Red Squirrels: A Future in the Forest, a Crowdfunding project from Scotland

Here is an opportunity to contribute to a crowdfunding project in Scotland combining Red Squirrels, a life time passion and some stunning  photography.

Today  sees  the  launch  of  a  crowd  funding  campaign  to  raise  funds  for  The  Red  Squirrel:  A  Future  in   the  Forest  -­‐  an  exciting  new  photo  book  from  wildlife  photographer  Neil McIntyre,  with  words  from   celebrated  author  Polly  Pullar.

The  book  will  be  packed  with  Neil’s  jaw-­‐dropping  images  and   evocatively  portrays  not  only  the  lives  of  his local  squirrels,  but  the  forest  home  they  depend  on.

The   crowd  funding  campaign  runs  throughout  November  and  is  all  or  nothing.  Any  support  you’re  able  to   provide  is  hugely appreciated,  whether  it’s  spreading  the  word  or snapping  up  an  exclusive  reward.

UPDATE: Project raised in excess of £25,000 through crowdfunding – well done to the team! It certainly shows that with a good idea, excellent networking and a good team, environmental crowdfunding can really bring success. 

Visit the campiagn on Kickstarter here

Photo and video credits: Neil McIntyre

A Great Place

October has been spent meeting some interesting people – perhaps you may know some of them from my mosaic – and in visiting places around the island to get to know my new home.  I am learning a lot of what the Island has got to offer and what it has not.

Finding the funds to do valuable work is a common theme when talking to people be it on church or parish projects, landscape improvements or those working on regeneration projects such as the Pluto Project in Sandown, mentioned in my last blog.  It is good to know that crowdfunding is being talked about with enthusiasm and hopefully my crowdfunding video – tips for success will be of help to those who have yet to venture into this form of fundraising.

I was really chuffed that On the Wight chose one of my photos, Abstract Sands to be their photo of the week – particularly pleasing for me as most of my photography tends to be of people rather of landscapes.

The two best venues I have been to this month are the Piano Cafe in Freshwater which serves excellent coffee and the Neil Williams Gallery in Ventnor whose landscape photography is truly stunning. The Island is certainly a great place and I look forward to seeing more of it and meeting new people in the months to come.

Crowdfunding Nature – evaluation video on recent work to test the effectiveness of crowdfunding for wildlife organisations in the East of England

Crowdfunding Nature – Project Update (June 2016)

Keep the Nightingales Singing!

Project update: As part of the Crowdfunding for Nature project, Natural England and local charity Nene Coppicing and Crafts raised £5200 from 90 backers from the UK crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder.
Crowdfunding Nature is an initiative run by the East of England Biodiversity Forum and managed by PJ.elements and CrowfundUK. The initiative is currently undergoing evaluation and a short video of the lessons learned to help other environmental organisations with crowdfunding campaigns will be out soon.

Crowdfunding Nature underway

The Crowdfunding Nature initiative is now well under way with Froglife successfully raising over £3500 for their nature reserve project in Peterborough.

Three other campaigns are currently live and it would be great if you could support them;

They include
The Greensand Trust’s Love a duck:http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/love-a-duck/

The National Trusts Dormice project: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/giving-the-dormice-of-danbury-a-home/

And the Wildlife Trust BCN’s Great Fen Project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wildlifebcn/great-fen-great-fun

The East of England Biodiversity Forum with the support of Natural England is testing the effectiveness of crowdfunding to help raise the profile and funding for nature based activities in the East of England. The cost of maintaining and further improving sites of high nature conservation interest is significant.

These costs are further increased when public access, learning and education programmes are being encouraged on these sites. As funding from the more traditional sources is becoming more and more competitive crowdfunding is being looked at as a way of boosting funds for specific projects.

However, if the ‘crowd’ doesn’t pledge anything towards the projects then they won’t proceed. One project from Froglife has already been successful in raising £3500 for their nature reserve in Peterborough, 3 more projects have now gone live, some with only a couple of weeks left to raise the funds.

PS. All the video’s are worth watching – great fun was had by all!

Crowdfunding Nature Workshop

Through the East of England Biodiversity Forum we are encouraging 6 projects to be worked up as crowdfunding campaigns  to be launched over the coming months.

All of the projects covering the counties of Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire will have a focus on nature and will aim to test and demonstrate the effectiveness of using crowdfunding as a mechanism to raise funds and profile for nature conservation work.

The workshop in November gave the participating groups an opportunity to learn more about how crowdfunding works and to help each other build a stronger case for their individual campaigns.

Some of the feedback included:

  • De-mystifying the whole crowdfunding thing and helped that it was such a friendly atmosphere;
  • Aware now of how to build a strong campaign and avoid the pitfalls;
  • Pooling collective ideas and experience.

    Crowdfunding Nature workshop, Cambridge

    Crowdfunding Nature workshop, Cambridge

The workshop was facilitated by Anne Strachan of CrowdfundUK and funded by Natural England.

Pete Johnstone of PJ.elements said, If crowdfunding can deliver benefits for business, then it can work for nature too, we have just got to get better at engaging a wider audience in the work that we do.

As the campaigns get launched we will be promoting them on this website as well as elsewhere so watch out for them and please support them if you can.

Thanks to Watergull Orchards for donating a case of their excellent apple juice for our lunch!

Urban regeneration in New York

The High Line, New York

The High Line, New York showing viewing platform

I had a great opportunity to visit the High Line in New York recently to meet some staff and volunteers who gave an excellent tour of this city regeneration initiative.

