Fundraising pioneers

Generate Radio, Oscar, Donald, Kyle.
Generate Radio, Oscar, Donald, Kyle.

Duns Youth Centre and Generate Radio are among the first projects in the Borders to adopt a pioneering fundraising approach, which was used by president Obama during his election campaign.

SoLoCo - a new, online fundraising approach, opened its ‘virtual doors’ from the Borders to communities and charities across Scotland last week.

Crowdfunding connects communities online by allowing projects or causes the chance to appeal directly to the public – or crowd – for funds for a specific campaign over a 60-day period.

SoLoCo, which launched last week, is the first ever dedicated crowdfunding website for the Third Sector – and its founders want it to revolutionise how communities and charities are funded in this country.

The new venture is the brainchild of Borders woman Kirsty Burnham, and is operating out of the Harestanes Centre, near Ancrum. As well as launching the site, SoLoCo are also using it to crowdfund themselves.

The SoLoCo launch comes as the Third Sector faces an increasingly tough financial climate, battling reduced income from statutory funding against increased demand for services in some areas.

Duns Youth Centre and Generate Radio are both signed up to crowdfund through the new SoLoCo site, and are hoping for massive local support.

Steve Wright, manager at Duns Youth Centre, explained: “We are really excited to be involved with Kirsty’s new project and are hoping to raise £15,198 for our Connect Multi Media Project. The funds would be used for a youth worker to help the young people to develop their skills in film-making and radio production.”

Kyle Wilson, Generate Radio director said: “To be involved with this is just excellent. We are hoping to raise funds for our FM fund so we will be able to benefit the whole of Berwickshire more so than we are now. We will be targeting 20,000 residents across Berwickshire!”

SoLoCo Founder Kirsty Burnham added: “We believe SoLoCo can help revolutionise the future of funding in the UK. We want to make it easier to raise funds, and in time make it easier for organisations to be become less reliant on the ‘traditional’ funding bodies.

“We also want to help improve the visibility of our communities and all the amazing work happening on the ground every day. Crowdfunding has already made a huge difference to the arts, music and even Obama’s political campaign – now we want it to change communities.”

The idea is that a project uploads its crowdfunding campaigns to the SoLoCo website in a few easy steps.

They then have 60 days in which to fundraise, with a heavy focus on social media.

Projects reaching their target keep all the money, while those who don’t keep the money raised, and can use it to apply for match funding.

The official launch of the project’s site onto a worldwide stage takes place in Glasgow on September 19 as part of Social Media Week.

Successful crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter in America have seen hundreds of thousands raised for arts projects.

Kirsty added: “The ‘virtual doors’ are now open for projects across the Borders and the UK to start their own crowdfunding campaign through the SoLoCo site, giving them access directly to the public, a wider network than they have already, and without having to organise any sponsorship activities.”

To view Duns Youth Centre, Generate Radio and the SoLoCo profile and make a donation visit www.soloco.co.uk/findoutmore.html.

Sticking with fundraising, Generate staged their own unique fundraiser last week when presenter Donald Strachan did a 24 hour continuous broadcast.

Donald and the rest of the Genertate team were fuelled with special baked goodies including an Around the Globe cake and homemade tablet.

Lots of friends and wellwishers popped in to the station’s Market Square studios to keep Donald going, although he didn’t need too much help as he displayed the energy of a man half his age!

He was supported by many local and international bands and played some radio exclusives alongside a mix of rock, blues, pop, punk, indeed no genre was left untouched in the 1440 minutes of airtime.

Generate relies on funding and donations and is applying for FM status this autumn. To donate visit www.generateradio.com.