How to PledgeMe.

How to get your campaign funded in the final few days

Some campaigns start off super strong, and meet their goal in days (or in some cases, even minutes). Think Yeastie Boys, ParrotDog (really, anything craft beer related).

But, those are extreme cases and definitely not the normal.

Often, you’ll make your goal in the final few days or even final few hours. We’ve seen some campaigns raise over 75% of their goal in the final countdown, but we’ve also seen some campaigns completely lose the will to push.

We’ve put together this case study  to show how some campaigns managed those final pushes, even when the going got tough. Hopefully it will inspire you to keep on going (and educate you on what you might be getting yourself into).

Making your crowd feel loved IRL

Moustache cookie Monday & wall of pledgers

Moustache ran a project campaign in 2015 to buy a Cookie Bus. A week out, they still had a way to go to be funded, so they sent out this update:

I spent Easter weekend reading through the comments and names of all our pledgers & supporters of Moustache. Since then, I’ve been adding every believer’s name on our wall inside the shop. The sheer time it took me to write your names up shows just how many people believe in our little cookie bar. I don’t want this to be the end of Moustache just  because of one silly curveball event, but I’m humbled by how many other people also want to #SaveMoustache.

There are only 8 more days of our fundraiser left & we still have a little bit of a hill to climb but we are getting so so incredibly close to saving Moustache!!! I guess it’s all about the Power of the People. We’ve got over 25,000 fans on Facebook so it’s hard not to go into that mindset of “If everyone on our facebook just gave $1 then we would be done!” but that’s not a very logical assumption. There are moments when I get nervous & those sort of illogical thoughts pop up because of my nerves but those moments are nothing compared to the overwhelming feeling of gratitude and humility I have towards each of you.

After spending hours writing the names of our supporters up, I was so overcome by indebtedness to those who believe in us, I couldn’t stop thinking of other ways to express myself.

But that’s one thing I love about cookies. No words need to be said. To me, nothing screams gratitude more than a person buying ingredients, waking up extra early for you & baking you a warm, fresh cookie straight out of the oven.

So, we’re going to do the one thing we know how to do. And that is to bake.

We’ve got a little “secret” cookie party coming up. This Monday we will close our doors to the public at 6pm. But that’s exactly when we’ll open our doors to our supporters. For 2 hours from 6pm-8pm, we’ll be baking furiously & if you happen to be free, gifting each of you a free cookie. There’s no requirement. Some of you have pledged towards our fundraiser, some people have supported us via kind words and some have supported us in their heart. No matter what form your support, we invite you into our doors to say hello & grab a cookie on us. What we lack in huge amounts of money, we want to give back through labour of love.  Feel free to invite any fellow Moustache lovers. So come along to our “secret” supporters cookie day. Monday the 13th, 6-8pm at Moustache Milk & Cookie Bar, 12 Wellesley Street West. We would love to meet you.

I know it’s not much for now, but I will continue to dedicate my life now to the cause. To creating a fun & quirky business that not only I love, but that the community can enjoy too. Lets make Moustache Milk & Cookie Bus a vehicle not just for milk & cookies but also a vehicle for community. So for now, what I can offer you is my sincerest gratitude, some kickass pledge rewards, a free handmade cookie & a promise of my dedication & love.

Here’s a picture of the folk that lined up around the block to have their cookies:

They met their goal on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 12:29 PM and their campaign closed on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 11:00 PM. They got 228 pledges after their goal was met, and $11,000 more than they needed.


Pineapple Heads happy hour

Pineapple Heads were running an equity campaign, and a day out they were still only half funded. But founder Megan didn’t give up – instead, she hosted a party! She got all her friends around to talk them through the investment proposal, and convince them to take a chance on her.

Thanks to her efforts, in 24 hours she raised over $90,000 and funded her campaign.


Eat My Lunch Gala Dinner

Eat My Lunch’s Their deadline was 15 July 2016, and on Sunday, 3 July they still only had a third of the funding pledged of their $500,000 goal. So, a week out from the end of their campaign, they hosted a gala dinner.

On 8 July they hosted around 70 people from their interested investors, crowd, and the media. They had a guest speaker, Lance O’Sullivan, talk about the issues facing our young people in poverty. Lisa spoke about why they wanted their company to become obsolete (which later became this opinion piece in Stuff) and they had their crowd rally around.

They had $36,000 pledged on the night, but over $500,000 in that final week, getting them to over $800,000 pledged.

Crowdsourcing new rewards

Loves Me Not raises half its goal in the final day

This project was close to home for me, because I ran it. And somehow, even I found myself less than half funded with a day to go.

Desperate times called for desperate measures, and I went out to my crowd asking if they could donate any rewards for me to offer. And my crowd delivered. I had everything from a woman I didn’t really know offering to write Love Poems through to friends offering Beer and Cheese tasting sessions.

