“It’s not Dumb Money, it’s Love Money”

It’s amazing how fast the last month has flown by! We thought it might be time for a quick update on all things equity crowdfunding, so here goes:

Licensing update

The Financial Market Conduct Act came into effect 1 April, wahooo! We celebrated in the office, and hope you did too?

Sadly – this doesn’t mean we’re licensed yet though. We’re working through the process with the FMA (who is regulating everyone going into the space) and it’s definitely going to take a few weeks to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. Since we’re all building this space as we go, we want to make sure we do it right.

How it could work

A lot of people have been asking what will be required to run an equity campaign. It will be a bit more than the current rewards side for sure, so it’s good everyone is asking. Here’s the minimum info that we expect we’ll need to get companies up and running with equity crowdfunding:

  • Company Name (as in the Companies office) and location / sector

  • Team details (Directors and Senior Managers)

  • Basic info around Idea, Market, Exit Plan / Treatment of Dividends

  • Financial Accounts created by an accountant or pulled from Xero (up to past three years, dependent on how long the company has been trading) – bonus points if audited.

  • Financial Forecast for the next three years – including money raised

  • Images from business / team in description / browse box

  • Business plan

  • Valuation of the company

  • Equity on offer (min target, and max overfund)

  • Rewards and a pitch video will be optional, but recommended.

The pricing will be similar to our model now (5% success fee), though there will be a few legal costs at the end (getting the final share registers and everything set up), and a cost to run background checks.

We’ll also have a Q&A forum for potential investors to ask companies questions (or offer support), and a shareholders communication portal after the campaign is successful.

Crowd update

We’ve been talking to literally 100’s if not 1000’s of people about equity crowdfunding – from all walks of business and life. The semi-overwhelming response has been excitement – using technology to make raising equity funding more transparent and efficient has really resounded with the crowd.

Our favourite comment so far though, came from a craft brewery that is looking at launching with us. When we mentioned some areas of the eco system were sceptical that equity crowdfunding wouldn’t be smart money – he responded with what is now our favourite blog title ever “it’s not dumb money, it’s love money”. Through our talks, the excitement of really skilled everyone (business people, lawyers, accountants, designers) has been infectious. They’d love to invest small amounts AND help if needed. So instead of a handful of smart investors – you could have hundreds of savvy people backing you and ready to jump in and help.

Shout out if you’d like to chat to us about this a bit more!

Crowdfunding a Choir Tour

In July of last year (2013), Christchurch Youth Choir sang their way south, performing their way from Timaru to Dunedin. In 40 days they raised nearly $2000 towards transport and accommodation costs via PledgeMe, to help them on their way.

The choir’s accompanist, Matt Everingham, set up the project on PledgeMe for the choir, and was interviewed by our Christchurch Brand Ambo, Amy Bowie.

So, Matt, how was the tour?

The CYC ‘Awakenings’ Southern Tour, as the title might suggest, was a first for the choir and a resounding success for all involved – singers, audiences, the committee and the music team. In only our second year of existence we decided to make a bold and exciting decision and plan for a tour South.

The first half of the year was filled with rehearsals and smaller concerts while we prepared the wonderful ‘Mass in G’ by Schubert and a varied programme of classical, jazz, contemporary and spiritual repertoire to take on tour. We took this ‘Awakenings’ Concert programme on the road to Timaru and performed in the beautiful Sacred Heart Basilica and then the Knox Church in Dunedin. It was a real pleasure performing in such historic venues (they seem to be missing in Christchurch!) and the audiences were appreciative and impressed by our performances.

We returned to a full house crowd at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Christchurch which was a real highlight to end on. Again, the music was sung superbly and despite the winter months the reaction was warmer than ever.

The tour proved to be an important milestone for the choir with so many benefits. It allowed us to really place ourselves on the map in the wider South Island and New Zealand music scene, performing to new audiences and alongside a fantastic young string ensemble. It has given us the assurance from both a musical and organisational perspective that we can go far as a young and independent choir. In the last two years CYC has grown from strength to strength, and our ‘Awakenings’ Tour was an exciting part of this.

More photos can be found in our Southern Tour Photo Album

What did you like about PledgeMe?

PledgeMe was a unique, user-friendly and effective way of gathering financial support to turn our Southern Tour into a reality. It was a great form of publicity, and teaming up with Cookie Productions we created a video from our first concert to spread the word and introduce the choir to possible crowdfunders. PledgeMe was pivotal terms of getting our message and cause out online and into the wide world (and world wide web).

How did you find the experience?

