'Our maths and science building was completely refurbished in 2018. We wanted to raise funds to bring science and maths alive in the new classrooms and inspire a love of the subjects. This included funding items such as digital microscopes, anatomical models, thermal imaging cameras and LEGO Mindstorms kits.
We decided to try crowdfunding as it has become such a mainstream way to raise money. One parent had worked with Crowdfunder before so knew how it worked, and it seemed to tick all the boxes for our project.
We started planning in January 2018 and launched the campaign in May. To begin with we had a fairly small band of parents and staff, who worked intensively to promote the project to parents and businesses. As the campaign got underway, the supporter base grew and grew. We promoted it via emails to students and their families, posters ?in the school and local businesses, social media, press releases to local media and in local primary school newsletters. On our website we had a totaliser shaped like a science flask!
We offered a range of rewards, from lower amounts up to larger sums of money. This meant lots of people got a reward - not just the big donors. We offered keyrings handmade by pupils for £25, an invitation to the opening ceremony and your name on a sponsors' board for £100, and sponsorship of a classroom for £500.
We had a little dip in support midway, but by pushing the message of having a limited time to reach the target we received a lot of donations at the end. We exceeded our £25,000 target, raising over £29,000, through donations from just over 200 people and organisations.
Crowdfunding is relatively easy to set up, but as with any fundraising campaign, success depends on having a good idea to start with and a committed band of people ?to promote it. What is great is the ease with which people can donate - in that respect it is easier than fairs and raffles, etc. Moreover, limiting the campaign to one month really seemed to concentrate the minds of supporters.'
Jo Godbolt, business manager, Oathall Community College, Haywards Heath, West Sussex (1,000 pupils)