About Rocket Fund
Rocket Fund is a crowdfunding platform for schools, designed to enable all schools to access the latest technology. It is a pilot project by Nesta, so please be nice and let us know here if you notice anything wrong!
To enhance education for all. By enabling all students to access the latest technology and finding out what works.
What we do
Rocket Fund empowers schools to access the latest technology, by raising money from their community and businesses.
Donors give funds to projects in schools they want to support. Money only changes hands when a project achieves its minimum target.
For more information on the process for both Donors and Creators, please visit our Learn section.
How Rocket Fund works
It's a simple process:
- Teachers create a project to fundraise for something they think would make a difference to their class
- They share the project with their contacts (friends / alumni / parents / local community)
- People donate to the projects they want to support
- We collect the donations and transfer them as a single payment to the school's bank account
- Teachers review the products they receive to help other teachers in the future
Who can create a project?
Rocket Fund has been created to enable all students to access the latest technology. A Creator must be a teacher/coach, employed in a UK educational institution, who works directly with students. Where the Creator is a non-teaching member of staff, the project must be for the direct benefit of students.
Creators have to be at least 18 years old. If they're younger than this, students can ask a member of staff at their school to register as the Creator of the project, e.g. their teacher or coach.
How much can I raise?
We cap your first project at £1,500. This is to help maximise your chances of success, as the lower the target, the easier it is to reach! You can add a stretch target if you'd like to raise more, or split your project into two.
What are Rocket Boosts?
We occasionally offer "rocket boosts" in order to attract new schools to Rocket Fund. They are designed to boost projects toward their target, once they hit 25%.
Rocket boosts funded by Nesta are offered under the following terms:
- Only available to state funded schools
- Limited to 50% of a project's initial target and 50% of the final amount raised
- Max value is £500 per project
- Schools can only receive one boost per school year
How to create a project
Checkout our series of short videos below to see how to create a project on Rocket Fund.
How to start your project
How to write your pitch
How to create rewards
What is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is when you raise monetary contributions from a large number of people.
What is Match funding?
Match funding is where companies / philanthropists match the amount raised from individual donors. Where possible, we try to ﬁnd match funding for your projects. You may want to propose this to businesses you know, as it’s an easy way for them to make a positive impact on their community.
Any questions? Contact us here.
Can I find Rocket Fund elsewhere on the web?
Who is the team behind Rocket Fund?
Do you have a blog?
Yes, you can see updates on the Nesta blog here
Can I change my profile name?
Make sure you're logged in, go to 'account', and click on the 'edit profile' button.
I forgot my password. How can I log in?
D'oh! You can reset your password by clicking the 'reset your password' link on the login page. You will be sent an email which contains a link to gain access to your account.
How do I delete my account?
Contact us using our contact form. We'll miss you!
Can I change my email notification settings?
You will only receive emails about projects which you are following. To stop receiving these, go to the project page and click 'Follow' - when the pink heart is absent you won't receive email updates. If you no longer wish to receive our newsletter, click on 'Unsubscribe' at the bottom of any newsletter.
Creating a Project
Can I be a Creator?
Are you employed in a UK school / college / pre-school? Is your project for the direct benefit of students? Then yes! You’re eligible to sign up, get going here.
Creators also have to be at least 18 years of age. If you're under 18 and want to post a project, you'll need to get someone over 18 to register on the site and be responsible for your project, e.g. your teacher or coach.
What types of project can I post?
Rocket Fund is designed to enable teachers to try new technology. Previous projects have raised for: Virtual Reality headsets, 3D printers and iPads. Maybe you want to try exploring Ancient Egypt using VR? Or teach students to use professional technology, like a computerised sewing machine?
A few rules do apply and you can see these in the Rocket Fund Guidelines.
Are a minimum needed, funding target and completion date required?
Yes! We will help you set these when you submit your project.
What is all-or-nothing funding?
All-or-nothing funding means that unless your project has achieved its minimum fundraising target by its fundraising deadline, no donations or rewards change hands.
As a result, we recommend setting your minimum target at the smallest amount you need to complete your project.
Assuming you reach your minimum target by your fundraising deadline, we will process your pledges and purchase the products you fundraised for.
Why we require thank you notes
We've found that saying thank you for a donation engages Donors more with your project and encourages more donations. We require every project creator to at least send thank you notes to their donors, see "what rewards should I offer" below. Just try to keep your rewards digital and simple! (It'll make it much easier for you and Donors don't mind).
What rewards should I offer?
We highly recommend offering 3 forms of digital thank yous as rewards to your Donors:
1. A thank you note from yourself
2. A thank you note from your students
3. Some form of personal recognition / thank you to the Donor (e.g. in a video / picture / school newsletter)
What happens after I submit my project?
We will review it and aim to get back to you within 3 working days. We'll either respond with feedback on how to improve, or (hopefully) say you're ready to launch! If so, we will start the countdown and send you some advice on how to get ready to launch your campaign.
Can I edit my project after submitting?
Yes, but only if it hasn't been published yet. You'll need to email us and ask us to make it a draft again.
Once published, you can add updates to your project so that Donors can keep track of the latest developments.
Can I change my funding goal after submitting?
Yes, you can add a stretch target.
Can I edit my project after funding is completed?
No, otherwise Creators would be able to raise money donated for one purpose and then spend it on something different. This isn't fair on your Donors.
How many projects can I post at the same time?
As many as you want. We impose no limit though it might be in your interest to keep the number of live projects low. This prevents you exhausting your networks of potential Donors. Donors are unlikely to donate several times to the same person in a short space of time. Even if they do, their donations will be far smaller when shared between multiple projects, meaning that maybe none of your projects get funded!
Can I split funding for one project into several projects?
