How to get involved with Crowdfund London
You and your community need to come together to create something new and exciting to benefit the whole neighbourhood. Below you'll find inspiration, resources and all the key details to help you get started.
You’ll need to express your interest in the programme and tell us a bit more about your idea by filling out a 'Crowdfund London Project Form' by 18 November 2019. You'll then need to be ready to run a crowdfunding campaign and pitch to our fund on our partner website Spacehive by 13 January 2020.
The Mayor will pledge to campaigns in March and if all goes well, you’d have your cash in the Summer of 2020.
Who can take part?
Anyone can take part in Crowdfund London. However, to be eligible for a pledge from the Mayor, you must:
be a constituted local organisation- we can't fund individuals. If you are an individual, you would need to partner with an appropriate local organisation (or start a new one with other local people) and develop your idea together.
be able to enter into legal contracts with the Greater London Authority and have an organisation bank account. We can fund groups operating under a range of legal structures including registered charities, unincorporated associations (although one or more members may need to be named and liable for the contract), community interest companies and co-operative or community benefit societies.
demonstrate clear and representative governance arrangements (your mission statement, who you represent, how you conduct yourselves and your membership, key roles and responsibilities etc.) and provide details of your organisation bank account.
There are many ways to constitute yourselves as a community organisation and it can be quite straightforward. You should think carefully about what you might require in the future and use our Community projects handbook which links to online resources to help you get started.
Key dates and deadlines
14 -18 October – Attend one of our upcoming information workshops in Croydon, Golders Green, Tower Hamlets and White City where you will be able to find out more about the programme.
18 November– The deadline to have filled out a 'Crowdfund London Project Form', expressing interest in the programme and telling us a bit more about your idea. By filling out this form on time you will unlock additional resources and invitations to follow-up events.
Late November/ December – having filled out the 'Crowdfund London Project Form' by the 18 November, you will be invited to begin to pitch to our fund on Spacehive. First, you’ll need to create a draft project using the website. This will help you talk locally about your idea to refine it. You should look early at the kind of information required to pitch to our fund and write a list of things you need to resolve. During this time you will also be provided with additional support and resources. You will also be invited to attend key follow-up events designed to help you refine your idea, preparing you to start your crowdfunding campaign in late January.
13 January – Deadline to have Pitched to our Fund and have submitted for Verification (where your permissions and quotes are checked). You can't begin your crowdfunding campaign until your project has been checked and approved.
27 January – Groups must have started a crowdfunding campaign by this date.
24 February – We will assess your crowdfunding campaigns. You should have plenty of engagement and aim for at least 150 local backers by this point.
Mid-March – Mayoral Pledges announced.
Mid-March – Pitch and Pledge event for projects receiving a pledge from the Mayor: a chance to celebrate your pledge and pitch to an audience of potential backers to help with final campaigning.
25 May – Latest date for crowdfunding campaigns to end.
June – Celebration event for successful campaigns and earliest date you'll have any money to spend.
The types of projects we're looking to fund
We are really open minded to different types of ideas but typically they will be civic improvement projects (think buildings, spaces or local resources).
Projects must be:
- in Greater London
- well resourced with a clear plan and budget
- managed by an organisation representing their community
- Not for profit proposals that serve the local community
We want to pledge to projects that:
- celebrate and strengthen the special character of your area
- respond to a local challenge or opportunity in a creative way
- give an unused space a new lease of life
- help the local economy
- give local people lasting skills and opportunities
- make everyone in the community feel welcome and involved
- attract strong support from the community - shown through a spirited crowdfunding campaign and other evidence
- are environmentally sustainable
- provide access to affordable workspace for creative or start-up businesses
- engage local people in a co-design process to improve a local public space or park
- help to make your high street a better place to visit or do business,
- improve or establish a local market,
- give a new lease of life to an unloved space or empty building,
- improve access to healthy and affordable food
- create a beautiful new green space or cultural feature that attracts people to the area
We're looking for ideas that show innovation and enterprise and aspire to achieve a wider social good.
How we decide who to pledge to
There are the 4 areas we will use to decide which projects to fund:
1. How good is your idea? (40%)
We are really interested in the quality and originality of your idea – why does it respond specifically to a challenge or opportunity in your neighbourhood? We don’t want to pay for Christmas lights, or playground equipment from a catalogue (things that could be anywhere), we want to know why your project is tailored to the needs of your community.
The best ideas will:
- empower your community
- grow local prosperity
- make a place better, for everyone
2. Is your project ready to go? (20%)
You need to show us that you know how your project will be realised once funded. Show us you have a plan and the right kind of help. Make sure you’ve got the permissions you need. If things are uncertain, that’s ok, as long as you say so and explain how you will manage these things to ensure success.
3. What are the long term benefits? (20%)
The Mayor's pledge must be spent wisely and fairly, it is public money after all. We need you to show excellent value for money. Consider the lasting effects your project will have, or how to maintain it. The best ideas will create a local legacy, grow into something bigger or support other things happening in your area.
4. Strength of support (20%)
How much local support do you have?
We will look at the number of pledges your campaign attracts (it's not about the money pledged, but the number and range of local backers). You should also tell us why your local community are behind you and show us the evidence. The best way to do that is to ensure everyone backing your campaign makes it clear who they are, where they are from and why they support you.
