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Elevate: In Conversation With Jes Bailey

By January 11, 2021March 28th, 2022No Comments

Jes Bailey, founder of Crowdfund 360, supports social enterprises & charities with her recipe for success in crowdfunding campaigns.

Following a successful academic and professional career, including a role at the biggest non profit crowdfunding platform in the world, and advice from the EU Head of Indiegogo; Jes set up Crowdfund 360 to share her wealth of knowledge and expertise in the crowdfunding space with organisations she cares about and believes in. 

the underdogs have a chance

When discussing the trend towards purpose, Jes said “People have had enough of big business, big corporations screwing over people and the planet and they want to take charge of their own destinies more”

“supporting smaller, ethical businesses can be seen as an easy start to live a bit of a more ethical life”

“Many unexpected industries are opening up to the purpose movement now”

a good business adds to the world rather than takes

“A good good business is one of these that is also sustainable (in terms of its business model).

“So for me this means, it doesn’t add waste to the world, it doesn’t harm the planet or the people in any way, it doesn’t exploit anyone or anything. 

“And to be a good good business it does all this whilst being able to continue operating for years and years and years. It has a business model that can last so the jobs will not be insecure and the work can continue to benefit the world for years to come.”

the biggest challenge

We asked Jes about the key challenges organisations face when crowdfunding: “The biggest challenge I see social good organisations face when looking to crowdfund is understanding their offering.

The organisation needs to understand and decide where to align its priorities – if they don’t know, their audience won’t know and any confusion in messaging, increases confusion in the audience which decreases trust and willingness to buy.”

myth: it's doing good so people will just give

“The second biggest issue I have found with social good organisations is that they often lack a crowd.

“Some think ‘oh because it’s doing good people will just give’ but that isn’t the case – that doesn’t even work for the frontline charities. You also need to make sure you have the right crowd.

“A social good organisation needs a crowd that a) wants the solution, b) cares about the problem the solution fixes c) cares about the wider social mission and d) knows about crowdfunding. 

“It’s harder in a way to find and grow this crowd to a good enough size to raise a substantial amount of money but it’s possible and so worthwhile in the long run!”

a little experiment

Jes charges a £5 fee for initial enquiry calls. We asked why? 

“So every enquiry about crowdfunding costs me time (at least 35mins). and I get multiple enquiries every day. That’s time I’m not doing paid work, time I’m not helping a charity or good cause.

“Many platforms still portray an attitude of  ‘put the campaign up and money comes in’ – which isn’t the case (ask anyone that’s crowdfunded! That’s really why I launched my crowdfunding conversations series on Youtube).

“So I decided to put a token £5 cost on the call as a little experiment. When booking they get the message it costs £5 and it says if you launch a campaign within 3 months, I’ll back it with this £5 or, if you don’t go on to crowdfund in the next 3 months, I will give it to one of our charity crowdfunding campaigns.”

This helped Jes reduce the number of people just looking for a chat or free advice and also it shows who is serious about their social mission. 

“I once had someone pay the £5, turn up to the call and react badly to my feedback that their business didn’t fall under our definition of social good, so it wouldn’t be a good fit. 

“The caller then turned around and demanded his £5 back, which only proved my point!”

confidence (or lack of) is holding founders back

“It’s super interesting because if you don’t seem confident in your own project other people won’t believe you know what you’re doing so it is key to act confidently when presenting your project. 

“However if you’re too confident it can also backfire. Studies show both low and  high levels of narcissism put off backers.”

If you’re not feeling confident, Jes’ advice is “fake it til you make it”.

“I obviously try to instill confidence into my clients but otherwise I tell them that. One of my favourite parts of crowdfunding is when the client gets the first pledge from someone they don’t know.

“I love seeing their confidence rise because of this and see that fake confidence turn into real confidence.”

crowdfunding is hard

“I will not lie about that.

“But it really is worth it for social good organisations for all the side benefits. Not only does it bring money for the organisation but it also increases the organisation’s brand awareness, email list and social media size, as well as engagement. It gets the organisation press coverage as well as some keen loyal ambassadors and of course it is pretty sustainable. 

“Our aim is to ensure that 75% of backers give again in the future.”

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Jes Bailey of Crowdfund 360 for taking the time to talk to us. If you’re a social enterprise, “good business” or charity thats looking to raise funds, we recommend chatting to Jes

Nicola Telford

CEO & Co-Founder of Views For Change.

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