With all the additional rewards I also had a widened network of people hearing about the campaign, through their friends offering rewards.

In the end, we raised over $10,000 to help the Sophie Elliott Foundation create online content for the Loves Me Not programme.

Otakaro Orchard raises $40,000 in the final week

A week out from this campaign ending was pretty stressful for Chloe, the campaign creator. She had a big vision, and a supportive crowd, but her goal of $60,000 was large for a project campaign. But, she didn’t give up. She had a friend calling her every morning to help her figure out the focus of each day, she called in some big sponsors, and she hosted a session in the Orchard space showing people their plans.

She crowdsourced rewards from a local network of Women Who Get Shit Done, she got media coverage, and she didn’t give up.

As a final rallying call, she hosted a countdown Happy Hour at a local bar on the night her campaign closed – offering to shout drinks for anyone who pledged more than $250 on the spot! By the end of the night, she had raised $65,359 from a $60,000 target.

To conclude, none of these campaigns need to be a blueprint for your own. Every crowd is different, as is every campaign – but hopefully by looking at these stories you can get a sense of some ideas that can help you cross the finish line. The last few days of a campaign are always nerve wracking, but if these success stories prove anything, it’s that you should never give up hope (and that your pledgers really do need a deadline).

What's Up Wednesday

Running on Sunshine

Pakaraka Permaculture are passionate about growing real food for their community. They believe that the future of food is in small-scale local production – and they want to be a market garden of the future. But in order to get there, they need your help!

While the garden is already operating sustainably, the team want to reduce their ecological footprint even further, and get their gardens running just on sunshine. This means they need to purchase a solar power system, run a cool room, and deliver produce with an electric car. All of these steps cost money, which is why they’re reaching out to their crowd – and offering everything from sun salutations to strawberry runners in return! We had a chat to gardeners Yotam and Niva about why you should be getting on board:

Why do you think this campaign is so important?

Everyone eats, so they way our food is grown is everyone’s business. We felt that Running on Sunshine is a great model for what is possible and achievable. If we work together as a community on sustainable solutions we can change the future of food production.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

Crowdfunding allows us to engage with people, involve them in how we grow the food, and allow them to contribute by helping us become even more sustainable.

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

We have very cool rewards giveaways donated to us that we will release when we reach special milestones, so stay tuned! We will be hosting a farm tour on the 16th of April, which is a great opportunity to come and ask any questions you might have about the campaign. Registration is by email.

Anything you’d like to shout out to your crowd?

We are so blown away by the response to the campaign!! We think the world is ready for a food production revolution, and we are blessed to take part of it with all of you.

How to: fund the growth of your social enterprise

A group of social entrepreneurs around a table.

Photo cred: Thomas Nabbs from The Waterboy

Two weeks ago we co-hosted our first “Introduction to Investment for Social Enterprises” workshop with Dave and Emma from the Ākina Foundation. It was great for a bunch of reasons, but mainly because of the people in the room. We had a range of ages, stages, and structures of organisations, but an underlying thread of really caring about the future of Aotearoa and the world. People that wanted to do good for their communities, do well as organisations, and grow their impact through investment.

For those of you that couldn’t make it, here’s a quick recap on what we covered:

 

What is social enterprise

Emma from Akina summarised this as an organisation with viable, repeatable, commercial practices that exists to create a social or environmental impact. Simple.

She then ran through examples of different types of social enterprises: profit redistribution, embedded, innovative, and “all of the above”, and the different structures. 

 

General investment readiness

Triangle with top third called "Deal" and bottom two thirds called "Evidence-based business and impact"

Photo cred: Emma from Ākina

We did a quick session on general investment readiness, including the investment readiness triangle (the most important bit is that your enterprise / impact is in order!), what various sources of fund are available (led by Tan), and what it means to do an investment round.

There was a call for the organisations present to be clear on:

  • Their business model & their impact model. Being clear, you don’t need to be set up as a company to have a sustainable revenue model.
  • Their financials – both current and projected
  • And what resources they need both NOW and LATER

We touched on valuation briefly (for social enterprises that were set up as companies), and other forms of finance (both for companies and charities).

 

Crowdfunding101 (but with social enterprise examples)

Image of Pomegranate Kitchen team

Photo Cred: Rebecca from Pomegranate Kitchen

I ran through Crowdfunding 101, and talked about a few social enterprise examples specifically.

Crowdfunding really is as simple as it sounds, you go out to your crowd for funding. You set a specific goal, a deadline, and offer something in return. For projects you offer rewards, for equity you offer shares, and for lending you offer loan notes with set repayment terms.

