Turning dreams into reality: crowdfunding for social entrepreneurs

Our Head of Sustainability, Shannon Carruth, explains how crowdfunding through the ING DIRECT Dreamstarter program can help social entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground. 

1. Shannon, what inspired the Dreamstarter concept?

At ING DIRECT, we believe we have a role to play in helping people get ahead in life and in business.

We’ve always had strong links to the community, as well as a track record of doing things differently, and were exploring new ways in which we could work with our community partners to make an impact.

Through our partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), our staff volunteers were already sharing their commercial skills to help start-up social businesses develop their ideas. But we observed that many of these social businesses struggled to secure the seed funding necessary to launch their business.

That’s where Dreamstarter came in.

2. How does ING DIRECT Dreamstarter crowdfunding work?

Dreamstarter is powered by StartSomeGood, a crowdfunding platform for social impact projects.

Each crowdfunding campaign has its own fundraising goal – a ‘tipping point’- which is the minimum amount the campaign needs to raise in order to deliver the project.

Over a 4 week period, Dreamstarters promote their campaign in a number of ways – directly to their own network of supporters, via social media, traditional media and word of mouth.

Supporters pledge to financially support the crowdfunding campaign and in return, the supporter will receive a reward relative to their financial pledge. For example I might pledge $20 to support ‘Eat Me Chutneys’ crowdfunding campaign and in return I will receive a jar of chutney.

If the campaign does not reach it’s ‘tipping point’ then no pledges will be processed and the crowdfunding will be unsuccessful.

3. What are some of the ways in which ING DIRECT supports Dreamstarter?

To help Dreamstarters reach their ‘tipping point’ and be successful, ING DIRECT pledges to match up to 50% of the fundraising target for each campaign.

ING DIRECT provides ongoing support throughout their campaign both with advice and assistance during the campaign set-up, and with additional promotional support during the campaign to help our Dreamstarters enjoy a higher rate of success than traditional crowdfunding campaigns.

4. The crowdfunding concept is very popular these days. What are the benefits of crowd-funding over traditional donations?

Traditional donations are great, but they miss an opportunity to actively engage the donor in the product or service you are offering.

Pledgers to a crowdfunding campaign receive rewards for their support which gives the project an opportunity to engage them beyond the crowdfunding campaign.

5. ING DIRECT Dreamstarter has been running for 2 years now… what impact has it had? 

 We’ve run 4 Dreamstarter campaigns so far, helping raise over $617,000 for 44 social enterprises and social impact projects nationally.

It’s incredible to see just how successful these social entrepreneurs have been in bringing their dream to life, as well as how engaged their supporters have been in helping to make a difference in the community.

Jarrod Wheatley from Street Art Murals Australia and Jackie Ruddock from The Social Outfit are just two examples of social entrepreneurs who have found success with the help of Dreamstarter.

6. How can people get involved?

There are plenty of ways to participate, both in the crowdfunding stage and after the project goes live.

  • Got an idea? Crowdfunding with Dreamstarter could be your first step in getting your project off the ground. Applications are open now.
  • Know someone with an idea? Share the Street Art Murals Australia and The Social Outfit videos on your social media (remember to #Dreamstarter) and encourage your friends to apply. You never know who might have an idea for social change within your network.
  • Alternatively, support a Dreamstarter by pledging to help get their project off the ground. The first round goes live in April.

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