The Crowdfunding Journey – Adapting to COVID-19

What is it, and who are we?

As part of our digital project development module on the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management MSc course, we started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for Cherry Trees. Cherry Trees is a charity that offers exceptional home-from-home specialist respite for children and young adults aged 0-19 with a range of complex disabilities including learning, physical and sensory impairments.

Our project goal

Our goal is to raise £2100 in order to purchase 12 tablets. This is so carers can complete their paperwork after the children go home, ensuring that more quality time is spent with the children. It will also mean that all progress and assessment reports will be in one easily accessible place, along with medication and care requirements.

The issue faced by the charity is that, each child has to go home with a report that consists of 3 x A4 pages for every 24 hours of care.  Currently, these are handwritten and then photocopied, for the child to take home to parents. It becomes very difficult for the charity’s carers as they have to write their reports at the same time as caring for the children.

Crowdfunding campaign journey

The work on the crowdfunding project started by putting initial plans in place of targeted crowds and ways to reach them. One of the most important factors during the planning phase is establishing communication between group members and the charity. This has improved and accelerated the work we have completed. Moreover, multiple visits to the charity have motivated the group as we saw the outstanding care the children are given.

The planning of the project is split into three phases; crowd, digital, and event planning.

On March the 12th, the campaign went live online, and on the same day, the University organized a launch party, sponsored by Guildford Borough. The party involved a competition between all campaigns, and the winner will receive a £700 donation to boost the campaign.

Cherry Trees’ group won the competition by driving around 100 supporters to the camping on the first day of the launch.

The key to the campaign’s success is the planning and navigating the targeted crowds, who are willing to support us, and finding corporate sponsors. Our corporate sponsors are; Sicool cafe, Skyunwired, Ployciti Culture Development Group, and Hanmei Stationary.

COVID-19 challenge

In response to the pandemic, we had to change our plans in accordance with the current situation. Unfortunately, due to financial difficulties for many people, we were unable to meet our goal. Nevertheless, the team and I have decided to use every opportunity to raise as much as we can before the 6 May, when the campaign finishes. We have been able to increase the donations, even amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

This experience has helped us to improve our management skills, especially within the online learning environment. The team has developed good researching skills from this experience. On a personal note, I have hugely improved my negotiation and communication skills as we connected with many corporations to support us. Plus, leadership skills as the team leader of this project.

To find out more and to donate, visit our website.

Author: Mohammed Almusawa.