HUBBUB | Raising Funds by Crowd for Education

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Hubbub is a crowdfunding website for the education sector. In this article, we will look at 1) what is hubbub? 2) benefits of using hubbub, 3) why and when to use hubbub, 4) options to raise funds and fees on hubbub, 5) how to be successful on hubbub, and 6) hubbub success stories.

WHAT IS HUBBUB?

Another version of the crowdfunding model, Hubbub is a network of crowdfunding projects. Projects can be showcased to a substantial audience who can contribute with small donations in return for small rewards. The platform allows those donating and supporting a project to get involved at a development level.

Hubbub’s key focus area for crowdfunding is education and fundraising for non-profits. The platform allows integration with common preexisting processes and systems and can help connect new projects to those who have had a history of supporting similar projects. Through Hubbub, education and non-profit sectors are able to access a means of obtaining social funding for various ideas and projects that may not be able to receive funding through traditional channels. Organizations and people who are key users of this network include universities, colleges, schools, students, staff members, and charities.

The company has used crowdfunding to finance its own growth and expansion. A campaign was listed on a crowdfunding platform Crowdcube in late 2014 and successfully surpassed its goal of 250,000 Pounds by raising 395,470 Pounds through 176 investors. The company aims to use the amount raised to expand its reach in the UK higher education market as well as to explore new segments and locations.

History

The Hubbub team creates and runs different crowdfunding platforms with the flagship platform being the education sector. The company began as Sponsorcraft in 2011 and changed its name to Hubbub nearly two years later. The change in name was prompted by the need to represent the business better. The new name was supposed to signify the increasing level of activity the company wanted to see in the area of education.

BENEFITS OF USING HUBBUB

  • Access to Donors: One major benefit of crowdfunding for education and charitable organizations is that there is no longer a need to pitch to multiple funding bodies. Instead, one project listing is accessible to the most number of potential donors and the right people can view the project. Promotion for the project can be done through social media rather than holding potentially costly fundraising events.
  • Less Roadblocks: There is very little resistance and barriers in the use of the website and listing of projects. The website team helps the project through advice, promotion and support to make sure that all new and returning projects and teams are able to receive the maximum attention and funding that is possible.
  • More Independence: University budgets, committees and traditional funding bodies often tend to take a different view of potential projects and plans than a group of sponsors of all types that can be found through a crowdfunding platform. A compelling story with a solid basis in facts and information can convince sponsors to donate more easily than traditional funding sources. Difficult funding decisions are made more democratic through this process.
  • Accessible Platform: The Hubbub website is easy to access and use and helps facilitate dialogue between students and the world of potential sponsors or donors. Proposals can be made to look smart and presentable for these sponsors.
  • Promotion and Support: The website supports those listing projects and campaigns on the platform through alumni and business links that are developed over time. This network is not always available to individuals such as students and even staff and teachers. Projects have the opportunity to be featured in high profile media outlets such as The Guardian, the London Student, the BBC website as well as many local radio stations and programs.
  • Access to New Ideas: With so many projects being listed every day, others can get ideas for projects of their own. There can be an assessment of what works and how best to present the idea to potential sponsors.
  • Alumni Networks: Through the platform, current university students can reach and engage alumni for support. Once this network is established and strengthened, alumni can be kept in the loop for new and exciting projects and because of the connection, may be more likely to make a contribution.
  • Empowerment for Students: Universities often have to make cuts to funding and these austerity drives are most likely to affect student activities and clubs. Through crowdfunding, students can take matters into their own hands and continue to develop these activities through external donations.

WHY & WHEN TO USE HUBBUB

Hubbub is aimed for the education and non-profit sectors. So a project ‘crafter’ or creator must be a registered member of a university, college or a school. If a crafter is a member of an institution’s staff, then the project must be for the direct benefit of the students. All crafters need to be at least 16 years old to create a project on Hubbub .

There is no limit on the amount that can be set as a target for a project on the website. Projects may range from a 100 Pounds to as high as 100,000 Pounds.

The website also offers institutions the opportunity to build an online fundraising community. This pro-site is branded and has the same message across the website, dedicated to the community being created. It also allows members to create projects which the owner can moderate and approve. In addition to this, all donor information is owned by the institution and all funds are collected directly.

OPTIONS TO RAISE FUNDS & FEES ON HUBBUB

Hubbub charges no fees itself as a platform. Creating and listing a campaign on the website is completely free of charge. The payment gateways used to receive payments, PayPal and Stripe however do charge a fee between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent on all successfully concluded projects. The website suggests that campaign creators build this cost into their target amount to ensure that no loss of funds is felt in the project execution. If the project fails to meet its target, then no fee is charged at all.

The Hubbub business model requires a campaign to reach its minimum target amount by the completion date or no funds can be received by the campaign creator. This is mean to protect both the donor and the creator by allowing only those projects to proceed that have collected the amount necessary to take the next steps towards completion. The minimum amount can be set as low as needed but it should be enough to continue with the project.

HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL ON HUBBUB

Tips for Success

Sarah Bedford of Durham University ran a campaign to fund a production by her company Rag and Bone. Though initially faced with a slow response, Sarah and her team did not give up and managed to raise their target amount within 72 hours. Sarah’s key areas for a successful campaign on Hubbub include:

  • Don’t Give Up: Despite a slow beginning, the right actions at the right time can help achieve a target at any point during the campaign, even right at the end. This makes it extremely important to stay focused on the target and never give up.
  • Involve Friends and Family First: A good way to get the ball rolling is to involve friends, family and acquaintances in the campaign at first. This will help build up the campaign and create credibility with other potential donors and sponsors.
  • Go Beyond Social Media: Promoting a campaign through social media is vital the success of any crowdfunding campaign. But often a step further is required. Contacting potential sponsors found through social media directly sometimes proves to a more successful strategy. A personal plea makes it harder for people to say no and also makes them feel more personally invested in the project. In addition to these tips, it is also necessary to present a project and campaign in a way that it generates the right attention and interest. Some ways in which a project can be helped to stand out from the crowd include those described below.
  • Identify what makes the project unique or fun: In any project, there is some aspect that can be considered different from the rest. This can be the project itself or some aspect of the reward being offered in exchange for a donation. These things can help make the project more attractive to those who may be browsing thousands of projects on the same platform or the hundreds of other crowdfunding sources available today. Creativity is vital to the creation of a successful campaign. If a sponsor receives an exciting reward, they are more likely to share this with their network. This can lead to increased awareness and excitement about the project.
  • Use the Right Media: The importance of the right images, video and other material accompanying the campaign cannot be emphasized enough. An interesting and well-taken photo that is relevant to the campaign may be the trigger that causes a person to click on the link and get to know the project in detail. A bad photo or none at all may simply make a person bypass the campaign and move on to another. A logo should also not be a substitute for a photo. It can be incorporated with the picture but on its own a logo can present a bland and lifeless image that is too corporate in nature.
  • Use an Effective Tagline: In addition to a good photo, a catchy tagline is also important in terms of attracting audience attention as well as retaining this attention. The tagline should be the briefest possible synopsis of the project and will appear on the project card with the title of the project, a picture and a name. This tagline should be a sentence or two long at most. Rather than a witty one-liner or an abstract reference, a crowdfunding campaign tagline should be the first concrete nugget of information about your project that a potential donor sees and one that makes them want to read more, watch a video or hopefully, donate. Some sample taglines that are catchy include “Support the Oxford Women’s Blues as they take on Cambridge in the fastest game on ice” and “I’m an international sprinter looking for sponsorship to help me qualify for London 2012.”

How to Promote a Project

Once a project is created, it is necessary to promote it in all the right places to ensure that it gets the right attention and garners interest from potential donors. Most early donors are friends and family and their contribution helps encourage others to give as well. Some sources of promoting a project include:

  • Networks: The first step is to send a personal and friendly email with a link to the project to family, friends and acquaintances. The project should also be posted to social networking sites and blog if one exists. Without spamming, gentle reminders throughout the project may be helpful in maintaining interest throughout the campaign.
  • Member Networks of Your Society: If the project is for a team, club or society, the same step should be repeated for the entire group’s network.
  • Alumni Networks: Either established alumni communication channels or informal groups on social media can be a good place to reach out to alumni. If it is a group project, then a search for former members of the same group, club or department could be a good place to start. Alumni can be stirred into action with a personal message and a call to action.
  • Press and the Media: Local student newspapers and radio stations can be a good place to capture your target audience’s attention as well as to extend reach beyond a certain network.
  • Physical Presence: Flyers and posters in dorm and departments are also a good way to reach new people.

HUBBUB SUCCESS STORIES

The projects listed for funding on hubbub range across a variety of categories. Some of these categories include art and design, community, dance, engineering, environment, events, fashion, film and comedy, food, games, literature, music, photography, politics, religion, science, sports, technology, theatre and travel. Some of the successfully funded projects include:

Tibetan and Himalayan Studies: Research and Preservation

This project was listed by Wolfson College, University of Oxford. The project achieved 50,800 Pounds, just over its target of 50,000 Pounds. The aim of the campaign was for the college to create a post-doctoral research fellowship. In the current academic world, making the move from a doctorate to an academic post is often challenging and this fellowship would help bridge the gap for scholars of this smaller subject area.

The project had a pledge from the Ti-Se Foundation for a matching fund of 25,000 Pounds. Rewards offered include becoming a ‘friend of the college’ and being listed on an online donor list, invitations to the Tibetan and Himalayan study center at the college, a personalized college t-shirt with a Tibetan message and an invitation to become a part of the President’s Club at Wolfson College and be listed on the main donor board.

Grease the Musical

This project was listed by the Liverpool University Student Theatre and managed to raise a little over their target of 400 Pounds. The society is student run with limited funds. The money made in each show is used to put on future performances and with the costs of acquiring rights and the required technology, shortage of funds is often an issue. The rewards offered include a personalized tweet and a follow on Twitter, a special mention in the program, a signed poster, two free tickets, and for a higher pledge amount, all of the rewards combined with the opportunity to meet the cast.

Help Carla Get to the World Karate Championships in Bremen

This project was listed by Carla Burkitt of Middlesex University. She managed to raise 544 Pounds of her 950 Pound target, reaching her minimum target amount. Carla is part of the England Karate team and has attended European and World Championships winning several awards. The team is self-funded and is on the way to attending the Senior World Karate Championships in Bremen, Germany. The funds are being raised to pay for flights, hotel and an essential kit for the competition. Attending this competition will help improve world rankings which will be beneficial for the first ever Karate feature in the European Olympic Games.

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