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.

Spacehive - crowdfunding local projects to transform public spaces

Aaron O'Dowling-Keane runs the marketing function at Spacehive, where she manages user communications and partner engagement alongside digital and content strategy.

We caught up with Aaron to learn more about Spacehive’s work to transform public spaces using the power of the crowd.

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

Crowdfunding is exciting as it helps plug the gap where council funding is cut, as well as allowing people to proactively engage with their environment. Crowdfunding creates a bottom-up form of policy-making, as citizens propose new creative ideas for their areas and those who agree can pledge to support them.

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

Spacehive opens up new sources of capital and creativity for people trying to improve their community spaces, which traditionally is difficult to find funding for. We bring different funds together so anyone with an idea for transforming their area can gather support from neighbours, businesses, brands and councils in one place. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to make their ideas happen, enabling citizens to become catalysts for change.

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

All Spacehive projects are centred around community spaces. We enable people and organisations to raise the profile of their project and gather support through likes and comments, as well as generating the funds and resources necessary for their project to succeed. We also work with an ever-growing number of partners, from Esmée Fairbairn and Growing a Greener Britain to GLL and the Mayor of London, who come together to match-fund projects that are making a difference.

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

Since our 2012 launch, Spacehive has helped fund over 230 projects across the UK worth nearly £6 million. All our projects change the spaces they are in whether it’s just for a few hours as part of a pop-up market, or for a lifetime by transforming a concrete lot into a wildflower garden. Successes include public wi-fi in Mansfield, an urban farm in London, a motorway flyover re-imagined as a “sky park” in Liverpool, and a giant waterslide on Bristol’s high street.

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

Spacehive is exclusively for civic projects and the special features we offer include:

  • Wish lists – where projects can ask for skills or stuff and people can offer anything they have that will help, whether it’s design skills or spare chairs

  • Grant-maker Tool – intelligently matches funders and applicants

  • Volunteer Tool – connects you with a volunteer database so you can get the extra help you need

  • Hives – connects projects with supporters and promotes various match-funding opportunities.

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

1) Your team is crucial – you need enough people to balance the workload and contribute the necessary skills: design, digital, finance, project management etc.

2) Timing – By creating a detailed project timeline you can manage the different parts of your campaign effectively so you don’t get overwhelmed with all you need to do.

3) Create visuals that inspire – use photos, videos, updates and social media to bring your project to life and motivate people to get involved.

You can find out more about Spacehive and the projects it supports at: www.spacehive.com

Read more about Spacehive projects and partners through case studies: about.spacehive.com/case-studies

Follow the Spacehive blog for the latest guides and resources for project creators: about.spacehive.com/blog

Read the other interviews with crowdfunding platforms.

Photo Credit: Ernest Cafe - 17 Superact Photo by Jamie Sproates 

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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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