BNP Paribas Fortis Foundation is teaming up with leading Europe-based crowdfunding platform Ulule to assist charities looking to raise funds. Bank staff are also supporting the initiative by providing coaching on a voluntary basis.
“Most charitable organisations have heard of crowdfunding but they’re not always aware of the potential it offers, or sometimes they just don’t know how to go about it,” points out BNP Paribas Fortis Foundation general manager Anne-France Simon, explaining:
“Given the reduction in government subsidies they’re facing, we believe we have a role to play in this area – that of partner and facilitator to help bring them into the Philanthropy 2.0 world. This approach is entirely complementary to more traditional corporate philanthropy initiatives.”
Training and support – Of the thirty organisations which the Foundation has contacted, a dozen have decided to embark on a crowdfunding venture. Some followed a day’s training session in Brussels on 7 January.
Ulule representatives first presented their website and then handed over to BNP Paribas Fortis staff, who took the participants through the fiscal aspects of crowdfunding and underlined the importance of the social networks in raising the public profile of a project and attracting investors.
Explains Anne-France Simon: “We’re entirely familiar with the work of these non-profit organisations because we’ve been supporting them in one way or another. The charities are all either recipients of our Jump programme or organisations which competed last year for a special award from the general public or the BNP Paribas Fortis staff.”
“It’s a useful sample because the projects they run are all quite different, which will enable us to assess the usefulness of our pilot project. If the pilot run is successful it will be taken forward and expanded. Ulule will of course be helping the charities with their initiatives, but volunteer Bank staff will also be providing a lot of assistance. These coaches will be advising the organisations and providing useful contacts from among their internal and external networks. The projects will go online in early April, and we’ll be launching a communication campaign to support them.”
Dedicated space on Ulule – The Foundation will have its own clearly recognisable space on the Ulule platform, in which all the charitable projects will be posted. The Foundation’s new website, which is scheduled for launch on 11 March, will also include a crowdfunding section, providing visitors who wish to support projects with a direct link.