The experience was new for the choir, but it was a very flexible way of gathering support from the wider community in a friendly and positive way.

You raised nearly $2k – but were there any other benefits from the project besides money?

It allowed us to go beyond the Christchurch network of supporters and get our message out to a wider audience in New Zealand which was invaluable. It encouraged us to make a demo video of our group, which we had done professionally, which in turn boosted our publicity on Facebook and other online areas.

Any tips for choirs and/or musical groups wishing to raise funds via PledgeMe?

Publicity and getting your voice and cause out there is essential – utilise all the connections in your group! The more you can get members on board to advertise and push the cause the more support you will receive. Share, share, share – sharing really is caring when it comes to facebook and twitter! Give your group enough time on the pledgeme campaign to reach your goal – don’t be unrealistically rushed and vice versa don’t let it drag out!

We heard you recently played for The Christchurch International Musical Theatre Summer School. This is but one of many music/drama themed intensives in New Zealand and beyond. What is your advice to students who are struggling to afford such opportunities for furthering their musical education?

Where there is a will, there is always a way! Never give up on what you’re passionate about. Where opportunites seem too unrealistic, it is often even more rewarding to create your own. Where you see a need, fill that need with your own creative spark – The Christchurch Youth Choir for example emerged from a small group of committed young singers at University who saw the need for a creative musical outlet for singers post high school. Thanks to that initial vision we now have a high calibre group of some of Christchurchs’ best young singers led by our awesome Musical Director Grant Bartley. If you’re a keen young singer – watch our facebook page for audition dates!

What is in store for CYC in 2014?

With the first audition round complete, we have an exciting year ahead of us, building on the journey we had last year. It’s full speed ahead for us at the moment with plans to perform Mozart’s theatrical and action-packed ‘Coronation Mass’ with featured soloists and orchestra, as well as a Hollywood Tribute Concert to come later in the year featuring the very best choral arrangements from all the movies.

The next exciting project in the works is a CD Concert recording and on the not-so distant horizon we have plans for an Australian Tour – next stop world domination! Who knows, we might well see you back on PledgeMe soon.

Find out about our other adventures at our facebook page!

This is not an April Fool’s joke – Crowdfunding moves into equity!

What are you doing on April 1st? At PledgeMe, we’ll be putting any April Fools jokes on hold while we celebrate.

Even though it’s a day normally synonymous with silliness, a decidedly unfoolish regulation to legalise crowdfunding investments will be launched. We hope this will democratise investment – making it more accessible, transparent and cleaner through technology and your crowd.

Yes, New Zealand is finally making the long-awaited move into the equity crowdfunding space. At PledgeMe, we’ve been watching and waiting for two years – and personally, it’s a bit longer if you count my Master’s thesis on crowdfunding. Overseas, they’ve been shaking their money makers in the space for three years (in the UK) and six months (in the US). Some of the reports coming out show how valuable this new form of funding is, and that it does support further raises.

This will allow businesses to raise up to $2 million a year through licensed crowdfunding websites, such as Pledgeme, by issuing shares or other incentives to the public.

Under current regulations, crowdfunding businesses are prevented from offering pledgers any financial return for their kind support. The new regulations will empower businesses to do so without the burden of whipping up a formal prospectus or getting bogged down with more extreme financial reporting obligations. (Simultaneously raising capital and running a business is already enough of a challenge in itself, amirite?)

Why is this exciting?

  • It will streamline and educate investment rounds for newbies.

  • It moves investment from just a strategic play for the angel investors, venture capitalists and ballers of this world. With the crowd now deciding what’s worth investing in, we’re going to see those ivory tower barriers turn into bridges. Smaller ventures, which previously may have been overlooked by investors will now get the support of their networks – which might grow into towering support of its own.

  • It’s going to make those initial smaller raises from family and friends a lot more transparent – you can actually publicly share it even without a public prospectus, and everyone can see Uncle Jim got on board (and follow suit). Everyone has 50 friends, and your personal base of passionate people who really believe in your fledgling business will want to help you out. These are your ready built backers, and brand ambassadors. It’s about more than just the money.

  • But, you can raise up to $2 million – though, as we know in startup land, every little bit counts. The average raises overseas currently sit between $80-120k.

Fear not, lovely incumbents – crowdfunding in the equity space isn’t going to remove the need for angels and venture capitalists, and doesn’t stop capital from being matched further downstream.

So in the lead up to April 1st, we’re super stoked to announce we’re going for it –  we’re putting our stake in the ground and going for the license that will let us help Kiwi businesses – which lines up with our basic mission to help Kiwis fund things they care about. And, oh, how they care about entrepreneurship!

