Rob Croucher - Edtaf
Recent graduate, Rob Croucher, founded the charity Edtaf (Education Towards A Future) whilst studying Philosophy at Cardiff University. Having spent some time in Kenya, he realised there was a need, and the possibility, to make a difference. “The charity provides financial support to citizens of Kenya who wish to pursue further education but cannot do so themselves”, he explains. “We sponsor individuals who want to use their education to seek employment that will benefit others.”
During his time in Kenya, Rob met Patrick, who he describes as “An incredible guy who has a heart to change his country, Kenya.” Rob identified a way of raising money to fund Patrick’s education. “I tried to tie in hobbies with fundraising”, Rob explains. “For example, I have always wanted to do a marathon, so I trained and completed the Barcelona Marathon, and used the sponsorship money to cover Patrick’s education for his first year”.
Luckily for Rob, little funding was needed to get the charity off the ground. “If I did need anything, my student loan would cover it”, Rob explains. Promotion was important for Edtaf, and in terms of fundraising, Rob stresses the importance of knowing your target market. “In my first year I was targeting lots of people with a little bit of money – the student market. This was great as in halls you’re on everyone’s doorstep.” Rob used posters, word of mouth and Facebook to promote the charity.
As with any business, time was valuable for Rob, and registering the charity took a lot longer than expected. “I very naively sent an application pack to the charity admission quickly, ignoring all legal requirements and trustee rules”, Rob admits. “That was a big mistake and it was a real botch of an application, but the feedback they gave was really useful.”
A great success for Edtaf, and a personal achievement for Rob, was the graduation of their first sponsor, Patrick. “Since Patricks graduation, the money that’s being raised now is solely by Edtaf, as opposed to being raised purely by my personal efforts”, Rob explains. “I’ve gained some humble pride in achieving this much already.” Rob decided to try his luck by contacting legal firms for pro-bono work, and to his surprise was successful with the first company he approached. “We now have a total of five trustees and they are all specialists; lawyers, accountants and more”, Rob explains.
Rob’s advice to any potential business founders is to ensure you have a solid business plan in place. “It makes you question what you’re doing”, Rob says. “You have to make the decisions, answer the questions and put it in writing. So long as you have a template that will leave no stones unturned you can’t go wrong.” Yet Rob also emphasises the importance of flexibility. “You must be open about how you’re going to get there”, he says. “Things will change, but the business plan will always have the final plan and it will guide your way.”
Edtaf was founded by Rob in 2007 and is a successful registered charity. Find out more at: www.edtaf.org