Manchester Disc Golf – Crowdfunding in Trafford

Someone throwing a frisbee at a basket.
Fling! (Photo courtesy Manchester Disc Golf)

A month or so ago, I wrote about a Nesta event that I went to which was all about Digital Social Innovation. At the time, I didn’t have any Trafford-specific examples of crowdfunding, to give an example of it in use.

Now I do!

Longford Park is a big park in the North of Trafford. It used to have a pitch and putt  course, but this is no longer in use. Trafford Council and Friends of Longford Park asked Didsbury Ultimate Frisbee For Amateurs (DUFFA), to help set up a disc golf course on the site.

Disc golf is like normal golf, except you throw a Frisbee at a basket, rather than hit a ball towards a hole. DUFFA set up Manchester Disc Golf to handle the campaign.  The idea being that they would raise enough funds for a 9-hole course.  Any additional money raised would go towards buying additional holes, with the aim of creating an 18 hole course (the nearest one to here is in Leamington Spa).

The course would be free to play, by anyone, at any time – though people would need to bring their own discs, or hire them from the café. Manchester Disc Golf are hoping that the course would act as a focus for the creation of a new community of players and volunteers, of all ages.

So – to the crowdfunding part. Manchester Disc Golf worked out that to pay for the course and equipment, they would need £5,500. They applied to Trafford’s Voluntary Sector Grants in July 2014, and were awarded some money (about £3k), which left a couple of thousand to raise.

To help with raising the funds, the group set up a campaign page on Indiegogo – a website for ‘activating the global community to make ideas happen’.

As well as the amount to be raised, and an indicator of progress against the target, the group have added a video, a description of planned activity, and a breakdown of the costs.

Campaigns are time-limited, to stop them dragging on, but this campaign is also set-up so that even if all of the targeted funds aren’t raised, the group still get everything that has been contributed – some crowdfunding models have a rule that if all of the money isn’t raised, then all money is given back to donators (this would be applicable  where the project could not happen without all the funds. In this case, less money raised just means fewer holes).

People contribute money in exchange for ‘perks’ – with a sliding scale of reward, from a mention on the website, to hole sponsorship (ie advertising space). Awareness of the campaign is raised through social media, leaflet drops, open days and word of mouth.

So far – the campaign site is showing (at 11 November 2014) 89% of funds raised, with 6 days to go.  This , I would say, is a success, and a pretty good demonstration of how crowdfunding can be used to support new community projects.

If any groups are interested in exploring how crowdfunding may be able to help them, this piece from Charity Comms is a good place to start.

Disc golf course map and leaflet
Disc golf course map and leaflet

Sidenote: I actually went to the open day on the 9th November 2014 to have a go. It was really good fun – good exercise, fresh air, and pretty intuitive. I didn’t keep track of my score, though, because I had one eye on the children (who LOVED it), trying to keep them away from the part of the course that the map euphemistically describes as being ‘boggy’.

Data Driven Trafford