today!