How Crowdfunding Works
Many supporters make small, one-off gifts to help fund projects. To help this process along, Project Creators offer rewards and incentives in return for donations and donations are only collected from supporters where a project meets its minimum funding target.
Who can be a Creator?
University of Bristol's crowdfunding platform has been created for the benefit of students, so a Project Creators must be a member of the University's community.
Crowdfunding is an inherently public process so, for child protection reasons, Project Creators have to be at least 16 years old.
How much can Creators raise for projects?
University of Bristol supports all sorts of projects, from big to small. Project Creators are unlikely to raise funds for projects worth more than £5,000 through Bristol Crowdfunding alone. However, if your project idea is worth more than this, we would still love to hear from you though; it will just be the case that we will need to help you explore other areas of funding too.
How does match funding work?
For student-led projects, the Global Engagement Division will match 50% of the minimum project target, up to a total match-fund of £500. This means that every donation will be worth double until the match amount is reached. To be eligible for this funding, your project must that benefit an exceptional number of Bristol students or have an emphasis on giving opportunities to students who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford them. The funding available at Bristol to support current students in this way is only possible due to the generosity of our alumni. Please note: the criteria is subject to revision on a yearly basis and there is only limited funding available each year.
Can Crowdfunding be used towards Bristol PLUS?
Yes, this activity counts for the Bristol PLUS Award. You will need to show engagement with the resources and guidance provided by the Bristol Crowdfunding fundraisers and be able to evidence your project promotional efforts. If your project does not reach its fundraising target, you will still be able to use this activity towards the Award as long as you engaged with the crowdfunding process to the best of your ability. Your project team can comprise of up to 5 students; you are all able to use this activity towards the Award should you be able to provide evidence of your individual contribution towards the crowdfunder. Your person of contact from Bristol Crowdfunding will be able to verify your involvement in the project should you require a referee for your Bristol PLUS Award application.
Can I change my profile name?
Make sure you're logged in, go to 'account', and click on the 'edit profile' button.
I forgot my password. How can I log in?
You can reset your password by clicking the 'reset your password' link on the login page. You will be sent an email that contains a link to gain access to your account.
How do I delete my account?
Contact us using our contact form! We'll miss you!
Can I change my email notification settings?
You will only receive emails about projects which you are following. To stop receiving these, go to the project page and click 'Follow' - when the pink heart is absent you won't receive email updates. If you no longer wish to receive our newsletter, click on 'Unsubscribe' at the bottom of any newsletter.
Who runs Bristol Crowdfunding?
Bristol Crowdfunding is managed by the Global Engagement Division (GED). GED sources funding for projects which inspire positive change amongst our students and staff. We also help the global community of Bristol graduates enjoy a rewarding and lifelong involvement with the University.
I want to know more about the Global Engagement Division (GED)
Starting your project
Can I be a Project Creator?
Anyone who is a member of the University of Bristol community – students, academic or professional services staff of the University - can become Project Creators. You must also be at least 16 years of age.
What type of project can I post?
Your project must fall under one of the following themes:
- Climate and Environment
- Student Experience
- Widening Access and Participation
- Arts, Culture, and Community
- Enterprise and Innovation
We welcome a wide range of project ideas, but for your submission to be successful, you must also provide a fundraising target with a breakdown as to how you will spend the funding and be able to explain the benefit that the project will have on Bristol's community.
A few rules do apply and you can see these in the Bristol Crowdfunding Guidelines.
I just need general funding. Can I post on Bristol Crowdfunding?
Just seeking support doesn't really constitute a project. However, that doesn't mean you can't turn it into one. Think about how you could break this down for potential supporters. How will you spend the funds? What will they allow you to do? Over what period will the funds be used?
For advice on how to create an awesome project visit the Bristol Crowdfunding Academy.
I'm raising money for charity. Can I post on Bristol Crowdfunding?
Here at Bristol, we love that so many of our students and staff want to support so many great causes, both locally and further afield. However, Bristol Crowdfunding is a University-based platform, and can only be used to support projects which benefit Bristol’s people – whether that’s students, staff or the University’s wider community.
Are a minimum needed, funding target and completion date required?
If you are a student and your project fundraising is successful, we will contact you to arrange the secure transfer of funds. If you are a member of staff we will be in touch to arrange the allocation of funds to your project.
You can find out more about how we collect donations and transfer these to Project Creators under ‘Transfer of Funds’ in our FAQs.
Are rewards required?
They are encouraged! We've found that offering a reward for a donation helps supporters to engage with your project and encourages donations. The better your rewards, the more likely you are to reach your funding target. But remember, you only need to deliver your rewards if your project reaches its minimum needed and after you have received your funding as the rewards will be generated as part of the execution of your project idea.
For advice on choosing rewards, check out Hubbub's Rewards Guide.
Who creates the rewards?
