One question that RunCoCo has been asked repeatedly relates to costs. How much does it cost to run a community collection project? Some assume that because you can benefit from the input of dedicated and hard-working volunteers, there are no costs involved. However, as anyone running a community collection knows, it is not free. How much it costs depends on what kind of project it is and how it is run, what support you can draw on and what resources you have. Even if volunteers are happy to give their time for free, you may need to provide refreshments for when they are working, and you may want to offer to cover their travel costs or provide transport. There may be costs associated with using a venue, advertising your events, and printing publicity and information materials, not to mention the need for digitisation equipment, computers and space to store the collected material. There are ways you can minimise thes costs, and RunCoCo are happy to share our experiences and tips with anyone planning a new project. Nevertheless, there is no getting away from the fact that resources are needed, and access to funding makes it easier to cover this need.
How you get the necessary funds will vary. We are currently involved in a new initiative where we are looking at whether we can fund local community collection events thorugh crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is not a new idea, and is used in many different contexts, from start-up business seeking investors to individuals asking for support to cover medical bills. The University of Oxford has recently set up ‘OxReach‘, a new crowdfunding platform for researchers who seek philanthropic funding for projects that do not naturally fit with either research or commercialisation funding. In contrast to projects and initiatives seeking substantial grants from one main funder, the crowdfunding campaigns seek to get a large number of people to donate a small amount of money each.
Lest We Forget is a crowdfunding campaign that seeks funding to support local community collection events. The idea is to generate enough funding to be able to provide training, equipment and other support to local groups, schools and associations who want to digitise material relating to the First World War. The campaign will launch on June 5th and go on until July 5th. In addition to running the campaign, we will be reflecting on the experience of doing so, and share our experiences here. Keep an eye out for our future posts. And do support the campaign by telling others about it. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@ww1centenary, #WW1collectionday), and feel free to share our posts with colleagues, friends, and family.
About the Lest We Forget project
Back in 2008, Oxford University launched The Great War Archive, a mass-digitisation project that successfully gathered over 6,500 materials relating to the First World War held by the general public. Building on from this success, Lest We Forget is a brand new initiative to save as many more pictures, letters and memories as possible through community-based collection days across the country. We are currently seeking to raise £80,000 to fund training days for local volunteers, acquire equipment, and offer outreach events.