About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Crowdfunder - a crowdfunding platform for community groups, businesses, charities and social enterprises

Jessica Ratty is the head of public affairs at Crowdfunder, where she manages corporate communications and external network marketing, working with brands, local authorities and grant-makers across the UK to support fund distribution to crowdfunding projects.  

We caught up with Jess for a quick chat about Crowdfunder and how the plaform helps businesses, social enterprises, communities, and individuals crowdfund to make their great ideas happen.

Why should charities, community groups and social entrepreneurs be excited about crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is the perfect way to turn your idea into reality, whether you're looking to raise a couple of hundred pounds or tens of thousands of pounds to bring your project to life. You could be someone with a great idea, a sports club, a food or drink producer, an event organiser, a community group, a start-up, a great cause, a charity, or a business in need of some funding and extra support, and Crowdfunder can help make it happen.

Why was Crowdfunder set up and what are you hoping to achieve?

Crowdfunder was created to help people raise funds to make their great ideas happen. 

Crowdfunder's aim is to help as many projects as possible and unlock funding from brands, local authorities and grant-makers to further support crowdfunding projects.

How can your platform help people or organisations interested in fundraising for a good cause?

Crowdfunder has raised over £25 million for great ideas across the UK and with a growing team, offers a wide range of experience, guides, online content and support for all projects looking to raise funds from the crowd. We regularly post inspirational stories, host online hangouts and work with our partners to support even more projects.

Could you give an example of what a typical Crowdfunder project looks like?

Each crowdfunding project is unique, and rightly so, but some of my favourites are the ones which take on board all of our advice and really go for it. Community projects have a special place in my heart, as do inspirational businesses looking to change the world.

A great example of a smaller community project is the Herne Hill Piano, where a community crowdfunded nearly £6,000 to replace their street piano with over 200 supporters.

A business that’s looking to change the world is Glen Wyvis, a community shares project that crowdfunded its share issue with us and raised over £2.5 million to open Scotland’s first community-owned whiskey distillery. The poet, Lemn Sissay also crowdfunds each year to provide a Christmas dinner for people who’ve left the care system. He’s raised over £50,000 to date and is one of my personal heroes!

Are there any unique features of your platform we should know about?

Crowdfunder offers rewards-based crowdfunding (offering rewards in return for pledges), community shares crowdfunding (where organisations can become 'owned by the crowd' through offering shares in projects that benefit a community) and we also support and advise on equity crowdfunding projects. 

Crowdfunder has over £2.5 million of extra funding to support a wide range of community, charity, business and individual crowdfunding projects across the UK. Projects are able to apply for the extra funds through Crowdfunder and partners are able to pledge direct onto eligible crowdfunding projects.

If you could give three tips to someone using crowdfunding for a good cause what would they be?

1) Map your network - who are your friends and family, what organisations can help share your idea, how many email newsletters can you get featured in?

2) Set a realistic target - you can always over-fund and make sure your rewards are wide, varied and incredible value for money.

3) Create a marketing plan to rival any other. Know exactly what's happening at each stage of your crowdfunding project being live and plan it well.

You can learn more about Crowdfunder and the projects the organisation supports at www.crowdfunder.co.uk

Crowdfunder recently published ‘95 tips for crowdfunders, from crowdfunders’ which you can download here.

Alongside extra funds for project owners, Crowdfunder has £125,000 of extra funding for artists crowdfunding their great ideas, as well as another £125,000 of extra funding for heritage projects.

Read the other interviews with crowdfunding platforms.

Photo Credit: Herne Hill Piano


Jonathan Bone

Jonathan Bone

Jonathan Bone

Mission Manager, healthy life mission

Jonathan works within Nesta Cymru (Wales), focusing on working across public, private and non-profit sectors to deliver innovative solutions that tackle obesity and loneliness in Wales.

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Peter Baeck

Peter Baeck

Peter Baeck

Director of the Centre for Collective Intelligence Design

Peter leads work that explores how combining human and machine intelligence can develop innovative solutions to social challenges.

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Jess Ratty

Jess Ratty has worked in the PR and communications industry for the last 15 years and now manages the brand communications for Crowdfunder, one of the UK’s largest crowdfunding network…