What we won't fund
We will not fund:
- local services (such as those under pressure from constraints to public spending)
- proposals that could be equally applicable anywhere (such as Christmas lights) or those that are not place/community based
- 'business as usual' activity (such as normal maintenance or repairs or projects that only seek to continue existing activities) or start-up business acting in a 'for-profit' model with no social contract.
- Your business idea. This is not a business incubation fund. However, we will consider any not-for-profit response to a local issue that clearly provides an evidenced benefit to local people and where there is an obvious need for public investment (e.g. market failure). We will want to see a full business model and understand how your project continues to build both capacity and opportunities for the local community.
How does it all work and what is Spacehive?
Spacehive is a civic crowdfunding website working with us to deliver Crowdfund London. They make it easy to share your project idea online and then begin a crowdfunding campaign and collect donations of cash, skills and stuff.
The Mayor will be pledging to projects that are pro-actively crowdfunding on Spacehive.
We will only pledge up to £50,000 and no more than 75% of your total project cost, so you’ll need to raise at least 25% from the rest of the ‘crowd’ – people, businesses, pubic funders and so on. In reality the Mayor’s pledge will likely be less than this, so you need to think carefully about the budget you need and also what could be achievable, when pitching your project as a campaign.
To be considered for a pledge from the Mayor, you will need to to create, fund and launch your idea yourselves, as a community.
Now is the time to start thinking about your idea and talking to your community to shape your ideas and get their support. Sign up to one of our workshops and come along to find out more.
You’ll probably be doing this in September/October 2019.
- Think carefully about your idea: Does it respond to a local challenge, celebrate the character of your area and benefit local people?
- Talk to people in your area: Do they support your idea? Do they have ideas to make it even better? Can they help? Your idea should represent the needs of your community and have their support.
- Get organised: You’ll need to a team to deliver your project or partner with a local organisation who can help. You’ll need to have good governance arrangements and a group bank account. Have you got the right skills? How can your community get involved?
- Do your research: You’ll need to talk to the landowner and your local council and make sure your idea is possible in principle. You'll need to write a budget and double check the cost of large items by getting more than one quote. What are the risks and how can you plan for them? Will you need permissions, licenses or insurance?
- Plan ahead: Remember that when the time comes you'll need to run a crowdfunding campaign to access a pledge from the mayor. Think about how you would structure this and how you will get your community behind you.
- Know what success looks like: You'll want to tell people about your impact and achievements at the end. This will help you do demonstrate success and attract future funding to maintain activity. Think now about how to measure your impact as you go and how you know when you've been successful.
Use the resources we've prepared to help you.
2. Create your project page
You need to create a project page on Spacehive. This is your pitch for funding to everyone (us and the rest of the crowd). Use it to explain your story and vision clearly, get across your passion for your project, convince us you can make it happen and show how it will have a positive impact on the area. You should look to create your project page early, so you can refine it with input from your community and get assistance from Spacehive before finalising it.
You’ll probably be doing this in March/April.
3. Pitch to our fund
- Our 2019 fund will be open in March on Spacehive.
- You'll be automatically matched to our fund when you create your project.
- You can then pitch for a pledge from the Mayor. You will need to answer a series of questions about you and your project and provide evidence for us to assess the eligibility and deliverability of your proposal. This should help you think through your project and you can fill in your pitch in stages.
- You must have completed your pitch by 1st May 2019 to be eligible for our funding and it will take you some time to scan and assemble documents to upload and answer our questions. You should aim to create your project and pitch to us well before this date so you have time to change things if you need to.
You’ll need to do all of this in April.
4. Get verified.
- Before you can start fundraising on Spacehive, your project will be verified. The verifiers will check through your project details to ensure you have all necessary permissions to deliver it before passing to the GLA for our appraisal.
- Spacehive will advise you on this process following your pitch to our fund. You must have completed this process by 20th May.
- After this date your project details will be locked and you wont be able to change anything.
Get as many people as possible to show their support for your project by making a pledge - it doesn't matter whether they pledge £2 or £2,000. For us, the number of community backers you attract is as important as how much you raise.
Key campaign information:
- You need to have filled out a 'Crowdfund London Project Form', expressing interest in the programme and telling us a bit more about your idea by 18 November. Projects which have not filled out this form on time will not be able to progress with the programme. By filling out this form on time you will unlock additional resources and invitations to follow-up events.
- You need to have pitched to Crowdfund London by 13 January 2020. Once verified you can begin your campaign.
- The Mayor's team at City Hall will assess your project, and your campaign in June.
- The Mayor will pledge directly to successful projects on Spacehive toward the beginning of July.
- You must hit your crowdfunding target before your deadline to secure your pledges from the crowd. This is an 'all-or-nothing' model and the Mayor's pledge will not complete your campaign.
- Set your campaign deadline for between 25 May to give yourself enough time to hit your target following a decision from the Mayor.
6. Make it happen!
If you hit your target you’ll need to sign a contact with City Hall for your pledge and you’ll then have all the money to deliver your project beginning in Summer 2020. The Regeneration team at City Hall will be on hand to offer advice and guidance but you must have resource in place to hit the ground running.