Anyone have much experience with it in an air cadet context?

Background being that I and one other CFAV have recently completed our Sea Kayak Leader assessments, with a view to developing sea kayaking around the bazaars. I work in a region that has a huge coastline and access to some of the best sea kayaking in the UK. It seems a shame not to exploit this as an activity, especially when many units are closer to the sea than they are to an inland paddling venue.

So, I’d like to raise some funds for a trailer of sea boats and associated kit that would, mainly, be located at RAF Valley and would be used in the initial stages to deliver some sea kayaking experiences to staff and senior cadets with the aim of putting them on the pathway to getting their own qualifications and increasing our instructor base. Once we have some instructors, the sea boats would become more mobile and could be deployed to wherever they were required. They could also be used on summer camps to Valley.

However, the issue is that most ‘normal’ avenues for funding (grants etc) have dried up due to the pandemic. So, trying to think out of the box, I thought about crowdfunding. Would it work for this project? Any hints, tips or tricks? Best platform to use?

It’s also not lost on me that many people won’t have the disposable income they may have had prior to the pandemic, so is it even appropriate to ask?

Would you donate? If not, why not?

Could be worth directly contacting 415 (Stourbridge) and 2351 (Bognor Regis) as they both set up GoFundMe’s last year.

Hmm, neither of which appear overly successful and their campaigns are roughly the same ballpark I’d be looking at.

all depends on how much media you can get behind it.

As a region you’ll potentially have a lot more squadrons sharing the campaign, and perhaps some regional/national water-sports organisations might share the story.

Can you kit share with other youth groups potentially? Ive heard of sea scout units doing that.

only the 2nd best region for sea kayaking :wink: :trollface:

sensitively, I’d add that there is a significant proportion of the population who have more disposable income than before… (i.e. picking the demographic you target may be more important than usual, but may have more impact)

My experience of crowdfunding outside the ATC is that it is never close to being as successful as people anticipated.


Just because you have disposable income doesn’t mean you get cavalier with it in the good times and less so in uncertain time like we are in.
A problem with crowdfunding is for it to be successful it seems you need to a sob story of some sort or something that tugs at heartstrings, that has news appeal.
In this instance what is the longer term funding plan wrt expansion, replacement, upgrading and if things are stolen or damaged. Any of us who have sought to get money for anything, know it’s hard to come by.

Exactly the same as any of the other kit I’ve got funding for over the years - a small levy for each use which funds ongoing replacement / repairs. I’m no novice at getting money, but I am at using crowdfunding to do it.

Have you met the Great British Public? That’s precisely what most are like. Financial education is so dire (read non-existent) that most people don’t save for a rainy day, but instead spend whatever they have (and then more). It took me a long time to get out of that cycle myself.

That would almost certainly be part of the proposal - available for use by other youth groups / cadet groups.

I was told by my dad when we got married, pay your bills first and if you haven’t got enough money don’t buy it. About all the financial advice you need is live within your means.
Even with a family growing up our intent was get rid of the mortgage which we did in 15 years. I’ve been mortgage free for 16 years and invested as much as possible since then. Even now I don’t feel as financially secure as I should, due to the potential for redundancy and being too close to 60.

So why not fund it yourself and have a business that feeds off a personal interest? Get a decent accountant and you’d pay little or nothing to the exchequer.

Errrmmm… Because I do this as a volunteer and have a day job?


I know a couple of people who have started up a business as a hobby, while working using savings, credit cards and salary to fund it. Then if it runs, stop working and work doing something they feel a connection to. If not they just do it as a hobby, but gives them a second income. I would say you have the market already, that goes beyond the weekend types like youth groups, so its not like you’ve got to find that.

Which is fine, and might be something I consider when I’m closer to retirement, but I have no real need for a second income and no desire to profit from the courses that the air cadets have subsidised. Nor do I have the time with work, a home life, cadets and my own hobbies. I’d much rather put my efforts into using them to develop other instructors which will benefit cadets in the long run.

I can understand where you are coming from, but you already have a ‘crowd’ set up for funding - the Squadron Association. You do not appear to have approached them with your idea. The Charity managed by the Association, is there to provide for Cadet activities which are not covered by public funding. As such they can source grants and donations, that means even applying to Wing, Region or the GPF - all of which hold charitable funds intended to benefit Cadets.

There would need to be a clear strategy and plan in place to handle monies, but as a CFAV you are not authorised to handle non public funds, and the question which would then arise is who might then own any assets purchased, and who would be responsible for storage, upkeep safety inspections etc .

Also as you are a CFAV, there is also the matter of reputational damage to the RAF should something go wrong, so I dont think you have as free a hand as you think.

Take note that the majority of charities have seen a drop in donations through the pandemic, but the only crowd funding model you can follow is the one with many small donors who are not looking for a return on their investment, and that could fizzle out as with the two quoted examples as you run out of interested donors.

Start with your Civcom - they should be sympathetic to any idea which is a beneficial addition to Cadet activities.

I’m willing to bet that @redowling is aware of all of that. No need to be quite so patronising.


Ah yes but my “crowd” doesn’t have a few thousand that I may be looking for at any one time hence going to another, bigger “crowd”.

We’ve all done bag packs and the like so really, what’s the key difference between that and this?

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Practically very little. Aries’ post was a roundabout way of reminding us that funding is for the “charity” and not our own pockets (just in case that was in question).

There is no harm in the very common practice of a CFAV proactively organising or actively partaking in whatever fundraising methods are chosen.

I think we’re pretty clear on whose bank account it needs to hit.