Creating a project

One of the main reasons people prefer crowdfunding to traditional fundraising 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.

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 it could also include your club or society name/initials.

What should I include in my project?

Sponsors will need to be able to judge whether they think your project is feasible. They'll want to know the following:

  • What are you trying to do?
  • Why are you trying to do it?
  • How are you going to do it?
  • How will the funds be used?
  • Who are you and your team?

If you are after funds to cover the general costs of your project, think about how you could break this down for potential Sponsors.

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 work with you to make it the best it possibly can be before making it available to the public. But please note that you can't edit your project after submitting it unless we put it back into a draft for you. However, you will be able to add updates.

The Crowdfunding Handbook

Funding a project

uses an all-or-nothing funding model. If you don't reach your minimum needed by your completion date, no 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?

Rewards

When calculating how much you need to raise think about how much your rewards might set you back. You will need to prepare for the maximum costs you could possibly accrue and adjust your target accordingly. But remember, you only need to deliver your rewards if your project reaches its minimum and after you have received your funding.

Postage and Packaging

Don't forget that it will cost you to send the rewards if your project is successful. And it'll cost even more if your posting over seas!

Timescale

Projects can last from 2 weeks to 3 months. However a longer project isn't necessarily better. It takes a lot of work so you might not want it to go on for an entire term! 40 days is our suggested maximum.

Funding target

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. You will receive an email upon project completion prompting you on how to access your funding this can take up to 14 days.
It's important to note that PayPal take transaction charges of approximately 3.5% of each donation. Whilst Stripe payments (credit/debit cards) take transaction charges of 2.4% + 20p of each donation..

Video

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!

A good example: Let there be light, YSTV

Another great example: UYBC Bikes for Boats 2015

Key tips

  • Camera Many computers come with integrated cameras and most people have/know someone who has a phone with a good camera. 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 and even consider adding some background music! (with permission of course)
  • Light Lots! Record in the day and use extra lighting. Make sure to face the light, not have it behind you.
  • Editing Windows Movie Maker (PC) and iMovie (Mac) are great when used well.

What types of video can I use?

YuStart accepts Vimeo and YouTube videos.

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/ or www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music with artist permission.

Rewards

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.

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? 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.
Download Rewards Guide

How can I promote my project?

Your networks

Start by sending a friendly, personal, email to family and friends including a link to your project! Once they have pledged your project begins to look more attractive to others. This is a good time to get posting about your project on Facebook, Twitter and other online sites. College, halls, YUSU or department newsletters are also a great place to raise awareness!

You shouldn't overwhelm your networks with group messages, but gentle reminders of your deadline throughout the course of your project will be beneficial. However, nothing beats a personal touch when asking for support!

Your members networks

If you are creating a society, club, team or department project you already have a great network to approach. But remember to get your members to contact their friends and family as well!

Alumni networks

Alumni are students that have graduated from the University. If you wish to send out an update to alumni that may be interested in your project then get in touch with the YuStart team (YuStart@york.ac.uk) and we can make this happen!

The press

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! We can add money raised offline onto your online total!

Download Promotion Guide

Updates

The best way to keep in touch with your sponsors is through Updates on your YuStart page. An update is a bit like a post on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter. It lets people know about developments in your project and how you're getting on, they even get an email to say you’ve updated your page! Regular updates show anyone viewing your project that you are committed to it and that there is someone with a personality behind it. 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!

  • Developments- small milestones show that the project is making progress and will encourage new Sponsors that you deserve their cash!

  • Achievements- share reviews, press releases, photos and videos! Sponsors love to see how their donations contributed to the success of your project.

Delivering Rewards

Your project was successful!

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 friends, colleagues, or fellow society members to help.

Sponsors' Info

YuStart 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.

They're coming!

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