You should be excited! We’re excited. And we would love for you to join us on this adventure; we want our crowd to help us paddle in the right direction. If you have advice, if you want to partner, if you want to adopt-a-business – let us know! Let’s help Kiwis fund things they care about.

Start Up weekend – harder than a start up?

We always know when it’s Start Up Weekend. Our phones start ringing Saturday morning with participants asking how quickly we can approve their projects, and then they stalk us through social media and email to get advice and quotes for their final pitches (often under the competition slide!).

 

Photo cred: Mark Tantrum - http://marktantrum.com/

If you haven’t heard of it before, Start Up Weekend is an international event for designers, developers, and business folk to play at starting a start up – cramming weeks of validation, branding, and development into 54 hours of emotion. Start Up Weekend may actually be harder than a start up – with all the highs and lows compressed into a weekend.

So far, four teams have successfully crowdfunded through us – from Dunedin through to Wellington, and we’ve given advice to crews from Invercargill through to Auckland. We’ve had everything through from biotech jewellery through to a water management social enterprise.

This last weekend, I actually ended up attending as a mentor – mainly to support the growing start up culture in one of my fave cities, Christchurch, but also to give the rest of our team a break from Start Up weekend project rush request :)

Me and some of the mentors / teams at Start Up Weekend

During the weekend we had two projects launch, and one fund in seven hours. The excitement of real time validation in the pressure cooker of starting a start up is pretty powerful. The project that successfully funded on Sunday, One Great Gift, went on to take home 2nd place.

If you’re interested in what Start Up Weekend is, and how to get involved check out their website. They’re running weekends from Tauranga to Invers, and it’s a great way not just to test out ideas – but to network, learn, and build more of a community around the entrepreneurial space in NZ. Next one up: Auckland in May.

How to PledgeMe

Obviously, we often get asked for tips on how to crowdfund well – so, we dusted off our old guide recently and created this extended version guide (thanks Lewis!). Here’s our advice on the three P’s: Planning, Pitching, and Promoting.

1. Plan

You may think this is the boring part of a campaign, but it is the most important

1) Idea – What is your idea? Define it. Be succinct. Imagine you were in a elevator with a potential pledger and you only had 60sec to pitch to them. What exactly would you say to them? What is the hook that piques their interest?

2) Budget – How much $ do you need? You have to factor in cost of the project, rewards, success fees and credit card fees. We recommend starting with the project and rewards costs, and then adding the 8% for fees.

3) Length – How long will your project go for? We recommend between 30 – 45 days. Longer projects require more time spent promoting, but they give you more time to raise awareness (and $$). Shorter projects aren’t promoted as long, but do create a sense of urgency to raise funds quickly.

4) Team – Who is your team? A team runs the campaign. Identify the set of skills within your team. For example, who is good on the phone? Who can create a killer pitch video? Who has the largest network? Who is a social media maven?

5) Crowd – Who in your crowd will help you? A crowd is made up of pledgers or people who can connect you to pledgers. Everybody in your team has a crowd. No matter how big or small. List the friends and family of each individual team member. This is who they will ask to pledge first.

6) Marketing & Promo – How will you get people to pledge? Identify a strategy for each communication channel – it can just be a one liner.

The next few sections will help you flesh out some of the finer details.

2. Pitch

Everything on your project page must turn an apathetic person into a pledger, starting with your description:

1) Text - Explain your idea. Keep it short. Give a brief synopsis of the project, why your project is vital, how you will create change, why you need the money and what you will use the money for. The synopsis must contain a hook, what makes the project unique or interesting.

2) Photo - Boost your synopsis with images. Remember that old saying “An image says a thousand words.” If you can replace a thousand words with a single image, do it.

Rewards

Rewards drive people to pledge, and honour those who do pledge. People want to support you, but a reward should inspire them to open their wallets and pledge.Remember: Rewards should depend on the amount pledged. For example, a $5 pledge could be a simple thank you, but a $1000 should be an experience that only you could deliver.

1) Warm Fuzzies – A low cost reward that makes pledgers feel warm and fuzzy inside. For example, postcard, thank you note, shout out, mention in the credits of your film or the liner notes of your album will do. Make sure it is personalized to them. Not a generic cut/paste.


e.g. Kiwi artist Max Bellamy wrote his/her pledger’s names in the Sweden snow. (OK, this one is more like a cold fuzzy! ….)

