UK Crowdfunding Association: What is it and what does it want to do?
Crowdfunding is taking off and there are an increasing number of crowdfunding platforms in the UK – for donations/rewards, equity of loans. It’s a new industry – there have been some spectacular successes for business, creative and social enterprises and charities. But there are some who are wary – worried about the future mistakes and fraud which they are bound to happen. In advance of trouble the UK Crowdfunding Assocation was setup by the key CrowdFunding platforms in the UK in order to create policies and share best practice for crowdfunding. They are already in discussion with the Financial Conduct Authority – see the article here by Bank to the Future.
1. WHAT IS UK CROWDFUNDING?
The UK Crowdfunding Association was formed by twelve founding members. The purpose of this trade association is to promote crowdfunding as a valuable and viable way to fund UK businesses, projects or ventures. The UKCFA also seeks to be the industry voice for all crowdfunding businesses in the UK to the public, press and policy-makers. The UK Crowdfunding Association also seeks to promote best practices within crowdfunding to protect investors and donors.
2. WHAT DOES IT WANT TO DO?
The UK Crowdfunding Association is currently undertaking a campaign to raise awareness of crowdfunding amongst key influencers throughout the government, regulators as well as in the media, civil society and the wider public. This is to help educate everyone about what crowdfunding is and how it presents an incredible opportunity for so many sectors of the the UK economy. Acting together, our members can influence the politicians and policy makers to ensure the regulatory environment, which evolves within crowdfunding, ensures consumer protection while also enabling crowdfunding to flourish here in the UK.
To aid in this mission, the UKCFA members are bringing together industry statistics to demonstrate the rapid growth in the sector as well being more transparent. After all, crowdfunding is all about being a more direct, engaging, democratic and open form of finance. In addition to our open data initiative in collaboration with the Open Data Institute, we are also undertaking an extensive piece of primary research. This will help to better understand the motivations for crowdfunding, aside from financial return as well as why crowdfund users are interested to show their support in this way. We are hosting a round table with the FCA to help new crowdfunding platforms better understand and navigate the authorisation process as well as a further round table with key politicians later in the year.
All of this work will help to promote the crowdfunding agenda in the UK but also help to influence the agenda for the upcoming period of consultation with the UK regulators concerning changes to regulation, which affects crowdfunding. We are hosting our Autumn Conference on the 25th of September. Our tagline for this event is ‘keeping the crowd in crowdfunding’ to give you an idea of the agenda we are seeking to push. We are also planning a major UK crowdfunding conference early next year.
3. WHAT’S THE GOAL?
Ultimately the UKCFA wants crowdfunding to become a highly successful form of raising funds. The UKCFA’s members represent the entire spectrum of crowdfunding business models. Whether individuals want to donate to community or arts projects, receive a reward from or support a social enterprise, lend money to SMEs or take an equity stake in a new start up venture or an established business seeking to expand, the UKCFA represents all crowdfunding platforms. Crowdfunding seeks to harness the power of the crowd to use their funds to support projects, ventures, causes or businesses that people believe in. The UKCFA seeks to represent all of its members and exists to promote the success of crowdfunding within the UK.
4.WHO ARE THE MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS?
The UKCFA was founded by 12 founding members. Currently there are 15 members with another 5 new members coming very shortly http://staging-ukcfa.mystagingwebsite.com/members. We expect around 40 crowdfunding platforms to be members by the end of the year including all of the leading platforms. The UKCFA also has a wide range of interested supporters; both individuals and institutions. Many of these are involved in supporting crowdfunding platforms through the legal processes, consultation or in the media. The UKCFA seeks to be an open and inclusive organisation and welcomes all crowdfunding platforms with operations in the UK. The UKCFA requires all members to adhere to our code of practice to help better protect investors and donors. Supporters are welcome and the only requirement for membership is to have an interest in seeing the success of crowdfunding in the UK.
In addition there is a resource library of publications on crowdfunding.