Crowdfunding Pioneer: the story of See The Difference

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Show me the difference

Back in 2008 every piece of research we looked at (over 10 years worth), national consumer surveys and our own focus groups and our friends, colleagues and families told us the same story.

Givers first concerns were constant: where does my money go, what difference does it make?

Show givers where their money was going and the difference it was making and they’d give more the theory went (and maybe arrest the decline in the percentage of the population giving too).

Simples.

SeeTheDifference: crowdfunding pioneer

BBC TV producer Dominic Vallely quit his job and started assembling an awesome team to develop the vision and raise the money to get it started.

The vision was a state of the art site packed with amazing charity projects brought to life in video, where you could browse and choose the differences you wanted to make.

Projects were engaging, transparent and ranged across every type of activity and price point, givers were also promised feedback right from the horse’s mouth, direct from the people they helped.

We wanted to make what you gave to part of who you are and it was designed to be social, shareable and repeatable from the start. Take a look at the video at the top if you haven’t already.

I’m in ..

We needed to raise £2mill to build the concept, so we hit charitable foundations, philanthropists and companies, completing over 100 Dragon’s Den style pitches. In 6 months we got to £1.75mil pledged, success was in sight.

Then the world collapsed.

Remember this kind of stuff:

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And our promised £1.75mil collapsed to under £100k in less that two weeks.

The dream was over.

Pivot or die

We had a big idea but a tiny amount of cash.

So we flipped the model (also known these days by the fancier name of ‘pivoting’).

If people and companies didn’t have cash to give as they battled for their financial life, we’d ask for resources and time (people had a lot of time on their hands as their companies froze up) and we’d crowdbuild the idea. We’d crowdbuild a crowdfunding site.

The much loved Conchango, our friends at virginmoneygiving, Reed Smith, Accenture and Microsoft, oh and about 714 other people helped us get the idea moving. And 36 founders also dug deep into their personal pockets and gave us start up cash at a time when nobody knew what was coming tomorrow. We thank all of them.

A hectic autumn and spring saw virtually an all volunteer team open an office, create a legal organisation, build the site, train and work with 150 charities to create video projects and go live and keep on the fundraising treadmill to keep raising bits more to keep the project moving.

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Vuvuzela’s at the ready …

We launched during the World Cup in 2010 with support from over 150 UK charities from large household names like Oxfam, Macmillan’s, Children’s Society right the way through to tiny community organisations.

Our very first project to hit its goal within days was this footy project in Africa, thanks to a passionate support from Conchango and tweet help from Sarah Brown. Click the picture for the full story.

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Other projects started to attract attention and support.

We were about to start a new era of transparent giving.

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4 thoughts on “Crowdfunding Pioneer: the story of See The Difference

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