You, the creator, create the rewards. The better they are the more likely you are to get donations. However, the cost and number of rewards are also controlled by you, so do consider this when choosing them.
What can be offered?
We leave this largely to you, but the best rewards aren't necessarily the most expensive, in fact, they are the ones that are most exclusive and personalised to your project. This might be a copy of the CD recorded, a limited edition of the magazine, a signed print of the show. Many creators will also wish to offer experiences – a behind the scenes tour, tickets to a show, a concert or a society dinner are popular. Then there are various forms of accreditation reward ranging from a mention on your website or in your magazine to naming something after a supporter. Anything that seeks to build a relationship with supporters is a great approach.
For advice on choosing rewards, check out Bristol Crowdfunding's Rewards Guide.
What cannot be offered?
No alcohol or drugs please! Investment, loan solicitations and coupons or discounts on future goods are also forbidden. Investment, loan solicitations and coupons or discounts on future goods are also forbidden as well as offering raffle tickets, lotteries and sweepstakes.
Can I limit the quantity of a reward?
Yes. When you add a reward to your proposal, you will be asked to specify whether it is in limited supply and, if so, how many you are able to provide.
How can I get suporters' information to give them their rewards?
We will collect all of the information you need for you and make it available to you after your completion date if your project is successful.
Why doesn't the number of supporters match the number of rewards?
Supporters have the option of selecting a reward beneath their donation level or to select no reward at all.
What happens after I submit my project?
The Bristol Crowdfunding Team will review your submitted project. In the meantime, you will need to put together a plan to promote your project. For advice on how to promote your project, you can visit the Promotion section of Bristol Crowdfunding Academy.
They also have some great advice and checklists in their Promotions Guide.
Can I edit my project after submitting it?
Sorry! Apart from us needing to keep reviewing amended proposals, we feel this allows too much room for creators to change the deal after supporters have made donations.
However, you can add updates to your project once published so that supporters can keep track of the latest developments.
Can I change my minimum, funding goal or completion date after submitting?
No. It is not permitted to edit your project after submission.
Can I edit my project after funding is completed?
No, otherwise creators would be able to raise money donated for one purpose and then spend it on something different. This isn't fair on your supporters.
How many projects can I post at the same time?
As many as you want. We impose no limit though it might be in your interest to keep the number of live projects low. This prevents you from exhausting your networks of potential supporters. Supporters are unlikely to donate several times to the same person or society in a short space of time. Even if they do, their donations will be far smaller when shared between multiple projects, meaning that maybe none of your projects get funded!
Can I split funding for one project into several projects?
Yes. The advantage of doing this is that people might be more interested in one aspect of your plans than another and, in doing so, you're giving them the freedom to choose where to put their money. The disadvantages are outlined above. You must also remember that if you earn funding for one aspect of the project, but not the others, you are still obliged to complete the successfully funded project.
Can I share my project with friends before I submit it?
Yes. In the sense that you will be able to discuss what you're doing with people online and via word of mouth. However, you will not be able to send people a link to your project in draft mode (though screenshots are possible). In order for other people to view your projects prior to it going live, you will need to log in to your account and demo the project in preview mode.
Can I cancel my project?
You can cancel a project by informing us using our contact form. We will notify your supporters.
Can I retry if unsuccessful?
Yes. If you didn't reach your minimum you can re-submit your project as many times as you like. However, we recommend that you make some alterations. Why weren't you successful last time? Would a different funding target or completion date help?
You can view advice on setting these in the Academy.
What happens if funding is completed before the completion date?
Nothing! There isn't an option to end a project early. People can continue to donate even after your target has been reached so you can exceed your funding target. We have found that projects offering great rewards have managed to achieve many times their funding target!
Can I raise more than my minimum needed?
Yes. Your minimum needed is the minimum you need with which to carry out your project.
How many creators can I have on my project?
There can only be one creator account per project, but you should definitely get help from your friends and other society, club, group or department members to help create and promote it.
Can I pledge to my own project?
Sadly no. Credit card rules do not allow creators to make a payment to themselves. This prevents individuals from attempting to obtain a cash advance. Please don't try it - not even from another account. PayPal may suspend your account, but may not tell you until after the project completion date. This will mean losing all of your supporters' donations!
Where can I find supporters?
Does it cost anything to post on Bristol Crowdfunding?
No. Not a penny. This means if successful you will receive 100% of all donations made towards your project.
Do I have to make a video?
No, but a video is highly recommended as it greatly improves your chances of achieving your funding target.
Can I add a video later?
No. You can't edit a project after submitting it.
Any advice on what makes a great video?
What types of video can I use?
How large can my video's file size be?
How many images can I have?
You can only use one video, but as many images as you like! You just need to enter the web address of the image in your project description.
Can I use music on my video?
Yes, but only if you have permission to do so from its owner! Alternatively you can use any music from http://freemusicarchive.org/
Can I embed media?
You can add images to the description section of your project, but not videos.
What are Updates?
