Sponsorcraft is still a young company but has already established good relationships with universities and student unions nationwide. We are currently based in Bristol – a stone’s throw from Temple Meads Station which connects us with student centres across the UK.
The Sponsorcraft idea has been a few years in the making and in that time we’ve managed to amass a database of keen student volunteers for our big launch. This is scheduled for next month to coincide with the start of the university term – when we realise many of the key decisions regarding funding will be being discussed.
We are now very close to launching the website. Much dancing and merriment shall no doubt accompany this. It’s certainly exciting news for students – once our website is active, we’re all systems go! Bring on the ideas! We’ll be receiving and publishing all manner of your proposals as well as fielding any questions you might have regarding our service. Generally, we’ll be doing our very best to help you get what you need.
The basic principle behind Sponsorcraft is that you don’t need a bank of “very rich old men” to fund their old colleges and universities via magazine articles and conventional publications. We needn’t rely exclusively on them, anyway. We can help to keep ordinary graduates in contact with their old clubs and societies through online links and provide them with a whole library of different projects to sponsor. Traditional funding systems have been far too centralised resulting in insufficient money reaching the students whose endeavours need it most! Not enough is filtering down to smaller student-run groups. This is not to say that existing methods of raising money to pay for a new college library or sports facility are not worthy ones but simply that a lot more can, and should, be done!
And that’s where we come in. We open up more fundraising options to students and more sponsorship opportunities to alumni. And alumni love giving back to their old clubs and societies. We are not aiming to alienate traditional sources of sponsorship but rather to tap into a “lost generation” of potential sponsors who can now be reconnected to their universities via social networking and the web. Crowd-funding has proven a highly effective method of fundraising on sites such as Kickstarter. If we can reactivate and re-excite enough alumni by providing them with a fast, free and easy means to browse published student proposals, we don’t need to worry if each of them only gives £2. Or less.
Here are some figures that we believe are encouraging: Kickstarter, for example, has raised some $80 million dollars for 10,000 projects since April 2009. Their project success rate currently stands at roughly 44%. Impressive though this is, we expect this success rate to rise significantly within the university sector since closer connectivity between students and alumni (via social networking sites) will increase exposure to their activities.
Moreover, while Kickstarter has had tremendous success, its repeat donation rate stands at a mere 13% whereas, in university donations, this rate averages somewhere between 50 and 75%. The personal connections built over time between alumni and their old colleges, clubs and societies is likely to mean that, having donated, alumni will donate and donate again!
So what’s in it for us then? Well, yes, unsurprisingly, we will receive a small cut for every successfully funded project; listing your project or idea is free, and we don’t get a penny unless you reach your target. We do have to cover our costs, after all. The figure is currently set at 9.1% of the total (which includes an average Paypal charge of about 4% – we therefore get about 5%). Importantly for students, though, this small commission will not be subtracted from the sum you need but rather added to the target you seek to raise.
And we will only get our money once you’ve received all of yours!