Creating a project

One of the main reasons Donors prefer crowdfunding to traditional fund-raising drives is that they get to see exactly where their money is going. The project is your idea, 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 people's attention.

What should I include in my project?

Here's your chance to justify your project. See the pitch guidelines on the "Pitch" tab of the project create flow for more detail, but here's a top-level structure:

  • Tell us about you and your students, what makes them unique?
  • What’s your story?
  • Why do you want to buy these things?
  • What impact will they have?
  • Where will the money go?

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. Please note that you can't edit your project after submitting it. However, you will be able to add updates.

The Crowdfunding Handbook

For more ideas, checkout the Crowdfunding Handbook below, created by our partner Hubbub. They've got loads of useful bits of advice, but please ignore the content on rewards as this isn't applicable to Rocket Fund.

The Crowdfunding Handbook

Funding & Fees

Rocket Fund uses an all-or-nothing funding model. If you don't reach your minimum needed by your completion date, no money changes hands. We suggest choosing the minimum funding target that allows you to carry out your project.

Fees

We don't charge teachers or donors to use our platform.
The only fee teachers will pay is the 1.5% that we add to every project target to cover the credit/debit card transaction fees charged by Stripe (our payment provider).

How Rocket Fund covers its costs

We claim Gift Aid on donations from eligible Donors who choose to support us. This means we can pass 100% of donations onto teachers.

What do I need to consider?

Timescale

Projects on Rocket Fund can last from 1 week to 1 month. We recommend 1 month.

Urgency

A shorter project can convey a sense of urgency to Donors. That's why we've found that projects up to a month in length tend to be more successful.

Funding target

The larger your funding target or your minimum needed the longer you are likely to need to raise it.

Receiving the products

You only receive the products IF you have hit your minimum target and AFTER your project's completion date. After this, we will purchase the products and send them directly to your school address within 3 weeks of project completion.

Video

One of the best ways to increase your chances of achieving your target is to make a video. Videos allow Donors to gain more of an idea of who you are and what you're doing. It builds a more personal connection between you and the Donors, which is likely to encourage a donation.

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 Donors should care about your project. Oh, and be yourself!

A good example: Django Pi

A great example: FOURH4ND Does Freshers' Week

Key tips

  • Camera Many computers come with integrated cameras. These are fine. You may also consider using an external digital camera, like the one on your smartphone or go big and try a DSLR camera.
  • 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.
  • Students Maybe they could help you create a video?! (Remember you'll need parental permission if your video identifies individual students).

Vimeo has great advice!

Video 101: Choosing a Camera from Vimeo's Video School

Video 101: Shooting Basics from Vimeo's Video School

Video 101: Editing Basics from Vimeo's Video School

What types of video can I use?

You can use links from Vimeo or 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/ with artist permission.

Thanking Donors

We've found that saying thank you engages Donors and encourages more donations.

We highly recommend offering 3 forms of thank you as rewards to your Donors: 1. A thank you note from yourself (just send it to us and we'll forward it on) 2. A thank you note from your students (again just send it to us and we'll forward it on) 3. Some form of personal recognition / thank you to the Donor (e.g. in a video / picture / school newsletter / Rocket Fund sticker!)

To save you time and check all the notes are ok, send the thank you notes to us first, then we will forward them onto the donors.

Rewards Guide

The Rewards Guide below is another document produced by Hubbub, it might give you some inspiration for the other forms of rewards you could offer, but we'd highly recommend just sticking to saying thank you as it makes it easier for everyone :-)

Remember: any reward you offer must not be worth more than 25% of the value the donation.

Download Rewards Guide

How can I promote my project?

Your networks

Start by sending a personal, email to family and friends. Include 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, other social networking sites, and your blog. School 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 donations!

Your school's network

Your school has a large community of students, parents, alumni, suppliers and supporters. How could you tap into those networks? Talk to your Headteacher and create a plan.

Your PTA

Could they help you get the word out?

Alumni networks

Look on Facebook or LinkedIn for former students and staff of your school. Often alumni will lie dormant on these pages until reactivated by something like a request for donations. School forums on Facebook / 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.

Alumni Office

If you're lucky enough to have an Alumni Office (or person responsible for keeping the contact information on alumni), then get in touch with them ASAP. If you make it clear to your Alumni Office 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!

The press

Use student, school 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 spam!

Don't overdo it. This won't reflect well on your project, or your college or school. Also, please don't use other Creators' projects to promote yours. That's not cool!

Promotion Guide

The guide below has been produced by our partner Hubbub, not by Nesta. You may find it useful, though please note that the reference to "rewards" should be ignored as they are not relevant to the Rocket Fund process.

Download Promotion Guide

Updates

Updates are a way of interacting with Donors. They breathe life into both your project and are essential to the 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 Donors 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?

Tweets

Is your project going well? Short messages let Donors 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 Donors that you deserve their support!

Achievements

Share reviews, press releases, photos and videos! Donors love to see how their support contributed to the success of your project.

The Crowdfunding Handbook
Rocket Fund is a pilot project by Nesta. Nesta is a registered charity in England and Wales 1144091 and Scotland SC042833