2) Gifts- A gift might not cost you much money to make, but it’ll hold tremendous value for pledgers. The fact that they can hold the reward in their hands makes the connection between project & pledger all the more real. The trick with gifts is low cost, high return. The gift doesn’t have to be directly related to the project.

e.g. Motueka Community Garden gave beautiful bouquets of flowers as rewards. Tattletale Saints and The Feast gave totebags.

3) Outputs- Offer what you’re making/crowdfunding for as a reward. It sounds like a no brainer, but you have to actually offer what you’re making as a reward. You might be crowdfunding for a play, but it’s critical to offer the opportunity to come and see the play as a reward. The output has to be directly related to the project.

e.g. Rust and Stardust gave cushions, Seasons Eating gave calendars, and the Super Power Baby crew gave copies of their books.

4) Experiences- Anytime you meet directly with your pledgers face-to-face, it qualifies as an  “experience”. The “experience” can be any experience that only you could deliver. Backstage passes, meet and greets, a song (or even a religion) dedicated to your pledgers totally count. Again, the trick with experience is low cost, high return.

e.g. Uncle Berties Botanarium offered a “dinner party extravaganza” with music provided by Lawrence Arabia, readings from Duncan Sarkies’ novel and a sketch souvenir from Stephen Templar plus the chance to meet the cast. Ashei offered to cover the pledgers favourite song and put it on YouTube, even if it wasn’t their typical genre.

5) Crowd sourced- To really involve your crowd, ask them what they think is a fitting reward or better yet, ask them if they can offer any rewards!

e.g. Blueskin Energy asked their local community for rewards, and they responded with everything from blues and unicycle lessons through to home killing chickens as a reward.

Video

A killer pitch video is vital. You’re 117% more likely to be funded if you have a video. This is your opportunity to talk directly to your crowd. They will see your passion. The way you light up when you talk about your idea. And that is what convinces them to pledge. Videos help you connect more directly to your audience. So what makes a good video?

1) Transparency – Be honest. What is the money for? Tell them. Talk to the camera as if it was a pledger. Be transparent. What are you going to do with money? Tell them. Don’t be afraid to show your excitement or passion.

2) Credibility– To establish credibility, you need to show and tell your potential pledgers why your project is awesome and why you are awesome. Credibility is important because it makes pledgers feel confident and comfortable that their money is in good hands.

3) Visuals - To establish credibility, you need to use visuals. For example, if you’re a filmmaker raising money for your film include footage of you calling the shots on set. It will create an indelible image in the mind of the pledger and shows them that you are for real.

4) Call To Action - At the end of the video, you need to be clear and ask people to pledge. Give them very simply, easy-to-follow instructions. But it’s vital that you ask, politely.

5) Point of Difference - Find one way of making your pitch video look different from the rest.

For example, your pitch video could be special effects driven or a stop motion animation. But, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Keep it short, sweet and simple.

3. Promo

“Don’t be afraid to throw your PledgeMe page out there…at anyone. You have nothing to lose by telling people about it and you’d be surprised at the amount and variety of people that are interested and will contribute.”

What matters in crowdfunding is your ability to convince your crowd to pledge. OK. We know that sounds obvious, but it truly is half the battle. We all have crowds. We have friends, family and fans who can pledge. The challenge is howyou convince your crowd to pledge. The wrong way is to send the same copy/paste generic message to all your Facebook contacts. The right way is to post human, engaging and quirky updates about our progress on your Facebook profile. That’s just one example. Don’t do the “hard sell”, but invite your crowd to participate. Here are some ways to get your crowd involved:

Directly

1) Pledge Drive: This is when your crowdfunding team comes together for a limited time in the same room with the goal of raising enough money to reach (all of or part of) your funding goal. Think it like a good ol’ fashioned telethon. Only your team is using a plethora of 21st century communication tools. Make sure they have plenty of food, water and wifi! We believe the combination of a limited timeframe, close proximity and funding goal is an excellent motivator. And fun! It motivates your team to perform better than if they worked independently.

2) Email: The power of your words – Email 20-30 close friends and family. Be personal. We recommend that you send the emails to 20-30 people separately. It must be personalized to them. It cannot be the same generic copy/paste email message. Ask them to support you by pledging whatever they can afford. Teach them how to share your project. Telling a neighbour about your project is just as good as a share on Facebook, if Facebook isn’t their thing.

