We’ve arrived: Crowdfund Canada is go

Crowdfunder UK is making an exciting incursion into Canada, bringing its team of industry experts and famous ‘Accelerator’ programme across the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.

The UK’s biggest crowdfunding platform will be launching Crowdfund Canada, a localised new platform with funds to support new projects making an impact in British Columbia.

The company has enjoyed a period of rapid growth in the past 18 months, raising more than £75 million ($130 million) for tens of thousands start-ups, social enterprises, community groups, politicians and activist groups in the UK since its launch in 2011.

The expansion will be led by Founder and Creative Director Simon Deverell.

“Our move into Canada marks a milestone moment for Crowdfunder as we introduce our world-class product to new audiences,” said Simon.

“Within a few years we’ve grown from a start-up into a thriving business and the demand for our services is accelerating all the time,” he added.

“As in the UK, we will be working with projects that Kickstarter and Indiegogo are not, with a greater focus on community, social enterprise, political and activism projects, as well as businesses and personal causes.”

Crowdfunder UK has pioneered the use of collaborative crowdfunding in mass engagement programmes alongside the likes of Virgin, RBS Group, Santander and Aviva. They also work in the UK with more than 40 local authorities to channel essential public funding into community groups who need it most.

The platform has also developed a groundbreaking ‘staff giving’ programme, enabling big businesses to distribute CSR budgets through their workforce into community groups on Crowdfunder.

“We welcome the opportunity to forge new partnerships with big brands and grant givers to engage thousands of individuals and organisations at the very start of their journeys,” said Deverell.

“The growth in our work with big brands is soaring and the impact that is having at a local level is significant.”

Crowdfund Beautiful British Columbia

To mark the move, Crowdfund Canada will pledge $100 to the first 20 crowdfunding projects based in British Columbia, looking to raise more than $2,000 to make a difference in their community.

The campaign that attracts the most supporters through the new platform will also receive an additional $2,000 contribution to their cause.

It’s simple to apply to the competition, called Crowdfund Beautiful British Columbia.

Crowdfunder is encouraging anyone who thinks their idea or project may be eligible to simply explain so in under 100 words.


Projects that matter: A very modern marketing tool

Last year one of our projects, Led By Donkeys, took us to the Cannes Lions, the International Festival of Creativity. 

It was an important moment for us. Like Trump Baby they made their mark through crowdfunding, using it as a very modern marketing tool to reach billions around the world. 

That’s the big opportunity now for brands and how they speak to their customers through collective experiences. The persuasive power of the masses. It’s the crowd’s media. 

The crowd is now the client now and they’re single handedly disrupting traditional media. Here are some great examples.

TV advertising: Veg Power

The UK is facing a growing health crisis. Veg Power was a collaborative campaign group that has been created to improve the eating habits of a generation. The problem is serious. Around four in five kids and 95% of teenagers are not eating enough veg so an innovative campaign was created to counter the constant stream of junk food advertising.

The team behind it brought together the best minds in children’s health as well as TV campaigners such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver, Dr Rangan Chatterjee and advertising legend Sir John Hegarty. Crowdfunding formed a significant chunk of the funding mix, raising a staggering £102,215 ($174,314) from their supporters to compliment significant funding by the biggest ever coalition of supermarkets.

It resulted in a 60-second film that was aired during one the country’s biggest shows, Coronation Street on ITV, who contributed £2 million of air time to the cause to ensure millions of people got the perception changing message.

Cross-channel: Led By Donkeys

A guerrilla billboard campaign by a campaign group calling themselves Led by Donkeys hit the sweet spot last year. The idea was simple enough: to remind voters of spurious statements made by the leading protagonists of the Brexit referendum by plastering them on gigantic billboards across Britain. It caught the eye of an increasingly divided nation and took off, first in the national press and then on Crowdfunder as thousands of supporters – 30,000 in the end – rushed to back the group with their idea.

A little over 36 hours after its launch they had hit their ‘stretch target’ of £50,000 ($85,268) after smashing their original aim of £10,000 ($17,053) inside three hours. In the end it became Britain’s biggest people funded political campaign in history to the tune of £1.5 million ($2,558,055).

There’s something compelling about taking to huge billboards to grab attention in a world dominated by digital platforms.

Combining a razor creative with a perfectly timed message can resonate so effectively with the public and when it’s done well, it makes the news as we saw in 2019.

The beauty of Led by Donkeys was that the statements framed themselves, using screengrabs from Twitter to lend greater authenticity in the midst of all the political flip-floppery that played out.

Press: Amnesty International

Amnesty International crowdfunded an advertising campaign to challenge the then Justice Secretary Michael Gove’s proposals to scrap the Human Rights Act, raising near on £30,000 to take out a string of adverts in The Times in the run up to the Queens Speech.

