Are you on the lookout for funding? We asked 8 social innovators from different fields, sectors and countries representing some the most successful social innovation initiatives to share their knowledge and experience with us. Check out below how they got it done!
We didn’t and this was probably the largest mistake made. Whilst the badges themselves look very simple from the picture above, the community organising work to get to this stage was significant this even before testing and iterating with Badge earners themselves. DIY fundraising for digital for social is a tricky one as it’s harder to explain than direct community impact work. For me, this would need to be a funded project to be successful – potentially looking at ‘tech for good’ type grants though I would warmly welcome people’s thoughts on this.
In the beginning we started small. Since our social innovation was an online solution, the amount needed back then wasn’t prohibitive. In the first months most of us had morning jobs and we were meeting in the evenings. My four main pieces of advice on this topic would be a) equally important to how you are going to raise money, is how you are going to manage it and how you will minimise your expenses. Especially in the beginning, it is easier to raise in-kind sponsorships and develop collaborations that will reduce your costs. Every expense saved is a way of fundraising b) in the beginning you will need to work much more than what you are paid for (IF you are paid!). You need to trust your idea and the process and one day it will pay you back. Every few months we achieved a partnership that brought more financial sustainability to the organisation than the previous 10 together c) do not build your financial sustainability based on donations, funding and prizes, but try to find a way to create value in order to become self-sustainable, and not be dependent on other people’s pockets and goodwill. In the end, you must be able to create a solution that works d) spend most of the time outside of your office, meeting people and communicating your idea. Don’t stop knocking on new doors, receiving rejections and feedback with a smile, and never stop trying.
We have two other companies that do different projects and so pay for our bread. We have the luxury to be able to work on KOBI without too much financial pressure. My advice would be to, one way or another, create yourself some financial space so that you will have the time to invest in your idea. And you can always invest at least a little time. If you need a different skill set, try and find a person with that skill set and convince them to help. Find a co-founder and do it together. You have to create something; only then can things start moving. It is very difficult to get funds if you only have an idea to show, no matter how brilliant. Every investor will tell you: Execution is everything. And it is true.
Creating events is one of the ways in which we raised money and engaged with local businesses and the local community.
We are also exploring current funding opportunities, from either the government or organizations like Small Business BC.
In our case we were lucky, because the project is a guest of the Foundation Istituto dei Sordi, that is also the owner of the building. We also accessed a tender from a foundation of banking origin that support social innovation in our region. Then we want the project to live on its own life, without any external help
Oeuvre Nationale de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte, a charity institution which distributes part of the proceeds of Luxembourg’s national lottery, launched a call for projects in the environmental field in 2017. I submitted the survcoin pilot project, which was eventually designated as a laureate. In my experience, it makes a big difference to be able to dedicate all of one’s time to a project and rely on its success for one’s living. Undertakings taken forward on a part-time basis or on the side may succeed, but it makes a world of a difference when the creators or founders embrace their project for their livelihood.
We have designed the expansion model with McKinsey, in which we define critical sectors. We define five to six critical sectors to take an approach to the international market: games, textiles, pencils, transport and society. And today we have a business model prepared and we look for a social investor but not one that is going to exploit it, because that is not it. We are looking for an investor to run this business model that costs 350,000 euros. And it is guaranteed, and it is I do not know how old. But we must have the right investor because venture capital is brutal.
We did not want to raise funds to support garment workers as a charity organisation. Instead, we wanted to build the connection in customers’ minds between the clothes they buy and the people who make them. We want customers to buy a quality product at a reasonable price and be willing to directly support the hard-working people who have been clothing the world for decades now. The improvement of workers’ lives is a continuous process, not a one-time effort, and can only be accomplished by expanding the effort so that today’s conditions (working, pricing, quality) are seen as abnormal, not the expected. Products with mass appeal create greater impacts because more people are in the market for them so will come into contact with your ideas/initiatives.
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