3) Phone: The power of your voice – Ring 20-30 close friends and family. The phone is powerful because it’s hard to say no on the phone, especially the person knows you and your phone manner is polite, warm and friendly. Don’t apply any pressure. Be light and breezy. Don’t ask “How’s life?” “What have you been up to?” And then awkwardly segue into your pitch. You will be “that guy” who only asks when he wants something. Be honest about why you’re calling up front.

4) Skype & Google+ Hangouts: A video chat is twice as powerful because they can hear your voice AND see your face. Skype is powerful given its popularity, Google+ Hangouts is powerful too. Its screenshare features allows you to demonstrate how to pledge. And you can record the video as a tutorial to send to those friends and family members who are not tech savvy.

5) Text & IM: Urgency - Text and IMs should be used sparingly. Remember that to receive a text or IM often results in an alert on the recipient’s phone. This can be invasive. The recipient may look forward to receiving a text from you, but then get disappointed when they discover you’re trying to “sell” something. You could choose to use text or IM as follow up to a phone conversation. When a friend or family member promised to pledge, send a text or IM as a reminder – but make it personal.

6) Networking: Attend events. Set up coffee dates. Go to parties. Whatever gets you in front of your crowd. Use the opportunity to tell people about your campaign. We find that the appropriate time to pitch is when somebody asks you “What have you been up to?” “What are you working on?” Keep your reply short and sweet. Don’t bore them. Raise their curiosity enough so that they ask questions about your campaign. It’s better to be asked about your campaign than to “sell” it.

Social Media

The purpose of using social media is to tell the story of your campaign. Tell the story of how you went from “WOA” to “GO”! However, to tell your story effectively using social media, we recommend that you create highly-engaging content perfectly adapted to specific social media platforms. That is content tailor made for Facebook, Twitter and many more. Listed below are the many more possibilities. Some obvious possibilities. Some we hope to introduce to you. You don’t need to use everything. Be strategic, but tell your story. Make it a journey. Don’t spam.

1) Facebook: 80% of New Zealand’s online population visit Facebook. New Zealand the highest proportion of the online population who visit Facebook compared to Australia (74%), the USA (69%) and the UK (68%). So, it makes sense to leverage New Zealand’s most popular social network to promote your campaign. We believe that your personal profile is more valuable to your campaign than a dedicated Facebook page. Send personalized Facebook messages to your friends. Post updates to your campaign, post a link to your campaign from your Facebook profile.

2) Twitter: Due to the real time nature of Twitter, it’s a powerful tool for creating urgency. Use it wisely at the start and end of your campaign. For example, at the start of your campaign, you can create buzz by tweeting/anticipating the launch of your campaign. The goal is to arouse enough curiosity about what you’re launching and why you’re launching it. Near the end of your campaign, remind your Twitter followers how much you still need to raise and how much time you have left. The feeling of “time is running out” may just convince that apathetic person to pledge at last minute.

3) LinkedIn: Post a link to your campaign from your LinkedIn profile in the same way you would on Facebook. The difference with LinkedIn is its professional community. So, you may emphasize how this campaign could move the needle on your career or emphasize why your campaign is attractive to entrepreneurs and business people. You could also target your campaign to specialized LinkedIn groups or particular companies. A fleshed out LinkedIn profile will quickly establish credibility and inspire those people who are not sure about you, to pledge.

4) Instagram: Gorgeous Instagram photos and videos are a great way of updating your crowd on your progress or showing your gratitude. Find a visual way of saying “Thanks!” Post a photo to your Instagram profile and says thanks to a group of pledgers. Or, post a photo via Instagram Direct, and say thanks to an individual pledger. Incorporate Instagram Direct into a high level reward. Or, use Instagram video to tell a story about how your idea will make a difference.

5) Snapchat: Snapchat gets laughed off as the “sexting” app, but it’s the only app that almost guarantees attention. Because the recipient has mere seconds to view the photo or image, the recipient can’t help but take a look. And Snapchat tells you if the recipient has opened the snap or not. Add text, filters or doodle on your snaps. Snaps are only temporary so this an opportunity to be silly or quirky. Or, use Snapchat stories to give your crowd exclusive updates.

6) Tumblr: You could use Tumblr as a campaign blog. Post little pieces of content that tell the story of your campaign. Post funny animated .gifs. Post interviews with your team mates. Post links to media mentions. Post amusing anecdotes. Open up your ask box to start a dialogue with pledgers.

7) Pinterest: Pin your pitch video. Pin your rewards. Include link backs to your campaign to drive traffic from Pinterest to your campaign. Pin images that inspire you to do what you do best.

8) Vine: The six second loop videos you can post on Vine are the perfect way of creating and sharing anything from stop motion animation to short skits about your campaign.

