SMITHSONIAN Research Mission

USA, 25-30 August 2019

Belle and Co. spent 5 days in the USA, on a research mission to discover some best practices in the museum world under the auspices of the African Union’s Great Museum of Africa project. We interviewed over 14 respondents (directors, curators, fundraisers, exhibition designers, 3D specialists, digital directors, librarians, garden directors etc); toured numerous museums, libraries and back-office admin and storage buildings; as well as collected A LOT of physical materials.

The highlight of the mission was getting to deeply experience and understand what went into the making of the National Museum of African American Culture and History. A museum built on participatory collection practices, deeply connected to community and used as a space for social justice, healing and restorative justice – “A museum to make the ancestors smile”, Lonnie Bunch III, Museum Founding Director.

 

Advertisements

Crowd-funding for your non-profit

Crowdfunding (CF) presentation, Thu 30 Aug 2018, AORTIC Secretariat (Mowbray, Cape Town)

On Thursday 30 August 2018, Belle & Co. Associate Alexandre Rodrigues presented a lecture on non-profit financing in South Africa, with a focus on crowdfunding.  Alex is a CAIA (Certified Alternative Investment Analyst) charter holder, and works as an investment principal at Edge Growth, an SME growth specialist and impact investor.

The presentation delivered by Alex covered the following topics:

  • What is crowdfunding?
  • How does crowdfunding work?
  • How do you put a campaign together?
  • What resources do you need?
  • What platforms can you use?
  • Q&A

The presentation lasted an hour and participants in attendance were mostly from cancer non-profit companies (NPCs) AORTIC and CANSA.  Only a few participants had had some exposure to crowdfunding, with one having run an entire campaign on rewards-based international CF platform Indiegogo (to raise funding for a music concert), another having used GivenGain (also a global CF platform, but charity-based) for on-going small donations (for their cancer related NPC) whilst the last person had mostly only heard of CF (in a corporate model run by a financial services firm, OUTvest by Outsurance – a way to crowdfund one’s investing goals).

Alex began the presentation by highlighting the main sectors that use crowdfunding (social causes at 30% followed by small businesses/ entrepreneurs at 17%, with creative industries in third place at 12%).  The various types of CF models were then briefly discussed (equity, rewards, charity and peer-to-peer/P2P lending) before the global stats on the quantum of financing raised via this mechanism were shown (over $50bn worldwide in 2016, with most devoted to P2P lending at over 75%).  SA examples of platforms offering the various CF models were presented (rewards-based: Thundafund, equity: UpRise.Africa, charity: Back-a-buddy and P2P: PeerFin/ Rainfin).

The presentation went on to describe the elements of successful campaigns (e.g. use of rich media like videos, short but punchy copy, tools to share the campaign on social media, deadlines on fundraising plus realistic targets, reaching the “tipping point” within the first 2/3 weeks etc), with a focus on South African rewards-based CF examples (mostly taken from SA CF platform Thundafund), including: Land for Lions, Siki’s Coffee Revolution and “Know Your Water”.

Alex then explained what factors to consider when choosing a CF platform for one’s campaign (fees, type of funding: all-or-nothing or keep what you raise, ability to use/ incorporate multimedia, social media sharing tools etc), before delving into the importance of defining what you need the funds for and why (clarity of purpose to engage your supporters).

The presenter then stressed the importance of having a (realistic) fundraising goal and ensuring that the campaign length is optimal (SA data on rewards-based CF campaigns show that the average successful campaign raises ~R25k over 9 weeks).

Alex then went on to explain how campaigns run by dynamic teams rather than just an individual generally outperform (mix of skills and broader networks), and how maintaining a budget for the project and campaign is key to avoid running out of cash during fundraising and execution of the project.

Towards the end of the presentation, Alex explained the significance of planning, especially during the critical times of one month prior to launch (ensuring the content is ready – rich media like photos and videos, plus copy for the story, milestones to report back to community on progress, thank you letters to donors/ supporters etc) as well as on the day (stressing the importance of being able to “launch in a day”, i.e. go all out during the 24 hours after the campaign goes live, sending links to the campaign via social media, emails and even considering a launch party to drum up excitement for the project).

Alex explained the significance of feeding back to the community throughout the campaign as an essential way to keep interest and momentum, i.e. maintaining the campaign, especially given the fact that up to 65% of the funds raised are done so in the first 2 and last 2 weeks (i.e. the importance of starting and ending strong) of a campaign.  It was noted that campaigns that didn’t get past the 30-40% fundraising mark in the first 2-3 weeks were unlikely to reach their goal by the end of the campaign.

Lastly, Alex walked the crowd through his experiences running his own charity-based CF campaign 5 years ago (in 2013) and what he did well (short, punchy copy; a thank you to donors) versus what he did poorly (lack of rich media, no updates to supporters etc).  The presentation ended with some general Q&A, during which participants asked questions such as: “what the best platform to raise charitable funding in SA was” (local platform vs international; answer: depends on if campaign could have global appeal or not, i.e. for cancer-related causes, either one could work), and “what a cancer NPC could use CF to raise funding for” (e.g. sending an underprivileged scientist to an international cancer conference; to pay for the publication/ printing of a cancer directory etc).

