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How to crowdfund a legal case

Crowdfunding is opening up doors to things that once would not have been possible. The latest frontier to be breached is crowdfunding legal cases. Here are some simple steps to help you decide if crowdfunding's for you and, if it is, where to start.

1

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is the new name for an age old tradition - pooling funds for a kitty that allows you to collectively afford something that you wouldn't be able to individually. This can range from biscuits for the office to birthday presents to legal representation.

With the advent of the internet, we can now do a virtual whip round of friends, family, colleagues, supporters and strangers who want to help.

2

Is it for me or my organisation?

Legal problems are not usually something that we plan for. As a result there is often very little, and sometimes no, budget available. 

There are some sources of good value and free legal advice for non-profit organisations. However, if neither of these work for you, crowdfunding is another option.

You can reach out for help from your supporters and potentially other people who are interested in the work that you do, the people you work with or the outcome of the legal action. 

3

Top 5 things to consider before you start

With the right planning and sufficient commitment, anyone can crowdfund, but there are a few things that you can do to make sure things run smoothly:

1. Set clear objectives - before you start, you need to be clear about how much you want to raise, what it's for and when you need it by.

2. Use a suitable site - unlike many other things that people crowdfund for, there are stringent regulations for lawyers to comply with when taking money from clients. Check the site that you are using is set up to deal with this.

3. Tell your story to connect with your supporters - no one has to give to you, so you need to be highly persuasive - you want to grab their attention and their sympathy.

4. Start building your community of supporters as early as possible - there has been a lot of hype about wildly successful crowdfunding campaigns, but, as the saying goes, it can take a long time and a lot of hard work to become an overnight success.

There are lots of tools you can use to build up your community, including facebook, linkedin, twitter, your own newsletter and word of mouth. Build up to the campaign for as long as you can, if possible, so that people are ready to pledge as soon as it starts.

5. Dedicate enough time to the campaign - crowdfunding seems like free money, but people will not pledge if you don't put in the time and energy to build and maintain the momentum of the campaign. It is important to dedicate resource to planning and executing on all the various communications with your community for the duration, and you will need a bit of time afterwards too, to keep people updated see below.

4

Good crowdfunding etiquette

Crowdfunding can be incredibly empowering for everyone involved. It is a way of initiating or contributing to an action that can make a tangible difference.

As with most things, a little good manners go a long way.

Your supporters have chosen to give their hard-earned cash to your cause. It is important to show your gratitude in word and deed. Keep your donors informed, even after the campaign has ended - it is a chance to say thank you, and they will want to know how it all turned out.

If you're asking others to contribute, you should really put your money where your mouth is. This also helps kick the campaign off - the majority of the donations should come in the first few hours or days, so you want to leave £0 behind you as soon as possible.

Before you can say "crowdfunding campaign" you'll have raised the money you need to instruct a lawyer to help fix your problem and let you get on with what really matters.

Further information

For more information about the different crowdfunding platforms available, read this how-to guide on setting up a crowdfunding campaign.

Rachael Marsh, Head of Community at CrowdJustice contributed to this guide - You can find out more about others who have already crowd funded legal cases on the CrowdJustice blog, including tips on what they found helpful.

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Page last edited May 24, 2017 History

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