Media

1) Press Releases: Your goal is to gain media attention and pick up from print, television and web outlets. For example, your local newspaper or ONE news runs a story on your campaign. The exposure from this media attention can increase your likelihood of gaining new pledges. Think of media as a giant lever. If you have a small crowd or you’ve successfully leveraged your crowd already, then you need to find a media outlet with a bigger crowd than you, and successfully leverage that. A good strategy is to send targeted press releases to media outlets drawing attention to the parts of your campaign that would be interesting to that media outlet’s target audience.

2) Blogs: Make friends with bloggers. You should consider creating an electronic press kit containing all the materials (high res images, great quotes and statistics) that make it easy for a blogger to blog about you. You want them to include a link to your campaign and/or embed your pitch video. A mention or shout out on a blog is great, but the objective should be to drive more traffic and attention to the campaign, where people can pledge of course.

Download the full guide: How to PledgeMe – detailed version.

 

Top 7 Educators Who Crowdfunded Their Way To Success

With school starting up again, we thought now was the perfect time to showcase how some educators are getting involved in crowdfunding. Here’s just a few (there are many more) examples of the projects that made a difference in education.

1. Thinking Digital

Primary school teachers Tara TJ and Jo Fothergill took a research sabbatical to investigate innovative classroom practices. Not only did they attend the Thinking Digital conference in the UK, but they became the first kiwis to speak at the conference, alongside representatives from Google, BBC and TED. To attend and speak, they needed to fund their trip all by themselves and raised over $1500 in travel costs. Tara and Jo took the ideas they gained from attending the conference back with them to their classrooms in Pukerua Bay.

2. The Kaikorai Journey

Kaikorai Primary School students (with the help of their principal, Simon Clarke) wrote, directed and produced a movie The Quest all by themselves. The movie is based on their school’s values system and incorporated many iconic Dunedin locations such as Larnach Castle. They booked The Regent Theatre for their premiere and used PledgeMe to raise over $6,000 so the entire school and their families to attend the premiere for free.

3. 2 Girls, 1 Conference

Leilani Kake and Ema Tavola are two Pacific art practitioners based in South Auckland. To get their unique pacific art practices heard at the Pacific Arts Association (PAA) in Vancouver, Canada, they needed to raise over $2500 in travel costs. Leilani and Ema ended up raising nearly double that with $4050 in total. Leilani and Ema went to the conference where Leilani spoke about her video installation practices and intercultural identity and Ema contributed to a panel on “curating pacific spaces” and contemporary pacific art in New Zealand.

4. Help South Auckland Grow

Manurewa Intermediate students wanted to leave a “graduation legacy” that promotes their school’s value on sustainable living. They turned to PledgeMe to purchase food trees to be planted on the school’s marae and fale complex. They planted plum, fig, avocado, tamarillo and nikau trees. Also, because so many of the students come from Pacific Island families, they also planted frangipani, hibiscus and taro shrubs. With this effort, the students gave back.

5. Books of the Rainbow

Not only did Leilana Quinger volunteer to teach at the Rainbow Academy in rural India, but she raised the money for vital resources including textbooks, whiteboards (to replace the existing blackboards), sports equipment and small speakers for Nepali dance classes. During her stay in India, she asked her Mother to send over a large box of donated books, which she had acquired after working in a University Bookshop for seven years. So. Much. Awesome.

6. Look through our Eyes

The Ahuroa primary school photography club, with the help of the Club Leader Theressa, crowd funded over $700 to put on an exhibition of their photos of the theme “Through our Eyes”.  Which is pretty impressive considering the kids are aged between 7 and 11 years old and worked hard for nine months on their show. Here are the kids with their cameras:

7. Collab with Colab

Last year, AUT University’s Colab project asked us talk to their Creative Technology students about crowdfunding. Colab set a crowdfunding assignment, using PledgeMe. The students had to create a pitch, but the marking criteria was crowdsourced from the class. We heard pitches about social enterprise and teepees. They even shared with us tips and tricks about what makes an effective pitch video. Here are a few examples of what they come up with:

Corey Paiva and the Stray team

Christian Tiandrawinata and The Planter Box team

What does home mean to you?

That was the question that the Loading Docs team asked film makers late last year, and the resulting 67 short doco proposals they received were so varied they almost couldn’t be compared – everyone had a different way of showing Aotearoa to the world. From that bunch, 10 were picked to receive NZ on Air and NZ Film Commission funding, and set to the task of match funding the rest through us over the month of February.

