The Big Society Network

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Crowdfunded in 20 minutes!

My name is Martyn Sibley. I am regular guy who happens to have a disability. My condition means I rely on an electric wheelchair for mobility, 24/7 care support and a variety of support functions to live everyday life. Nonetheless I have a Masters degree in Marketing, have travelled to Australia, drive a hand controlled car and run my own business. My work is in running online projects for disabled people and supporting social change. My online magazine is making great waves, as are my elearning products and social media services.

I am writing for you here on the subject of Crowdsourced Funding. Having worked in the charity sector I decided I wanted my projects to not rely on gifts, donations and dependency funding. This is why I started a Social Enterprise. Whilst my consultancy work, magazine advertising and some sponsorship partnerships enable my work to be sustainable; I still needed a new empowering income stream.

This was brought to the fore when I planned to launch #dconference2012. The idea was a cool web platform, a community of speakers, social media marketing channels and the aim of sharing a wealth of knowledge to inspire and inform others. Wherever I looked, I just couldn’t find the funding for this. Fortunately I am on the Big Society Networks ‘Nexters program’ and was signposted to Please Fund Us as a potential funding option.

I looked at the site, their help pages, the advice provided and winged a couple of specific questions I had to the team. The general upshot was to define my project, the vision, the aims, the resources needed and what the funding would enable. I wasn’t sure how much to ask for and decided £500 to cover the marketing was best. Once I had written up the contents of my ‘project page’ I recorded my video and asked the team to review my first draft.

Overall I had done well for a first try, but there were areas for improvement. One being the pledge rewards I was offering. The team came up with a few other ideas, and we settled on rewards that linked to my work and I could honour with my limited time. Otherwise it was just a little tweaking here and there, and we were good to go.

Having defined my project, written it up appropriately and done all of the preparation; it was time to seek the funds. I was fortunate in that I have been running a blog for 3 years, the magazine for over 1 year and have honed my social media skills. Having already engaged with many people online about disability; I had 5000 Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin connections. Nonetheless I never expected the response I had when we hit send.

My project was fully funded in a record 20 minutes! One individual on Twitter @samedifference1 saw my link to the project and liked the idea so much that she funded all of it. Amazing. Since this I have been working hard on the website, the content creation, the marketing channels and getting everything ready for its launch.

Whether you are in the disability world, social media world or not; it doesn’t matter. If you have a passion, a creative idea and the motivation, then Crowd funding is for you. Just simplify your aims, communicate them in a human way, accept feedback from the team, spend the time engaging people online about your aims and you never know… I cannot say you will be fully funded in 20 minutes, but if you don’t buy a ticket you cannot win the raffle.

If you have any questions on Social Media strategy, online projects or disability issues feel free to email me on

About the author: Martyn Sibley’s ‘Disability eConference’ project was successfully funded in 20 mins on PleaseFund.Us. His aim is ultimately to achieve social change for disabled people, and has already made great advances through his use of social media.



This blog is one of the blogs in the lead up to Nexters, PleaseFund.Us Social Collaboration event on the 26th September.

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