Disability Crowdfunding Campaigns within the UK

By: Daniella Jade Lowe

I am writing this report about crowdfunding campaigning in the UK, as part of my research for the Purple Vote Campaign, in conjunction with the Legacy International Group.

Before carrying out my research for this report, I was of the assumption that crowdfunding campaigns were only politically driven. However, to my surprise I am wrong.

What is crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is a different way to raise money for good ideas. People are increasingly bypassing more traditional funding routes such as bank loans or grants and turning instead to the people around them and in their community to support their venture. It’s been around for centuries but the internet makes it possible to reach much bigger audiences than before.

There are various types of crowdfunding campaigns such as:

  • donation-based crowdfunding
  • Reward-based crowdfunding
  • Debt crowdfunding
  • Equity crowdfunding

DISABILITY CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGNS IN THE UK

Crowdfunding Campaigns are quite popular in the UK.

SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGNS

According to my research, there have been some successful disability related crowdfunding campaigns within the UK.

For example, Access Enable 1st Start Up is one disability related crowdfunding campaign, that was created to break down the social barriers disabled people face in everyday life by educating businesses about Disability, Access, and Inclusion. On 27th February 2018 they successfully raised £125 with 6 supporters in 56 days.

Another campaign is Brainhead which was launched in 2013. BrainHead is an app developed by the Autism Diagnostic Research Centre which was successful because it ultimately led to £10,000 being raised through Crowdcube, (a crowdfunding platform) in addition to the project’s £150K grant.

Disabled People Against Cuts in London also held a ‘Rights not Charity’ crowdfunding campaign. On 25th November 2019 they successfully raised £1,929 with 53 supporters in 28 days.

Ability Today had a ‘Turning Disability into Ability’ campaign which was successful because they raised £6,700 on November 13th, 2019 with 160 supporters in 69 days.

Alan Barnes Fund was successful, because they topped £300K in four days. The original target of the Alan Barnes Fund was £500. The Alan Barnes Fund was a personal appeal for health and medical reasons.

https://fundraising.co.uk/2015/02/02/crowdfunding-campaign-alan-barnes-tops-300k-four-days/

UNSUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGNS

On the other hand, there have also been unsuccessful disability related crowdfunding campaigns within the UK.

For example, Support disabled people in society. Their goal is to make websites accessible for everyone. Their vision is to support disabled people in society. Unfortunately, this project was not successful. https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/make-websites-accessible-for-everyone

AME Communicate offers three app-based products for people who are visually impaired, hearing-impaired, and non-native English speakers. They comprise AME Sight (an all-in-one screen magnifier, reader, and character recognition app), AME Translate (which enables users to communicate in other languages via pre-loaded phrases and words) and AME BSL (a British Sign Language interpreter and translator). This campaign was unsuccessful.

Why?

“Crowdfunding didn’t allow us to fully represent our goals and show the products off to their best advantage,”

Teleford admits.

Grippoz, an innovative wheelchair push-rim cover, crowdfunding made the prospect of developing and mass-producing the product feasible, but it failed, unfortunately, because the Grippoz Kickstarter campaign was only able to raise £5195 of the team’s £22,500 goal.

The Peers Connection Group was an unsuccessful disability crowdfunding campaign.

Disability Snowsport UK was also an unsuccessful disability crowdfunding campaign.

Additional reasons why crowdfunding campaigns are unsuccessful

Another reason why crowdfunding campaigns fail is due to the lack of momentum within the first 48 hours of launching. It is crucial that you reach a third of your target within 48 hours of launching. If you do not achieve that, studies have shown that campaigns are not likely to succeed.

https://www.fundingcentral.org.uk/Page.aspx?SP=6549

https://www.startups.com/library/expert-advice/crowdfunding-pros-cons

People with disabilities should not need to crowdfund in order to afford basic independence.

However, I suppose crowdfunding campaigns are a good alternative to charity in the face of austerity. Crowdfunding campaigns for a disability focussed political campaign sounds very effective.

For example, Cambridge Green Party raised £300 from 10 supporters. Unfortunately, campaigning also requires money for leaflets, letters, posters, ads and more. https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/VirgilGreen

Additionally, Wales People’s Assembly against austerity, is another crowdfunding campaign that was successful. This was an anti-austerity campaign involved in organising events to protest, protect and fight austerity which negatively affects the most vulnerable. On 25th June 2015 they successfully raised £10 with 1 supporter in 28 days.

Based on my findings, there is seemingly more successful disability focussed crowdfunding campaigns in the UK than there were unsuccessful disability focussed crowdfunding campaigns.

As a result, I conclude that crowdfunding campaigns are the best and most effective way to make money, especially for a disability focussed political campaign. It will also be the most modern and effective way to build momentum and raise awareness for disability advocacy and political causes.

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