The Loading Docs team did a fabulous job of supporting the film makers in January to get their pitches together, and I spent some time with them at their workshop giving them tips and tricks on how to do crowdfunding well – with one of our successes, Karl from Dregs.

The projects launched Monday, and in just under three days one has been funded, and overall they’ve raised almost 40% of their goal.

Want to meet the film makers? Check out their pitches below, and click here to see how they’re going on campaigns.

Loading Docs - Class of 2014

“The Road to Whakarae” By Aaron Smart and Tim Worrall

The Road to Whakarae winds deep into the Urewera Ranges where kaumatua, Beam Titoko is putting on his best cowboy hat and boots, digging out his classic Gibson guitar and preparing to sing a waiata to call his whānau back home.  An affectionate portrait of a Tūhoe community by Tūhoe filmmakers, The Road to Whakarae celebrates the simple lifestyles and closeness of whānau who have stayed on their traditional lands to keep their home fires burning.

Living Like a King by Zoe MacIntosh

The disaster of the Christchurch Earthquake left the majority of its population devastated but for a small group of homeless people, the earthquake meant new and luxurious living opportunities. Living like a King is an intimate portrait of one of Christchurch’s oldest Streeties (Aka Cowboy) and his unexpected taste of what its like to live like a King.

Today by Loom Films

From the last resident going to bed to the first person rising, Today follows the passing of time for residents and workers of a South Auckland rest home and offers an evocative insight into a place many New Zealanders call ‘home’.

‘Wayne’ By Kirsty Griffin and Vivienne Kernick

For Wayne, a profoundly intellectually disabled man, living with others has always been fraught with conflict, but at 44 he has finally been given a home of is own. With this space Wayne is now ready to begin the rest of his life.

Queer Selfies By Robyn & Paula

Coming out is one thing, coming home another. Home is a complex concept to anyone of an ‘alternative’ sexuality, with its connotations of place, identity and security. In this film, a diverse range of the queer community talk to a self-operated camera about their personal experiences; sharing stories which are moving, humorous and compelling.

The Jump By Alex Sutherland

With a healthy mix of imagination, balls and rough Newtonian physics, a kiwi bloke jumped off a bridge in 1980, starting what has become a worldwide phenomenon. The Jump is an origin story of Bungy jumping and its unsung creator Chris Sigglekow. Unearthed video footage from the 80s uncovers this amazing period of Bungy’s beginnings.

‘Dans’ – animated short film by Joel Kefali

Dans (Turkish for ‘dance’) is an animated documentary based around the storytelling of Sol, an elderly Turkish migrant now living in New Zealand. In this colourful short Sol recounts a treasured memory from his early days as a refugee spent at “The Orange” – a popular dance hall in Auckland.

 

STOP/GO – a short documentary By Greg Jennings

Be it in scorching sunlight or sideways snowfall, the workers behind the stop/go signs on our roads gain a unique insight into our home, Aotearoa. Using the natural beauty of New Zealand as the backdrop, Stop/Go shares an untold kiwi story of identity and earning an honest day’s pay.

HOMING By Andrew Scott

In one elegant shot this short documentary takes the viewer on an unusual journey through a New Zealand home on a summers day.  A peaceful work that initiates contemplation on what humans choose to have in their homes, and the natural and man-made symphony that surrounds us all.

 

What does home mean to you?

Why Your Mother Is The Most Important Person To Your Crowdfunding Campaign

We want to honour all the Mothers who help make crowdfunding campaigns a success. Here’s just a few examples of the value your Mother can will add to your campaign.

Because she is often the first person to pledge

You may joke that the only person who reads your blog is your Mother, so what? The audience of one is still an audience. In his TED Talk “How To Start a Movement, Derek Sivers said “The first follower has a crucial role. He’s going to show everyone else how to follow.” So, ask your Mother to do you the honour of being the first person to pledge to your campaign. In crowdfunding, every little bit helps. Your Mother’s pledge didn’t just help you get started, but it validated your project’s existence, it demonstrated to other people that there are signs of life and that people are already interested in your project.

We had one project creator who consciously sent her project out to three people the day before she started publically promoting – to her mother, her best friend, and her best friends mum. They all pledged, and gave the project it’s first boost.