Yes. The advantage of doing this is that people might be more interested in one aspect of your plans than another and, in doing so, you're giving them the freedom to choose where to put their money. You might also be able to break down a larger project to enable you to get your idea under our £1,500 cap per project.
Can I share my project with friends before I submit?
Yes. In the sense that you will be able to discuss what you're doing with people online and via word of mouth. However, you will not be able to send people a link to your project in draft mode (though screenshots are possible). In order for other people to view your projects prior to it going live, you will need to log in to your account and demo the project in preview mode.
Can I cancel my project?
You can cancel a project by informing us using our contact form. We will notify your Donors.
Can I retry if unsuccessful?
Yes. If you didn't reach your minimum you can re-submit your project as many times as you like. However, we recommend that you make some alterations. Why weren't you successful last time? Would a different funding target or completion date help?
You can view advice on setting these in Rocket Fund Academy.
What happens if I hit my fundraising target before the completion date?
Then keep going! If you do raise more than your target amount, we will contact you to see if you'd like to add a stretch target.
Can I raise more than my minimum needed?
Yes. Your minimum needed is the minimum you need with which to carry out your project.
How many Creators can I have on my project?
There can only be one Creator account per project, but you should definitely get help from your friends, colleagues and students to help create and promote it.
Can I pledge to my own project?
Yes, if you want to!
Where can I find Donors?
Does it cost anything to post on Rocket Fund?
No. Not a penny.
How does Rocket Fund cover its costs?
We currently cover our costs via grant funding from Nesta and other partners (see them under "supported by" here). This means we can pass 100% of donations onto teachers.
Do I have to make a video?
No, but a video is highly recommended as it greatly improves your chances of achieving your funding target.
Can I add a video later?
No. You can't edit a project after submitting it.
Any advice on what makes a great video?
What types of video can I use?
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.
How many images can I have?
One video, but as many images as you like! You just need to enter the web address of the image in your project description.
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/
Can I embed media?
Yes you can add images or videos to the description section of your project.
Consent from parents
If any of your photos or videos identify individual students, make sure you have parental permission before you upload them. The permission also needs to give Nesta the right to use the images to promote Rocket Fund as a whole. Ideally use our template Photo Consent Form. It’s your responsibility to ensure you comply with the requirements of your school and any applicable law or regulation.
What are Updates?
An Update is a bit like a status update on Facebook. It lets Donors know about developments in your project and how you're getting on. They breathe life into your project and are essential to the process. For advice on how to use them visit the Updates section of Rocket Fund Academy.
What media can I use in Updates?
You can add images, but not videos.
Will Donors know if I've posted an Update?
What is my responsibility for answering questions from Donors?
Donors will ask you questions about your project. They may ask for more details about how you will carry out your project, or even for more information on you! Donors should be answered promptly. In cases where many Donors ask the same question, you should answer with an Update to your project so that anyone viewing it can see this information.
What if I can't complete my project as listed?
If this is the case you must cancel funding immediately. You can cancel a project by informing us using our contact form. We will notify your Donors.
What if I can't deliver a reward?
Get in touch with us ASAP. The minimum reward we require is a thank you note from you (and ideally your students), this should be enough.
Supporting a Project
Can I be a Donor?
Yes. Anybody can be a Donor. You will need a debit or credit card to donate. You will be asked for your details when you pledge to a project.
How do I make a pledge?
Simply find a project you like and hit the pink 'Sponsor This Project' button at the right-hand side of the page and follow the on-screen instructions.
When will I be charged?
Your card will be charged after the project fundraising deadline but only if the project you pledge to achieves its minimum needed by this date.
If the project is unsuccessful no money changes hands, so your card/account is not charged.
What happens if a project does not achieve its minimum needed?
Nothing! No money changes hands. This is all-or-nothing funding.
What happens if a project is overfunded?
If the project raises more than its target amount, we will contact the teacher to ask if they'd like to add a stretch target. The school will still receive all the money they raise.
Can I pledge anonymously?
Yes. When you make a pledge you will be given the option to hide your name & amount donated. Please note that you will not be anonymous to the Project Creator - only to the public.
Is the value of my pledge made public?
Not automatically. We leave it up to you to decide whether your name and contribution should be displayed as described above.
What info about me do you give to the Creator?
Creators see your username, the size of your donation, and the reward you've selected. If their project is successful, we'll also give the Creator your email address so that they can contact you and home address if you selected to receive a reward.
Will you notify me if a project I'm sponsoring is successful?
Yes. You will receive an email regardless of whether the project is successful or not.
Can I change my pledge?
You will not be allowed to amend an existing donation but you can add another one.
How do I change my credit card details before funding ends?
Please get in touch with us here.
What happens if my credit card is declined?
Don’t worry, if this happens you will be sent a re-pledge link so you can make sure you have the necessary funds available and re-donate.
Can I cancel my pledge?
When you make a pledge you make a commitment to that Creator. We, and the Creator, would really appreciate it if you don't cancel your pledge.
Can I get a refund on my donation?
Once payment has been processed, donations are non-refundable.
Can I trust Creators?
Yes. We check every project before it is published.
Still not sure? Ask the Creator a question via their profile or project page. At the end of the day, we leave it to your judgement. If you spot anything you think looks suspicious, there is a button on every project page where you can report suspicious projects.
How can I get more info about a project?
Most people will be happy with the information provided in the proposal and video. But, you can always ask them directly! You can contact the Creator directly through their profile or project page. If you have already donated to a project and you would like to make your question public, you can post a comment on the project. The Creator will be notified by email when you do.
Will projects be completed as described?
Yes, we encourage schools to share updates with Donors after they've purchased the items they fundraised for, to showcase the impact they've had.