You probably know that crowdfunding is a way to raise money but did you know that it can also boost your employability skills? The Essex Advancement Office’s Philanthropy Assistant Vicky Madzharska reveals all.
What is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is a way of raising finance by asking a large number of people for a small amount of money. Crowdfunding switches around the traditional idea of asking few people for a large sum by using the internet to talk to thousands – if not millions – of potential funders.
Essex has its own crowdfunding platform called Click. Our How to Click video gives you the lowdown on how it works.
Did you know Essex was built via crowdfunding?
In the early 1960s a public appeal brought in over £1 million in just six months to help to create our University. This proves that crowdfunding is also a crucial part of the Essex spirit.
Is it true that you can improve your employability skills simply by using crowdfunding?
Yes! Pitching an idea is great practice for pitching yourself in an short elevator pitch scenario. Crowdfunding is so dynamic and innovative that it involves a wide variety of knowledge and skills which you can add to your CV. Below are just a few you’ll learn when leading a crowdfunding project:
1. Pitching an idea
Selling your ideas to strangers is hard and pitching online is even harder. You’ve only got 2-3 paragraphs and a two minute video to get across your idea and persuade your donors to support you.
By learning to capture their attention within the first lines of your campaign and securing the donation you’re developing valuable persuasion and presentation skills. When you complete a successful Click campaign make sure you shout about this skill on your CV and applications.
One of the compulsory sections in every crowdfunding campaign is to provide a cost breakdown. Although this might sound easy, in most cases it is not! It will require you to have a good grasp of the details of your project, proving thorough research and an understanding of how to create a clear budget; you’ll also get to employ your great Excel skills – all very useful and transferrable skills.
3. Video making
Videos are not compulsory in crowdfunding. However, campaigns with video pitches increase their chance of being successful by 114%. Even if you’re not planning a career in film, video editing is a skill that employers are increasingly looking for. You don’t need to be an expert to create a good-quality and effective video. In order to record a short and straightforward pitching video you need to develop your sense of timing, visual awareness and a mixture of practical and creative skills – all very useful skills that could be applied in every profession.
4. Planning & organising
Action planning is a process which helps you to focus your ideas and decide on the steps you need to take in order to achieve your goal. Crowdfunding requires certain actions and level of preparation in order to deliver on time with a good result. Each Click campaign is live for a maximum of 5 weeks so you’re developing skills to show your potential employer that planning and working to tough deadlines is not a problem for you.
5. Team work
When crowdfunding you quickly learn how to work collaboratively, understanding other peoples’ styles of communication and how to enjoy learning together. Completing a successful crowdfunding campaign is a great example to use in your next job interview to demonstrate the skills and experience that you have as a result of efficient group effort.
6. Social media
As an online tool crowdfunding requires the use of all social media channels. It is important to realise that in order for your project to be successful you will need to keep your supporters engaged and on board throughout the campaign. You will be required to provide a 5-week promotion plan including details about how you intend to do this. According to a recent survey, social media skills are amongst the most desirable skills that employers look for. We suggest this template to help you devise a social media plan; you can use this for any project so there are no excuses not to hone your skills!
So, aside from funding your project, crowdfunding really does improve your employability. Whatever the outcome of your crowdfunding project, you’ll still have developed these skills so your effort won’t be wasted.
What do successful Click leaders say?
Yasen Naydenov, crowdfunded for his expenses to attend 4 day Model United Nations conference in Paris with 600 students from nearly 60 countries said:
“Learning how to pitch my idea was something I have never felt confident enough doing. Click has given me the chance to practise this skill in a safe and friendly environment and also provided me with the necessary feedback to improve myself. I would have never been able to achieve this without running a crowdfunding campaign.”