Remember: Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd. And your Mother will convince others to stop and look simply by being the first person who showed up.

http://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_how_to_start_a_movement.html

Because her wisdom will only make your campaign better

Your Mother doesn’t have to be a crowdfunding expert. She just have to give you helpful answers. Ask your Mother “Is this a good reward?” “Is this text easy-to-read and clear?” “What do you think of the photos?” “Would you pledge to this campaign?” Remember: It’s busy people like your Mother who will take a look at your campaign. So, her feedback matters. Absolutely everything on your campaign page (the text, photo, video and rewards) must convince busy people to pledge. If your Mother finds the text too wordy or too much, or the photos too busy or too crappy, or the rewards too lame, make changes based on your Mother’s feedback.

Because she will help keep you honest in your pitch video

To make a good pitch video, you need to be real, honest and transparent. You have to be yourself on camera and tell people why you need the money and what you will do with it. Ask your Mother “How do I come across?” “Is the “me” in this video the “me” you know?” “Do you smell bullshit?” My Mother will tell me if I come across as anything but myself. If I come across as a fake, desperate or anything but honest and transparent, my Mother will tell me. She knows me better than I know myself. And for that reason, she is the best first person to watch my pitch video before it’s uploaded to the web for the world to see.

Because she will be an advocate for your campaign

To run a successful crowdfund campaign, you need advocates. Advocates are people who will campaign for you on your behalf. They ring people and send messages. They turn apathetic people into pledgers. They get pledges rolling in! And what better advocate is there, than your own Mother? All those times your Mother shamelessly bragged about you at a get-together might have embarrassed you as a kid or teenager, but now, those brags are highly valuable to your campaign. Her brags are what make her a great advocate. Her brags turn her social network into pledgers. So, let your Mothers do what they do best: brag.

Because she is networked

Your Mother has a network. Your Mother’s network connects you to more potential pledgers. Remember: Your Mother is already an advocate, but what makes her an even greater advocate is her network. Look at how your Mother is networked in your community. She might be involved in a church, sport, community, or hobby group. She might be a volunteer. She might simply know the neighbours. The chances are high that your Mother is not only willing to talk about your project, but she has somebody she can talk about your project to.

She could be a part of your campaign

Pink Ribbon Calendar Girls fundraised to produce their first calendar – and this image showed Jean and Cushla, mother and daughter cancer survivors. We were so touched by this mother – daughter duo, and everything the campaign tried to do, that we had to share.

Seeking: One Chief People Wrangler

Writing this blog post is a bit like a eulogy, as we’re losing our fantastic Chief People Wrangler of forever, Jacqui, to her main passion – directing operas. We couldn’t really argue with her on that one as we’re all horrid singers, so now we have a space opening up in our growing team of crowdfunding afficiandos. No two days are the same, but one things for sure – you will always feel like you’re making a difference.

So if you’re Welly based, looking for some part time work (10 hours-ish a week), and think People Wrangling might be for you – read on!

Here’s what we’re looking for in the perfect People Wrangler:

  • Not afraid to be a bit quirky. We occasionally wear onesies to the office (but only on Wednesdays). Or 1920s bathing caps.

  • Attention to detail – passionate about inbox zero (TBH, inbox ten is fine too)

  • Tech able. No, you don’t need to be able to code C#, but you should know you should be able to work your way around embed code and excel spreadsheets. Or better yet, google docs.

  • Empathetic. You need to want to help people, and get the best out of every project creator that comes through your inbox / our office.

  • Able to think on your feet (and office chair). Happy to point out things you think could be improved, then leading the charge to fix ‘em.

What this actually means day-to-day:

  • Responding promptly to correspondence regarding projects

  • Supporting creators during project creation, and managing all the steps from reviewing initial request to project close out.

  • Answering enquiries where able in a timely manner – and forwarding on when help needed

  • Support at events (every few months – it’ll be fun, promise)

We’re a growing social enterprise* – and if you want to grow with us, send our Chief Bubble Blowing Anna an email with your CV to anna@pledgeme.co.nz by 17 Jan.

* we believe we can use business tools to make a social impact. AKA conscious capitalism / third sector / for-benefit. 

ps. Jacqui – you rock. We’re going to miss you HEAPS, atleast until we get better at singing.

Collab with Colab

Late last year, the Colab group at AUT asked us to come talk to their Creative Technology students about entrepreneurship and crowdfunding. They even decided to set a PledgeMe themed assignment – creating a PledgeMe pitch, with crowdsourced marking from the class.

The class was inspiring – on the day we heard about their passions, everything from social enterprise (a personal passion of ours) to teepees. We shared some tips and tricks about what makes a fab crowdfunding video, and here are a few examples they came up with:

Corey Paiva and the Stray team

Christian Tiandrawinata and The Planter Box team

Which one’s your favourite?