How did you raise the money for your idea and what is your advice for others considering DIY fundraising?


At the beginning, your project faces many challenges, but probably the biggest is finding money to get everything off the ground.  Eight social innovators representing some of the most dynamic social innovation initiatives tells that there are many creative ways to raise funds for your project.

According to the Founder and current President of one of the 50 organizations that are changing the world, “Cibervoluntarios Foundation has different funding channels, both public and private, that allows us to develop our programs. Each contribution, either financial or in equipment, is used to the greatest number of possible activities, always completely free for end users. These are our main ways of financing that allow us to develop our programs and investing in social innovation through ICT”.

Yolanda Rueda, Cibervoluntarios

“Raising money for our use-by label was quite simple… We searched low and high for funding, but eventually found an Angel investor who understood who we were and what we wanted to do, which has provided us with the platform we’ve needed to refine our product for launch. My advice to anyone searching for funding is to start with grants. They provide free money and you often get feedback on applications if you aren’t successful you can start to understand what people do or don’t understand about what you’re trying to tackle. Plus, they don’t have the emotional weight of borrowing money from friends or family who might not be able to afford it!” says Alex Bond, CEO and co-founder of Fresh Check, who has been included in the Forbes 30 under 30 list for Europe in 2017.

Alex Bond, Fresh Check

As for Chris Obrist, the initiator of Re-BUTTON and part of the the scientific staff of FABLAB LUZERN, “I’m paid by the PlasticTwist project, and that was the basis for me to develop the ReButton press mould and create the documentation and workshops. The project itself does not need financing to continue. Bottle caps we get for free, and for the press mould we use leftover material. Of course, we need some tools like a heat gun, screwdriver and a vice. But those tools are available and free to use in our space (FabLab)”.

Chris Obrist, Re-BUTTON

The CEO of Story Bag, with more than 30 years of experience in communication as a designer, copywriter and creative director at international agencies tell us his experience from another perspective “I set up a fundraiser at generosity.com, Khaled needed a maximum of $ 1.500, to get things done during the first year. We raised that money, but there was a problem getting it through to him. Generosity’s American bank refused to pay it into a Palestinian account, because Palestine is not a recognized nation. In consultation with Generosity and with their cooperation, the raised money was transferred to my business account, and more problems arose. I could transfer money to Bank of Palestine but at a cost. As my bank is not an international bank they had to use the services of another Dutch bank that transferred to Bank of Palestine’s German affiliate bank that transferred to Bank of Palestine… Meaning that for every $ 100,- raised, about $ 50,- was lost to the banks’ administration. That was a lesson learned.

Peter Frühmann, Story Bag

“I’ve done a great deal of pitching for non-profits investments and competitions which got us the funding in different stages to create DayCape and take it to the market… I think that you need to show be extremely stubborn, frustrated, show compassion but at the same time be severely harsh with the reality. Investors, stakeholders and supporters are likely to tell you that your doing something great as a social entrepreneur. But as the same time its too easy to find excuses or convenient reasons to not support your idea… When your expressing your idea you need to argue with the mind and logic but also with the audience heart and feelings.” Says Anton Håkanson, founder of DayCape who was included in Forbes  30 Under 30 – Europe – Social Entrepreneurs 2017 and won the European Youth Award Digital Solutions with Social Impact.

Anton Håkanson, DayCape

According to the CEO of Fundación Maimona, Alejandro Hérnandez Renner, who has been working on innovation, rural development and entrepreneurship for over 25 years, both in Spanish as well as international organizations, “We have not been successful in fundraising for ourselves. Thus, we concentrated our efforts in supporting people in getting financial support for their own projects which have a clear positive impact on the rest of the population, this has proven very successful, as in the case, for example, of a social (ethical) bank called Caja Social Ezequiel Fernández Santana (http://cajasocialezequiel.org/)”.

Alejandro Hernández Renner, Fundación Maimona


“Our advice is: do it step by step. At the start we were not able to obtain a loan from a bank, so we could only enter the business slowly. We have to state that we had a lot of good business partners who allowed for longer payment terms or discounts and who gave some of the materials we needed for free. In this sense you should be careful with whom you are working and doing business, and who you trust.

Today we don’t need any loans, but if we could afford one on these days, everything could be much easier”, explains Matjan Cojhter, General manager and founder of AVANTUS employment center.

 Matjan Cojhter, AVANTUS


As explained by the c o-founder of SOFFA, an academic and a social entrepreneur who holds an award winning PHD on Social Entrepreneurship “We used cross financing from other projects and used own funding.  SOFFA is a spin-off from the Nest Social Cooperative Work Integration, whose aim is to create socially innovative business models that achieve work inclusion of excluded groups through transformational engagement, empowerment and mobilization of their talents.

Through the NEST, SOFFA secured funding through 2 European funded projects: SOFE training program, training on how to be a social and sustainable fashion entrepreneur and the SOG-TIM training program, which developed entrepreneurship training for NGOs on human trafficking and refugee crisis…

The sustainability of the program is targeted through a twofold strategy; sponsorship from Philanthropic Funds and Private Funds; and income generating approach from the production and selling of garments for our clients.”

Fiori Zafeiropoulou, Social Fashion Factory, SOFFA


Want to know more what other Social Innovators think about their projects/initiatives, their ideas, their challenges, their plans for the future, and their lessons learned. Check out the Social Innovation Academy for more interviews, answers and other topics related to social innovation.


It will be the first Social Innovation Academy in Europe, with a fully online management training programme focusing exclusively on social innovation, developed EOLAS, Limitless and with 3 other partners.


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