An Update is a bit like a status update on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter. It lets supporters know about developments in your project and how you're getting on. They breathe life into your project and is an essential part of the crowdfunding process. For advice on how to use them visit the Updates section of the Academy.
What media can I use in updates?
You can add images, but not videos.
Will supporters know if I've posted an update?
What is my responsibility for answering questions from supporters?
Supporters will ask you questions about your project. They may want more information on your rewards or to ask for more details about how you will carry out your project, or even for more information on you! Supporters should be answered promptly. In cases where many supporters ask the same question, you should answer with an update to your project so that anyone viewing it can see this information.
What if I can't complete my project as listed?
If this is the case you must cancel funding immediately and contact Bristol Crowdfunding for assistance. However, please be aware that this could damage your reputation and that of the university, so please do not do it lightly.
You can cancel a project by informing us using our contact form. We will notify your supporters.
What if I can't deliver a reward?
Get in touch with the supporter(s) immediately. Creators who are honest and open will find supporters to be far more forgiving. You may be asked to provide a different reward. Please also contact the Bristol Crowdfunding team and they will be able to provide further advice.
Can I be a supporter?
Yes. Anybody can be a supporter. You will need either (a) a PayPal account, or (b) a debit or credit card. The project owner decides which of these two methods of payment they will accept (or both), so the payment choices rest with them. You will be asked for your details when you pledge to a project.
How do I make a pledge?
Simply find a project you like and hit the 'Sponsor This Project' button at the right-hand side of the page and follow the on-screen instructions.
Can I pledge anonymously?
Yes. When you make a pledge you will be given the option of displaying:
- your name and the value of your pledge;
- just your name; or
- remaining completely anonymous.
Please note that you will not be anonymous to the creator - only to the public.
Is the value of my pledge made public?
Not automatically. We leave it entirely up to you to decide whether your name and contribution should be displayed as described above.
What info about me do you give to the creator?
Creators see your username, the size of your donation, and the reward you've selected. If their project is successful, we'll also give the creator your email address so that they can contact you regarding your rewards.
Will you notify me if a project I'm supporting is successful?
Yes. You will receive an email regardless of whether the project is successful or not.
Can I change my pledge?
You will not be allowed to amend an existing donation but you can add another one.
What happens if my credit card is declined?
Don’t worry, if this happens you will be sent a re-pledge link so you can make sure you have the necessary funds available and re-donate.
Can I change my reward selection?
Sorry, no. Creators need to be able to manage the number of their rewards so changes could cause problems for them. You can make another pledge if there is a reward you particularly want.
Can I get a reward if I live in a different country?
Yes. But supporters are encouraged to select a higher donation level to counter the postage and packaging cost incurred to the creators in the process of sending out rewards.
When will my reward be delivered?
If a project is successful, your reward will be delivered at the approximate delivery date stated on the creator's project page. If you would like more information, you can contact the creator directly through their profile or project page.
What do I do if the rewards haven't yet been delivered?
The delivery of rewards is a tough part of the process for creators, especially where there are large numbers of rewards to send out or they have problems with the organisations producing their rewards. Hopefully, they will communicate any problems to you and we ask for your understanding here. However, if you wish to inquire further, you can contact the creator directly through their profile or project page.
Can I trust creators?
In terms of a creator's ability to deliver, it's up to them to make the case that they can successfully bring their project to life. A creator will find it very difficult to raise funds for a project without enlisting the support of individuals in their network, as well as related organisations, and their institution.
In many cases, you will know the project creator, or you heard about the project from a trusted source. Obviously, in these cases, you will have fewer problems of trust. The advantage of Bristol Crowdfunding over other crowdfunding sites is that it's very difficult for insincere users to avoid detection and institutional redress. Plus, Bristol Crowdfunding moderates all projects that you see on the platform.
Creators are encouraged to share links to their personal websites, Facebook groups and Twitter feeds as well as any pages that show work related to the project, or past projects. Still not sure? Ask the creator a question via their profile or project page. At the end of the day, we leave it to your judgement. If you spot anything you think looks suspicious, there is a button on every project page where you can report suspicious projects.
How can I get more info about a project?
Most people will be happy with the information provided in the proposal and video. Short of visiting the creator's website, you can ask them directly! You can contact the creator directly through their profile or project page. If you have already supported a project and you would like to make your question public, you can post a comment on the project. The creator will be notified by email when you do.
Will projects be completed as described?
In terms of a creator's ability to deliver, it's up to them to make the case that they can successfully bring their project to life. Part of the Creator's job is earning the trust of supporters, especially those who don't personally know them.
What do I do if the rewards haven't yet been delivered?
The delivery of rewards is a tough part of the process for creators, especially where there are large numbers of rewards to send out or they have problems with the organisations producing their rewards. They should communicate any problems to you directly and we ask for your understanding here. However, if you wish to inquire further, you can contact the creator directly through their profile or project page.