Since day one, the welcome-to-all sessions saw an incredible uptake from the local community and as they rapidly expanded across the city, the group decided to form a Community Interest Company. As a result of their regular sessions, communities within Exeter were already starting to lead more active lifestyles whilst they came together over a shared desire for health improvement, simultaneously tackling social isolation and poor mental health along the way.
However, with demand running high for the free, volunteer-led sessions, maximum capacity was soon reached and the team behind FREEMOOVEMENT needed to find a way to extend their offering to even more individuals whom they knew would benefit. With the help of their crowd, their vision was to recruit and train more volunteers to set up more parks and meet this growing demand.
FREEMOOVEMENT Founder and Director, Paul Mouland, said, “One of the toughest parts of the process was deciding whether or not to take on the project as crowdfunding can seem a very scary process, especially if you have never done a campaign before. Initially there seems to be so much that you need to do in the planning stage and getting the processes right, and there is, but if you have a clear goal and are focused then you can build a comprehensive project that will meet the needs, and whet the appetite of your community.”
And it was clear that the Crowdfunder.co.uk project for FREEMOOVEMENT did just that, raising £5,909 in just 49 days. As part of their crowdfunding mix, FREEMOOVEMENT also unlocked a further £3,500 in extra funding through Crowdfund Devon; an initiative set up to support community groups, start-up businesses, charities and individuals from across the county to raise money from the crowd and unlock extra funding from various partners. FREEMOOVEMENT didn’t just receive a £2,500 pledge from Exeter City Council, but also a further extra funding pledge of £1,000 from Devon County Council!
Paul added, “If you have knowledge that there may be extra funding available for your project, it’s vital to know how this will work. On our project, the match funding automatically kicked in when we had reached 25% of our target. The only trouble with this is that until the funding kicks in, it makes your project seem a long way away from even getting close to success. However, as soon as the match funding does get deposited, it makes a huge difference to the belief in your project and the likelihood of getting across the line.”
Paul continues, “Our project hugely benefited from having a strong, existing customer base that believe in the work we are doing and the goals we wanted to achieve. Having this base helped with keeping us motivated as there were times throughout the project where we thought the target wouldn’t be reached. At these points you have to take a step back, clear your head and then go back at it when you have the energy and enthusiasm. This break will help you gain perspective and dynamism.”
And Paul’s top tips for anyone else thinking of crowdfunding for their community project?
“It’s really important to build a team around your project – identifying partners and influential people is key. Spreading the load and getting others to share the information will also massively reduce the amount of asking you will have to do. Personally, not being naturally good at asking people for money, even though it’s for a good cause, was the biggest struggle for me so having others that are confident at coming forwards was a real help. In essence, crowdfunding is hard work but if you have clear goals, a good team, passion and belief in your project then you can make it happen and be hugely successful.”
If you have a community based project or social enterprise and are looking to crowdfund, then you could also be eligible for extra funding. Find out more about the funds we have on offer and get in touch today.