Mend Our Mountains

How a team of mountaineers raised over £100,000 from thousands of backers to mend our mountains

After a winter of bad flooding our mountains were looking a little worse for wear, but there were no funds available to mend them.

National parks have seen their budgets shrink significantly because of cuts, threatening their ability to maintain expensive infrastructure like paths. 

On top of this, it was a bad winter for flooding and rainfall, which damaged and even swept away a lot of path work.

Concerned that all of this amounted to a looming crisis, together with the BMC's charity, The Access and Conservation Trust, Carey Davies and the rest of the team developed the Mend Our Mountains campaign.

With nine separate projects around the UK, they used crowdfunding as a way to engage the various different communities involved: "We decided to use crowdfunding because we wanted the campaign to feel like a real 'community' effort, with lots of different elements of our 'outdoor world' pulling together for a cause and being involved in different ways. 

"We had involvement from TV celebrities, famous mountaineers, big outdoor magazines, top climbers and national gear brands; but we also had local businesses, cosy B&Bs, bloggers, climbing clubs, artists etc."

Of course running nine separate projects was a pretty intricate operation! 

Carey shared some of the complexities: "It was a hell of a lot of work just getting the overarching structure for the national campaign set up. We thought a lot about the name, branding, imagery and emphasis at first. 

"We then had to put together a media plan to make sure it got proper coverage. 

"At each major step we had to notify all the key stakeholders and keep them involved and happy. It was a lot of work!"

But their work well and truly paid off and the campaign raised a grand total of £103,832 from nine different projects around the UK. 

The campaign naturally attracted outdoorsy types and the rewards reflected this brilliantly - from discounts at outdoor shops, skills training with top instructors and even a helicopter ride. 

For £1,000 you could take a walk with Sir Chris Bonington CBE followed by a pub lunch!  

The sheer scale of this campaign alone attracted plenty of media attention. 

The two pronged approach was also useful in securing both national and regional coverage. 

Mend Our Mountains was covered by national news outlets such as the BBC breakfast, ITV and The Great Outdoors Magazine. 

The regional projects were also covered by local press, such as a piece in The Plymouth Herald about the Mend Exmoor project. 

Tips to project owners

Carey was keen to stress the importance of press coverage. He shared with us how instrumental this was in helping the Mend Our Mountains campaign secure its target. 

The turning point in our campaign was the flurry of media attention in the closing stages of the campaign. 

"We were somewhere around the £60,000 - 70,000 mark with a week to go, and assuming we weren't going to get to that £100,000 mark. 

"But then we were featured prominently in the Times, which unlocked a string of TV appearances, including two long slots on BBC Breakfast News on the morning of the local election results."

The galvanising effect was incredible, the team made £20,000 in 48 hours days, and three days before the campaign deadline the team were suddenly on the way to surpassing their target. 

"It showed the importance of national media coverage. 

"Before it we had just about exhausted our own communication channels and it gave us a vital leg-up. But it was preceded by a lot of patient legwork. 

"If the campaign looked rubbish and seemed like it didn't stand a chance the media wouldn't have covered it."