Is crowdfunding just for startuppers and PR experts?
Certainly, crowdfunding might seem demanding especially in terms of communication, but that should not keep innovators and researchers from using it to find money for their projects which essentially bring innovation and development to our communities.
One of researchers who has not shied away from using crowdfunding for research is Professor Dave Goulson’s who needed funds in order to screen a range of bee-friendly plants from UK garden centers in order to identify which ones present a class of insecticide called neonicotinoids.
We have all heard about bees vanishing as a result of extensive use of neonicotinoids, right? Well, while the use of neonicotinoids on agricultural crops is fairly controlled, their use on garden flowers is much less well controlled. And Professor Goulson wanted to make sure via The “Pesticides And Bees: Keeping Bees Safe In Our Gardens” research project that the plants bought from the garden center next door are truly completely pesticides free.
Professor Goulson found a crowdfunding platform in the UK by googling and decided to give it a try with the platform specialised in crowdfunding for scientific research Walacea.
Prof. Goulson prefered CF to crowdfund the project because “it is very difficult to fund research projects nowadays, even in the UK where CF is a quite established and known practice”. Furthermore, he believes that CF, “although it does not allow to raise an enormous amount of money, it is a very useful tool to raise awareness regarding environmental and social issues.”
And awareness raising and the support the idea received across the UK was the key of success.
The campaign exceeded its goal of £3,000 by 100% and landed at £7,815.00.
The campaign received support not only from individuals but also from NGO’s and organizations related to the bee-keeping world all around the UK. Examples include: Friends Of The Earth and The Pesticide Action Network (UK). Thanks to the promotion and endorsements received by these organizations, the project reached larger crowds. Social media was particularly effective in this sense and allowed the project to obtain vast exposure.
In summary the key drivers to participation are:
- Presenting a strong argument that clearly explains potential benefits of the research Strong communication skills in order to powerfully deliver the message to the crowd without confusing people with technicalities
- Presenting a quite controversial topic
- Being able to appear on social media as much as possible in order to spread the word
- Receive the support and endorsement of organizations that are already well known in the UK
- Use a reward strategy in order to give something back to the supporters and make them feel engaged in the overall research, creating a base for future engagement.
Interested in reading more on this campaign? Read the whole case study here: http://bit.ly/Crowd4Bees
Now, we have questions for you!
How can we encourage innovators to use these instruments?
Should the EU provide dedicated training and support measures?
And if so, how should they be designed?
Let us know below in comments or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and dont forget to follow us on Twitter @crowd4inno.