Lessons taken on board in Scottish crowdfunding project

Crowdfunding and events website My Parks Scotland is barely three months old but its creators are already reaping plenty of lessons.

Scottish parks: given support via crowdfunding and events website. Image: Morguefile
Scottish parks: given support via crowdfunding and events website. Image: Morguefile

It is being trialled for 253 parks across Glasgow and Edinburgh as one of 11 pilot projects in the Rethinking Parks programme, which seeks new parks management business models.

The website uses crowdfunding for park projects that might not otherwise get cash from grants or councils, allowing users and supporters to donate directly.

Project manager Ian Goodman said smaller projects have seen more success than an expensive project to reinstate a bandstand, possibly because people felt they could make a tangible difference with their donation to a small project.

A small orchard that gained full funding in just three weeks from launch had a well-crafted video that was widely shared, which Goodman credited for its success.

He also offered lessons around digital engagement with the audience. The website was launched on a weekend but this proved less effective because those in the sector who would normally tweet and create a social media buzz were not at work.

Goodman warned that social media "can swallow up your time" and said it is important to have a clear strategy for promoting a new project - and to analyse your audience to ensure that promotions are effective.

"One thing we found very interesting was that we assumed we would have a big following and engage with individuals on Twitter," he added. "But actually it was the sector organisations that were on Twitter whereas the individuals were all engaging on Facebook."

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