Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular way for Friends of Parks groups and others to raise funds for their work.

Crowdfunding is the practice of generating income for a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people (the crowd) who each contribute a relatively small amount, typically via the internet. The basic principle is that you set a target sum to raise and a timeframe within which to do it. You then place your project on a publicly available platform – search and see which ones are best for you – and encourage people to visit the page through an active and planned outreach programme using tools like social media and email. The intention is to appeal to as many of these visitors as possible so that they contribute funds to your project and to share the news with their own networks. You collect the financial pledges made with the intention of reaching the target set.

Crowdfunding can work for small projects like the group who raised £500 to create a mini-orchard in a small neighbourhood park through to raising £15,000 to create a habitat for nesting birds within a Local Nature Reserve.

Crowdfunding does require effort to attract the much-needed donations. Here are five top tips that can help increase the chance of crowdfunding success:

Tip #1: Choose an achievable target - cost your project and be realistic about how much money you can raise through crowdfunding. It is easy to set your target too high and then lose enthusiasm when it seems out of reach. You can always extend your crowdfunding target to achieve more!

Tip #2: Know your audience - it is important that, as you are asking people to donate to your project, you know who they are and what will enthuse them to donate. So, before getting into your crowdfunding campaign answer these three simple questions... Who will we market this campaign to? What does our average donor look like? How do we get our message to them?

Tip #3: Plan your promotion - once you know who you are getting your message out to it is vital to plan how to do this. Don't leave it until the day your crowdfund goes live. Plan in advance to make the most of all opportunities. Planning your promotion will help keep momentum going during your crowdfund campaign.

Tip #4: Follow Up, Update, Thank, Repeat - it's good to say thank you. If you thank people who have donated to your project they are more likely to share to others and become repeat donors. It is not just about thanking donors though, keep your crowd updated on how your crowdfund is progressing so that they can see that their donation is making a difference.

Tip #5: Celebrate success - it is important for you and your donors that you celebrate success! This could be announcing a big donation, celebrating hitting a funding milestone or marking a milestone of a significant number of donors. Everyone likes to hear good news and celebrating how far you have come will help you keep momentum during your crowdfunding campaign.

Once your crowdfunding campaign is finished this is just the beginning. Keep people informed about the project they donated to so that donors can see it become a reality and keeping them engaged with the work you are doing.

With thanks to Ian Goodman, MyParkScotland Project Manager at greenspace scotland, for this advice and the top tips.