I spent a great evening yesterday with the Youth Funding Network who have a very simple idea for raising funds and gathering volunteers for a variety of different charities. I was invited along by Liz from Otesha (A v.cool youth led sustainability charity involving bicycles, theatre and educational projects!) who is one of the organisers.
We turned up at a mysteriously quiet location in a bar in Hackney to find a basement packed with people looking for drinks, conversation, cupcakes and an opportunity to donate and/or volunteer for charities.
The whole event is run very simply and effectively. It involves paying £10 on the door in exchange for a voucher and simple info-pack outlining the three charities who will pitch for funds from the crowd that evening. Drinks and cupcakes are first on the menu, followed by pitching from the three featured charities. Then, the pitching itself begins – with everyone having a £10 minimum donation (the door entry fee) to put forward to the charity of their choice.
There was a huge amount of energy and interest in the room, and everyone who attended got a buzz from connecting with and supporting charities in a very personal way. Additionally, a match funding round backed by particular audience members helped to really push up the value of the donations made on the night, so all the charities benefitted still further from the event…Imagine what the results of 10,000 such events would mean to local communities…
Of course this isn’t the answer to the cashflow issues and sustainable income stream building that small startup charities are currently being faced with. However, there was something very encouraging to see so many people pitching in their donation in person, making a direct connection with the charities themselves. These participants were more than happy to take a chance on providing some seed funding which will enable great new ideas to get off the ground at speed, with little bureaucracy.
I spent my ££s on the Hackney Pirates – check out their site here!