The double-page spread featured the name of the 1,000 supporters on Crowdfunder in a powerful message in one of Britain’s biggest newspapers.

Outdoor advertising: I am an Immigrant

The I am an Immigrant campaign successfully raised £54,101 ($92,320) for a series of posters to celebrate the contribution of migrants to British life across our major tube and rail networks in the run up to the General Election in 2015.

It was a celebration of the contribution that immigrants make to UK society and was a response to the increased anti-immigration rhetoric that is increasingly prevalent in British politics.

The posters were displayed at 400 tube stations in London and at 550 national rail stations across the country. A further 26 billboards sites were used up and down the UK. their website also allowed other immigrants the opportunity to create their own digital poster, telling their story.

Outdoor advertising: Open letter to the Prime Minister

Almost £70,000 ($119,450) was raised by well over 3,000 people two years ago at the start of the Brexit negotiations to send an open letter to the then Prime Minister Theresa May from roadsides across the UK and is hitherto the biggest to date, reaching 10 million people on the streets of Great Britain with their message.

Outdoor advertising: Dignity in Dying

Campaigning organisation Dignity in Dying also turned to crowdfunding ahead of the parliamentary vote on the Assisted Dying Bill back in 2015 which – in their view – could have given dying people choice and control over their death.

The divisive issue had not been voted on by MPs for 20 years so it provided a once-in-a-generation opportunity to show their elected representatives that the overwhelming majority – 82% at the time – want law change on assisted dying.

Actor and patron Sir Patrick Stewart spearheaded the Crowdfunder to create a high-impact advertising campaign and they received unprecedented support, raising almost £32,000 for a string of hard-hitting messages in key strategic locations.

Sir Patrick Stewart spearheaded a Crowdfunder to raise almost £32,000 ($54,606) for a string of highly visible messages about assisted dying

Outdoor advertising: the UK soccer team

Size isn’t everything. Three years ago the supporters of a fourth tier soccer club in the West of England created a small crowdfunding campaign to raise £1,000 ($1,706) to boost their struggling hometown football club.

Within 48 hours the unfashionable club was picked up by the national media and talked about on US television at half-time during the Super Bowl. It was also written about in China at a time when it barely raised an eyebrow in its local community. It works and it can be very effective for brand building on any scale.

Activation: Trump Baby

It’s not just billboards. When it comes to biting political statements it’s hard to look past the hugely controversial Trump Baby ahead of the American President’s divisive visit to the UK last summer. It was something that had never seen before and it touched a nerve in the Whitehouse, further proof that when a great idea is backed to the hilt it can go global and even reach the smartphones of our world leaders.

Splashed on the front page of every major newspaper across the globe, it quickly raised the near £35,000 ($119,450) the idea needed to come to life and fly above the UK Parliament in London.

It took social media by storm for days and underlined the growing reputation of crowdfunding as a very modern marketing tool. When your supporters are invested both financially and emotionally they will work together to ensure that message is heard, and heard loudly.

Crowdfunder can propel people into the heart of political discourse. It works of course for both sides of the coin as the subsequent campaign to fly a giant balloon of London mayor Sadiq Kahn showed, raising almost double the money to come to life as a counter-protest above the capital.

Hot air, maybe, depending on where you sit in the debate but when it comes to empowering people to stand up for what they believe, crowdfunding continues to provide a robust way to gather support and validate great ideas.

It’s not about sides. It’s about giving people a platform.

The world’s political and social climate is ready for bottom-up innovation and creativity when it comes to protest and Crowdfund Canada could yet prove to be one of the key battlegrounds in this era of extraordinary politics.

Keep your eyes peeled the next time you’re walking down the street to really see the influence of crowdfunding in the big debate.

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Giving you a voice: Putting you in the conversation

Brexit. You couldn’t escape it in the UK last year. It split the country down the middle and trampled the status quo of British politics.

The idea of ‘taking back control’ was a central tenet of the Leave campaign, becoming one of the driving forces of Brexit but what does it actually mean?

The truth is there’s no simple answer. But when it comes to crowdfunding in a divided world, it’s far more straightforward.

It’s given people a powerful voice at a time when confidence in the established systems is fast diminishing. People are taking control themselves and getting their voices heard.

We’ve seen thousands of people use our platform to raise more than millions for projects spawned by world politics, establishing us as the home of disruptive statements on both sides of the argument.

Some are serious. Others less so, responding to the big issues with some humour. All matter to the people behind them.

Either way crowdfunding is propelling more and more people into the heart of political discourse in an increasingly tribal world.

All you need to hit the ground running on is a good idea and the confidence to share it with the crowd. We’re not here to take sides. We simply give ordinary people a platform to support theirs. That’s what we do best and there have been thousands of projects, but these are the ones that have really caught the imagination.

