Navigating Funding Options: Exploring Crowdfunding for Local Charities and Community Projects

All charities and not-for-profit groups and projects need money. Volunteers might do everything that they do for nothing, but funds are always needed, whether it’s to provide the infrastructure that allows volunteers to carry out their roles or to literally put the tools that they need into their hands. There’s no such thing as a free lunch after all.

But how do people find the funding? And how can we, as people living in communities where so much amazing work takes place, make sure that anything that we offer in support gets to where it will do the most good?

We’re all familiar with the big players when it comes to funding – from the Big Lottery to local authorities with budgets to support voluntary and community activity, but one area that is seeing an increasingly higher profile is crowdfunding. This is usually done via a website where groups and projects can, for a small fee, host a fundraising drive allowing people to give money directly to their project. It is the digital equivalent of an old fashioned bucket collection.

You may have heard of sites like Just Giving, or Go Fund Me, but there are others and they are gaining popularity as ways in which local projects can offer a direct way for local people to support them. Often these appeals will be accompanied by blogs, or regular updates, with the group letting everyone know exactly how things are going. You don’t always get to see this with big funders. For example, you might know that your weekly Lotto ticket contributes to good causes right across the UK, but do you know what? And how?

Why not check out a couple of current projects in need of your support? The first is the Tasting Garden at Storey Gardens in Lancaster. They need about £15,000 to recreate some sculptures for the Tasting Garden and you can see more here.

The second is Morecambe Winter Gardens. They need about £45,000 to restore an historic mosaic floor. Check their appeal out here.

Both of these appeals are hosted on a website called Spacehive, which focuses on community activities, but there are others. Find out what projects near to you might be seeking support through crowdfunding and perhaps you can help them out.