Crowdfunding uses the internet to aggregate relatively small sums (from £5 or £10 upwards) from relatively large numbers of people to create a crowd around the venture of perhaps 100 to 5,000 people. Buzzbnk is a crowdfunding website based in the UK but which will eventually operate worldwide specifically set up to crowdfund social ventures. The venture uses the support of the crowd to help make create something or make something happen; and the crowd is encouraged to find more people by leveraging their social networks and to contribute ideas, energy, skills and time to the development of the venture.
Unlike with traditional fundraising, Buzzbank is seen more as an investment in the social venture, and the supporter can expect some sort of return, which could be product, opportunities, attendance at events, some share of revenues arising from the project, or the repayment of the money put up where it has ben put up as a loan.
Buzzbnk has been established with a LLP format (a Limited Liability Partnership company) as a social enterprise. Its major backers include the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the Tudor Trust and the Wates Foundation plus a group of private investors. In 2012, Buzzbnk won a NESTA Innovation in Fundraising Award.
Buzzbnk is developing a range of initiatives that will bring more ventures and more fundraising on to the website. In 2012, Buzzbnk launched a crowdfunding challenge with NCVO which attracted a lot of interest. From 81 applicants, 9 were selected to compete for a £1,000 prize. It is hoped that we can make this into an annual national event. In 2013, Buzzbnk is planning to establish a match loan fund to encourage community fundraising for community ventures. Buzzbnk is developing a number of partnerships working with social incubators and funders to encourage community fundraising and with StudentFunder for students to fund their studies through crowdfunding.
To date, the most successful fundraising has been to raise over £200,000 for The Converging World in an unsecured loan and the Pants to Poverty fundraising which is raising £100,000 with interest paid both in cash and in pants.
For more information about Buzzbnk or to explore the idea of crowdfunding your own social venture using Buzzbnk, visit http://www.buzzbnk.org