The group then broke for refreshments and general socializing, with catering provided for by AORTIC.

 

 

 

 

 

Crowdfunding in Portugal

Barcelos, Portugal: June 2018

The Dive Deeper into Social Entrepreneurship Programme, run by a consortium of 9 partner countries, concluded its fourth and final training on “Crowd Funding for Social Enterprises” between 22 -27 June 2018. The Intercultural Association for All, based in Barcelos (home of the Rooster), Portugual, successfully hosted this 5-day workshop which included facilitated sessions, expert guest speakers (one of whom was Alexandre Rodrigues, Belle and Co. Associate, speaking on Investment for SMMEs in South Africa), University panel discussions and cultural city tours and exchanges among participants. The workshop ended with participants designing real crowd funding campaigns which they will “go live” with back in their home countries.

The 9 partner and participating countries were: Macedonia (lead partner), Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal (host), Greece, Turkey, Costa Rica, Peru and South Africa (through Belle and Company).

Read FULL Report Here: Dive Deeper Report – Barcelos Portugal

 

Dive Deeper into SE: Youth Policy presentation in Bulgaria

Sofia, Bulgaria: May, 2018

Belle and Co. Associate Phokeng Setai and Director Belisa Rodrigues, participated in the Dive Deeper Programme focused on Youth Policy and Social Entrepreneurship. Belle and Co. presented an overview of South African youth policy, and learnt about youth policy initiatives in 8 other countries (Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal, Turkey, Greece, Costa Rica and Peru).

Training course focused on increasing the understanding of the participants on the importance of cooperation in youth sector and developing quality youth strategies, the participants developed their skills needed to prepare quality youth strategy, to network with various bodies representing youth, to effectively use manuals, guidelines on social entrepreneurship in youth field, to adjust tools, methods etc.

Belle and Co. participates in Creative Activism Workshop

Tshisimani Activist Centre, Mowbray, Cape Town: March 2018

We were exposed to various forms of creative and cultural activism, read case studies, had a guest speaker from SWEAT sharing live campaigns, and we formed teams to pitch our activist campaign to others.

Our project centered around “community safety and security” where we came up with an innovative idea on how to utilise public spaces (especially street corners) to claim back or occupy the streets into productive community spaces.

We called it “The Triangle Project”. See video here.

Dive into SE: Cape Town Social Enterprise Study Tour

Cape Town, South Africa: September, 2017

A 5-day intensive Job Shadow/Study Tour in Cape Town, South Africa, as part of the Erasmus + supported programme “Dive in Social Entrepreneurship” was arranged by Belle and Co.

Belle and Co hosted 2 of its partners (Turkey and Bulgaria) to meet local government, entrepreneurs and academics working in the social entrepreneurship space in Cape Town.

Visits included: Local Ward 57 Councillor; Observatory Community Improvement District; Mess Cafe Social Enterprise; Gangstar Gear Social Enterprise; Spinach King Social Enterprise; 18 Gangster Museum Social Enterprise; PASSOP Refugee NPO; Know Thy Farmer Social Enterprise; UWC Entrepreneurship Centre; visits with local entrepreneurs and students as well as exposure to a range of local heritage day (27 September) activities.

Read Report here: SE Job Shadow Report

 

Dive into SE: Romania Research Seminar

Iasi, Romania: February, 2017

Belle and Co. Associate, Nobantu Nhantsi, attended the Dive into Social Entrepreneurship Research Seminar hosted by Eurodemos, project partner based in Iasi, Romania. She presented Belle and Co.’s preliminary research findings.

For 2 months leading up to the Research Seminar, each participating country had to conduct a local research study to better understand the Social Entrepreneurship realities on the ground by interviewing and surveying entrepreneurs and youth. Each participating country then sent a representative or two, to present their findings in a seminar.

See DiveIn_Report_Romania

   

Learning about Human-Centred Design in the USA

Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA: June/July/August

Belisa Rodrigues, Belle and Co. Director, was awarded one of the 1000 coveted fellowship positions to be part of the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) or Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) class of 2016.

Each year fellows are divided into groups of 25 cohort and attached to a USA University. In this case, Miss Rodrigues was seconded to Dartmouth College along with 25 other fellows representing 17 African countries.

Core part of the educational experience was learning about Design Thinking with Prof. Robbie in the Thayer Engineering Department; as well as Design-Driven Entrepreneurship with Prof. Norwady; and Leadership Development at the Rockerfeller Leadership Centre.

The human-centred design process was mostly experiential, whereby teams were formed, business ideas developed and delivery of real-time pitches to investors who awarded grants of $25 000 to the best business idea/pitch.

Tools and methods used included: Empathy Maps, Stakeholder Maps, Poster Concepts, Pitch Decks, Personas, Field Research, prototyping etc