Roll for the Soul screen prints, earned by crowd fundersCrowdfunding

Crowdfunding seems completely routine now, but it was a brave new world when we ran our campaign in late 2012.

Crowdfunding means raising little bits of money from lots of people, rather than lots of money from a few people. After some research and a bit of excellent advice from Andrew at The Bicycle Academy, we decided to use Crowdfunder as our platform and our campaign ran in September and October 2012.

We set a target of £12,000. If we didn’t reach it, we got nothing. The approach we took works on pledges, so nobody actually parted with their cash until the target was reached and we could be confident that the project would go ahead. Of course it wasn’t quite that simple, as we needed well over £100,000 to get RftS up and running. So while the crowdfunding campaign was going on, we were working hard on other fundraising schemes too.

The campaign ran for 45 days and we ended up raising around £13,000 from well over 200 wonderful donors. That level of support was humbling and motivating in equal measure. We had some pretty clear evidence that people wanted a community-focused bike cafe in Bristol. Huge thanks to everyone who contributed. You made Roll for the Soul happen.

Thanks also to the people who got in touch via the crowdfunding campaign but contributed in non-financial ways. We completely understand that not everyone has spare money, but it was amazing to get support in many other ways. Lots of people blogged about the campaign or promoted through other channels; Kolor Skemes did a load of printing; Jay Robinson, Chris Price and Rob Draper did some great graphic design work (that’s Rob’s screen print design at the top of this page); Boneshaker Magazine for all sorts of assistance; Dan Creswell, Britain’s most chill plumber; Andrew and Robbie from Wilmore Iles Architects, and everyone else who gave time and effort in other ways while we were getting this project set up. If we’ve forgotten you here, sorry. We really are still very grateful!

So for us crowdfunding wasn’t just about funding at all. It was a way to hook up with loads of great people. It’s summed up by these words from a chap called W. H. Murray, a Scottish explorer, which we found courtesy of James from The Bristol Bike Project.

…the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

We found that to be 100% true when setting up RftS, and we still do.