Social enterprises in some ways have it easier than more traditional businesses, because they have the feel good factor embedded to what they do. But, you still need to show a sustainable business model as well as impact if you’re going for investment in the form of equity or lending.

On the project side, I talked about Pomegranate Kitchen’s campaign (pictured above). They raised $18,350 from 230 pledgers to launch their refugee focussed catering enterprise in Wellington. They offered baklava as one of their rewards, and did an amazing job of bringing a crowd on board really early in their journey (they hadn’t even started when they launched). 

Then I talked about Thought-Wired’s equity campaign where they raised $285,100 from 171 investors to finish their final prototype and commercialise their brain sensing software. Dmitry and the team did an awesome job of showing the work they’d done so far, and activated their community to help them launch (and share) their campaign. A major hat tip to their advisors, who helped at every level of the business.

And, then I ran through Eat My Lunch’s lending campaign, where they raised over $800,000 from 238 investors to improve their technology and launch their buy one give one lunch programme in Wellington. They offered two interest rates – 0% with more lunches gifted, or 6% with fewer lunches gifted, and will repay this loan over the next 5 years. Lending is interesting because you don’t need to be structured as a company to issue loan notes, you could be a charity. 

For the second half of the workshop (after breaking for hot cross buns of course) we gave the attendees the option of what we could cover. They chose these three sessions:

 

  1. Capital strategy – what is it?

Dave ran through what you need to think about when setting up your capital strategy. This is helpful when raising for growth and doing numerous rounds.  You have to think about where the next round is coming from. For each round be clear on:

  • Why do you need money
  • How much do you need?
  • How will you use it?
  • What will you achieve? Achieve – evidence, how are you taking away risk, making next raise cheaper. (Investors may or may not be concerned with this, depending on how established you are.)
  • Where will it come from?

His main tips were was to be easy to deal with, which included:

  • Have your housekeeping in order
  • Be ready to talk
  • Be ready to share

He also ran through this handy dandy chart.

2) Measuring impact – how do you do it?

In order to measure your impact, you need to be clear on what is going to change in the world as a result of what you are doing?

To know that you need to be clear on:

  • Who has what problem?
  • What happens to them / what do they do?
  • What is the outcome of this?
  • What impact does this result in?

When you’re thinking about the problem, you need to be clear on the difference between symptoms and causes. You also need to be aware that systems are complex (you know that, we know!).

Here’s one example Theory of Change:

You need a process for evaluating your impact, not just a product. It should look at understanding how change happens and what your role is in it. Then design your impact, and make it happen. Once you’ve implemented, assess the impact of your effort, and reflect on what happened / why. If it’s not working, iterate. If it is, keep going.

 

3) Locking mission – what are the different ways?

Shows a triangle, the levels from top tip to bottom are: alignment (all people involved are aligned on purpose), business model (mission is part of business model to the point if you changed biz would fail), Limiting investor control, mission lock, asset lock, charitable status.

The final area we discussed was locking in your mission. Emma ran through this triangle. At the top is the loosest way to protect your mission, and at the bottom of the triangle the tightest way to ensure your mission. You need to pick the level that is right for you.


In the end, the event was all about the crowd, meeting people, learning some new things, hearing everyone’s stories and getting feedback from each other. We already knew this, that feeling isolated and working on your organisation in silos can make things feel hard, so coming together can be useful.

We’re looking to run future events around the country, and bring that cohort back together to learn from each other. The cool thing with social enterprise is that if we solve the problems we all win.
Are you interested in having us in your home town? Comment below!

What's Up Wednesday

A Slick New Website for the Zero Carbon Act!

The world is getting hotter. And in a global climate where world leaders are turning away from the climate change challenge, New Zealand needs to lead the way in reducing emissions. We need a new law to put NZ on track to zero carbon by 2050: a Zero Carbon Act.

This is the goal of Generation Zero, a nationwide organisation of young people who advocate for a future beyond fossil fuels. The Zero Carbon Act campaign is their biggest, boldest national effort yet – but they need your help to get it out to the public.

With your pledges, Generation Zero can build a new website for the Zero Carbon Act, and ensure that it has a public mandate for cross party support. We had a chat to Gen Zero member Rosalee about why you should be getting on board.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

Because climate change is such a big challenge! We need to reduce our CO2 emissions to net zero by 2050starting right now, which means we need to see all political parties working together. We were inspired by the UK Climate Change Act, and have taken it upon ourselves to draft a Zero Carbon Act for New Zealand – the solution we need for meaningful action on climate change. The ZCA is a framework that demands transparency, cooperation from all political parties, and intergenerational fairness through long term planning and action. We’re releasing the blueprint via a brand new website very soon!