Built in the late 1920s as a freight only line the ‘High Line’ in New York served many factories and warehouses and was raised above ground to reduce congestion, improve safety and increase efficiency.

By 1980 the last train ran along the tracks and for the next decade or so the High Line became derelict and a no go area. It was only with the threat of demolition in  the 1990s that local people and city organisations came together to work out a future for the line.

And what a great example of urban regeneration it has been! I was particularly impressed with how well it is managed with a combination of the Friends of the High Line volunteers and staff and the city parks dept among others. Plus how the old architecture fits in with the modern new build of offices and homes. Now a tourist attraction in its own right the next section to be opened, with views of the Hudson River, will have minimal management where visitors  will be able to walk along a path through self-sown vegetation to contrast that of the more managed southern section.

The High Line

The High Line’s unique planting set against new build.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The High Line is well worth a visit when next in New York and hopefully inspiration for UK projects in Liverpool and London who have used Spacehive to help crowdfund and promote their work

More High Line images can be viewed here.

Environmental crowdfunding in Scotland

Well done to the charity greenspace scotland for having the initiative and for being brave enough to trial out environmental crowdfunding as a way of funding improvements to local green space in Scotland. With funding and support from Nesta’s Rethinking Parks programme and the Heritage Lottery Fund they have created their own bespoke crowdfunding platform for Scottish parks and greenspace. 

 The eventual success of MyParkScotland will no doubt lie in the hands of local communities coming up with the projects and finding the funds to make them happen themselves. However, could the wider UK (and even further afield?) parks and greenspace community give them a helping hand and  support them on their way by making a small donation online?  If we as a community can prove that environmental crowdfunding can work then friends of parks groups and greenspace organisations across the UK and elsewhere will learn and may gain from this success.

 

Julie Procter, CEO of greenspace scotland explains the background:

 

“With funding pressures, finding new and innovative ways to make the financing and management of parks and greenspace sustainable is vital to ensuring their future.  We need to make sure we maintain and keep our parks in good heart today and for the benefit of generations to come. MyParkScotland is our response to this challenge.

MyParkScotland provides a new way to raise funds for projects in parks today and to develop endowment funds to safeguard these national treasures for future generations.

Park users often told us they would like to be able to support their local park but there wasn’t an easy way to do this. That’s why we developed MyParkScotland as a safe and easy way for people to donate to support park improvement projects developed by Friends of Parks and other local groups.

What makes MyParkScotland different to many traditional crowdfunding platforms is that, as an independent Scottish charity, we are able to reclaim Gift Aid on most donations. This ‘extra funding’ is being used to build sustainability and endowment funds for Scotland’s parks. If there isn’t a current project in their favourite park, park lovers are also able to make donations through the website to a specific park or city park endowment fund.

MyPark Scotland FULL COLOUR low res

 

We’re pioneering the development of MyParkScotland in Edinburgh and Glasgow, with the intention to extend across Scotland. We hope that MyParkScotland will make an important contribution to the future sustainability of our parks and will encourage people to think about using crowdfunding as part of the project funding mix.

We would be delighted if supporters of environmental crowdfunding would take a look at the MyParkScotland website – we’d love to hear your feedback – and you might like to make a small pledge to support one of the projects!”

 

MyParkScotland is the only Scottish project within Nesta’s Rethinking Parks programme and is funded by Nesta and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Rethinking Parks aims to support organisations to develop new approaches to sustaining and making the most of the UK’s parks.

 

Pete Johnstone is an advocate of environmental crowdfunding and his case study on the subject can be seen here

Images:  © greenspace scotland

 

A new Technical Note on Crowdfunding from the Landscape Institute.

Pete Johnstone from the environmental consultancy PJ.elements was recently commissioned by the Landscape Institute to write a Technical Note on Crowdfunding for members of the Institute.

Simon Odell, Head of the Landscape institute’s Technical and Professional Services said ‘’The principle of the church spire appeal has been with us for many years, but crowdfunding in its current form is a relatively new digital method of fundraising and offers real opportunities for our members struggling on behalf of local communities on local greenspace projects to achieve a critical mass of funding in this times of public sector cuts.

But conceptually I am also interested in its potential to be a mechanism for delivering payment for ecosystem services (PES) schemes, which have yet to be fully realised.

We choose Pete to write the Technical Note for his tremendous background experience with the body now called Natural England coupled with a clear expertise in environmental crowdfunding.  In fact I haven’t encountered anyone who knows more about the subject area than he has.’’

The use of crowdfunding as a way of raising funds and profile is a proven business technique which is now being taken up by not for profit organisations in their drive to find new ways of raising funds. It is not going to work for every project and other fundraising methods may well be more appropriate. On large projects of, say £10,000 or more it may worthwhile combining different techniques to reach your goal. Though be warned crowdfunding is not the easy option – even to raise a modest amount of money takes time and commitment!

Crowdfunding only works where the public is inspired enough to make a pledge. If not enough people are inspired then the project is not funded.

Pete has written a case study on environmental crowdfunding which can be viewed here.

Pete is an Affiliate member of the Landscape Institute.   For more information on the work of the Landscape Institute visit http://www.landscapeinstitute.co.uk/

 

Nb.If your organisation would like help with developing a crowdfunding strategy or project please contact pete.johnstone@pjelements.co.uk