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  • Two very different highlights this week: Crowdfunding and traditional architecture (Weekly blog, 16 October 2016)

    Posted on October 16, 2016
    A blog by Catherine Leonard, Secretary-General

    Last Sunday we heard that INTO had been accepted onto the Global Giving Winter 2016 Gateway to Crowdfunding Challenge.   Exciting stuff.   We had applied in a bit of a hurry as Dan spotted the opportunity just days before the deadline and Noémie had just been on a Giving to Heritage Crowdfunding training course.

    And we’re now on an amazing, thrilling and unstoppable crowdfunding rollercoaster! On Tuesday, I attended an introductory Global Giving webinar closely followed by a second on Thursday about how to create a successful project page.


    A slide from the Global Giving webinar

    There is so much learning to share already! I know some of our INTO members have more experience in this kind of fundraising than others but the tips I’ve gleaned so far from the Global Giving training are:

      1. Importance of network mapping to build your crowd – crowdfunding is definitely not just a question of putting something on a website, expecting people to find it and give their money away!
      2. Need to describe the issue (problem we’re trying to solve); the place (why it is unique to this part of the world); the people involved; the idea (our unique perspective to try and solve the problem); the motivation (our back story)
      3. Projects that make 30% of their target in the first week are most likely to succeed
      4. Generate a lot of noise pre-launch and get family and friends to give early
      5. Finding the right words to describe your project is important (clear and concise!) but photos and videos are equally if not more important!

    On Tuesday afternoon, Isatu Smith, Chair of the Sierra Leone Monuments and Relics Commission, popped into our London office. It was such a pleasure to meet her and to hear more about their work, particularly the project at Bunce Island which we supported with an INTO Small Grant.   Wonderful progress building a sense of local community ownership of the former slaving post – and also in drafting a new heritage bill for the country.   Isatu is a mine of information and an absolute dynamo.   I plan to write another post about our conversation which was so interesting and uplifting.

    One of the first heritage clubs in Sierra Leone (Monuments and Relics Commission)

    One of the first heritage clubs in Sierra Leone (Monuments and Relics Commission)

    Partly inspired by this meeting, we have decided to focus our pilot crowd fundraising efforts on the emerging heritage education project being planned by the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda, the National Trust of Zimbabwe and Isatu’s Monuments and Relics Commission.   It’s our job to turn their project note into a clear and concise appeal. With photos and videos.   By the end of October.  Gulp!  But I have to say that I am excited and quietly confident knowing that we have the wonderful support of the Global Giving team.  (Two more webinars and a day-long training session this coming week!)

    Obviously it would be great to create some support for this project but there is an additional benefit.  If INTO succeeds in this challenge, we can become partners of Global Giving and have access to additional future funds (they have distributed £850,000 in community grants already this year); introductions to corporate partners and access to skilled volunteering, which is all very appealing.   I hope you will all support us when the challenge starts on 14 November! Watch this space …

    CCFU video “Living and loving culture – short film by youth in cultural heritage clubs”

    On Tuesday evening, I attended a reception at the House of Lords to launch the conference programme of the INTBAU Congress.   As I said in an earlier blog, we are partnering the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism on their conference session ‘Shifting identities: How does Heritage evolve?’.  Simon Murray, INTO’s former Secretary and Senior Director at the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, will chair and we are selecting additional speakers from the INTO network.   It’s such a great opportunity to connect with this influential network of people involved in all aspects of traditional building, architecture and urbanism.  I hope some of you may join us at the conference.

    As part of our partnership, I had the honour of sitting on the Selection Panel of the 2016 INTBAU Excellence Awards.  The belief that traditional building can help us create better places to live is definitely alive and well – as shown by the 45 strong entries: a wealth of inspiring ideas that contribute to the development of local identity, support environmental resilience and teach valuable lessons.  Reading the submissions was inspirational and humbling – what a responsibility to select the winners!   It was a privilege to be part of such a distinguished panel of judges and I look forward to the presentation of the Awards on 15 November.

    Thanks for reading!


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