Making asses of Westminster’: Led By Donkeys

Led By Donkeys, based in London, had a Brexit. Like all great ideas it started out as an idea over a pint and it rapidly became the biggest people funded political movement in British history.

They pasted politician’s spurious Brexit Twitter statements on gigantic billboards in all four corners of the country. It took off, reaching millions on the streets and billions worldwide. At the time of writing more than 30,000 people have pledged almost £1.5 million ($2,558,794) to fund one of the most imaginative and celebrated campaigns of the year.

So far the project has consisted of more than 400 billboards across Europe, three spoof websites and massive projections in Westminster, Brussels, on the white cliffs of Dover, Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. There has been a sand sculpture visible from space and the defining image at the People’s March rally in London, attended by a million people. There’s no sign of them letting up, much to the chagrin of the leading Brexiteers.

Changing the history of protest: Trump Baby

Trump Baby changed the history of protest forever. When it comes to biting political statements it’s hard to look past the hugely controversial blimp ahead of the American President’s divisive visit to the UK last summer. It was something we’d never seen before and it even touched a nerve in the Whitehouse, further proof that when a great idea is backed to the hilt it can go global and reach the smartphones of our world leaders.

It splashed on the front page of every major newspaper across the globe, trended on social media for days and was used by a major British news broadcaster to brand their coverage of the visit, enhancing crowdfunding’s growing reputation as a very modern marketing tool. It sparked a copycat project to float a balloon featuring London mayor Sadiq Khan, raising twice as much money for a counter protest. Both caught the public’s imagination as well as the attention of the Museum of London, who will add the balloons to its permanent collection.

“We think they’re really important objects that symbolise a key moment in London’s history of protest,” Vyki Sparkes, Curator of Social and Working History told Sky News.

“The blimps symbolise a key moment. If it gets people talking and thinking, then great. Protest is a big part of London’s history and we’re just bringing that story up to date. It’s living history, about expressing how different people feel and bringing that to life. 2018 was the year of the protest balloon. These were the two key blimps that sum up this change in protest and they way it’s then repeated online and across social media. For us, it’s an important moment.”

Over £130,000 ($221,762) was raised to fly the two blimps last year.

Ball v Johnson

Lawyer Marcus Ball took a different tack. A more traditional approach from inside the system. The political campaigner was backed to the tune of over £500,000 ($852,931) to bring about a private prosecution against Boris Johnson over his EU referendum bus claims. In May 2019 the now Prime Minister was summoned to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court to answer the allegations of misconduct in public office, leading the news around the world for days, but the decision was later overturned by High Court judges. The fight continues. “This isn’t over, we are not giving up,” Marcus said outside the court.

All the money Marcus is raising is being spent on legal fees, communication, research and upkeeping costs and while we see many people turn to the platform to fund legal causes, this is by far one of the biggest and newsworthy in the post-referendum world.

Better together: More United

More United have turned to Crowdfunder on no less than five occasions, raising a staggering £684,000 ($1,166,810) thanks to more than 18,000 supporters in the past three years. The organisation was founded as the dust settled on the UK’s Brexit referendum to encourage MPs to work across party lines at Westminster.

The organisation have drastically grown their membership in excess of 150,000 supporters, using their crowdfunding campaigns to spread their message about the things that matter to them including the National Health Service (NHS), disability rights, plastic pollution and immigration.

They have used the money to fund 54 candidates across five Parliamentary parties, all of which carry the message of the More United members to secure debates and influence policy change where it counts. That’s real change, from the bottom-up.

The kids are alright: Our Future, Our Choice

Our Future, Our Choice is a group of young people committed to a final say on the Brexit deal. Spearheaded by Femi Oluwole, a British political activist and co-founder of the pro-European Union advocacy group, they’re building a national movement of young activists who overwhelmingly voted to remain part of the EU back in 2016.

They’ve sparked a surge of young voter registrations, mobilising a generation to take action at what they believe will be a devastating divorce from the European Union (EU). It’s paid for boots on the ground, visiting schools, colleges and universities across the country to spread their message and protest. They’re also finding more creative ways to mobilise their supporters and it’s crowdfunding that’s driving that momentum. In total they have raised £100,000 ($170,586)in four campaigns by 3,000 supporters, using crowdfunding as a force for good for engaging young people with politics.

Party politics: the people’s representitives

Changing it from within the political system. It was a truly extraordinary year in British politics.

We have seen Conservative, Labour, Green Party, Scottish National Party and UKIP candidates crowdfund over 700 election deposits, raising well over £1 million ($1,705,863) for fighting funds.

Crowdfunding is the foundation for political change, opening up the process to more and more people to get involved.

It’s real democracy in action.