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

We need an awesome website that can serve as the main communication tool as we spread the word about the Zero Carbon Act. We’re paying professional web developers BlueTwist (look them up – they’re awesome) to create it for us, but because we want it to be super slick and a wee bit fancy, we needed some extra cash to pay for it!

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

We’ll keep the video updates coming, and we’re looking forward to making a video shoutout for everyone who chose the social media shout out reward. In terms of the wider campaign, after we unveil the Zero Carbon Act blueprint, we’ll be doing everything we can to get the word out there and build momentum for cross-party support – perhaps even a nationwide bike tour! So stay tuned for that!

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

Thanks so much for getting us this close to our goal! You all rock and we couldn’t do this without your support – just a little bit further to go. As well as sharing our PledgeMe page, you can also check out ways to get involved and stay in the loop with the wider ZCA campaign at www.generationzero.org/zca

To get involved and help get our emissions down to zero, check out Generation Zero’s campaign page right here.

What's Up Wednesday

Dash Rail – Canterbury Commuter Trains

Finding commuting into Christchurch impossible? Having a tricky time travelling around Canterbury? Dash Rail wants to end all of this, with the first community-owned commuter rail operation in the country. And they want you to help them get there.

Dash Rail is noticeable right off the bat, because its campaign target is huge – $1.8 million, to be precise. But for the team behind the project, they have high goals because those are the ones worth reaching for. The Dash Rail team aren’t doing this by halves – they already have plans drawn up for routes, services and timetables. All they need now is the money to get this plan on track.

We had a chat to Tane, who’s behind the project, to hear more about his ambitious plans.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

The stresses of a daily commute in a car during peak hour are unneccessary. And Cantabrians are stressed. The suicide rate has doubled. When I left for Melbourne the city was vibrant and happy, when I arrived home is was dismal to say the very least.  The experience of living overseas gave me a better appreciation for public rail and the difference between commuting with stress and commuting with social media instead and relaxing. Which is a net loss of 10 hours (ish) stress a week.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

The motivation to reach out is multifaceted.  As the generations are changing and the youth are more well travelled than their predecessors, I’m continually bumping into people that have used trains overseas while on OE’s and have wondered why they aren’t being used in Christchurch as everything is built next to the railway lines!!! They need a voice.  And as the rollingstock for such a service is available in Auckland and so cheaply. This has become a race between us (Cantabrians) and Mozambique.

Anything you’d like to shout out to your crowd?

We’ll keep getting out there and spreading the message. Thank you all for the great support so far and please keep sharing and spreading the good word.

To help this campaign keep chugging along, head over and pledge right here.

What's Up Wednesday

Double the Quota

In June 2013, the team behind Doing Our Bit launched a campaign to double NZ’s quota of refugees – a number that hasn’t increased in 29 years. While the campaign has gained an amazing amount of support, this September is the last chance before 2019 to pressure the government to substantially increase the quota. Doing Our Bit are determined to make it happen – but they need your help!

Doing Our Bit launched their PledgeMe project so that people who are too busy with work or other causes can still contribute to the #DoubleTheQuota campaign. And within a day, the campaign reached its funding goal! But there’s still time for you to pledge – so we had a chat to organiser Murdoch Stephens to find out why you should be getting involved.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

In a time of Trump New Zealand needs to take a strong stand on the values that we hold dear. This campaign is about resourcing our supporters to tell all election candidates that refugees are welcome in New Zealand, and that we wont become meek in the face of tyrants. We’ve been campaigning to double the refugee quota or almost four years. On a practical note, the campaign represents the last chance before mid 2019 to pressure the government to increase the refugee quota. It really is now or never.

At the most transactional level, increasing the refugee quota is important to me because refugees have already provided so much benefit to New Zealand. The history of refugees in New Zealand has been one of innovation, struggle, and success. If not for us taking small numbers of refugees – and we’ve never been a world leader, and won’t even if we double the quota – we’d never have the same coffee culture, developed by former refugees from Central Europe, nor would we have that much-loved recipe for Vogels bread, which was bought here by a former refugee.

At the broadest level, a fair refugee intake is about the universal application of human rights; it’s about whether if you’re fleeing violence or persecution you have the right to have your case for protection heard, or whether you want to build walls and push people back to misery and death. The quota is particularly important as it provides a way out for the most vulnerable, people who are trapped in neighbouring countries where they risk arrest and are mostly prevented from doing the simple things in life like going to school or working.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

Two things: we wanted to connect to the massive range of people in New Zealand looking for a tried and tested way of assisting refugees. PledgeMe allows us to see connect to those willing to engage in the campaign, whether that’s helping out with $10 or $1500 or even just signing up to help (there is a form on the page). The funding from those who sign up and pledge will give us a base of resources to push towards the 2017 general election. So we’re really using PledgeMe as a platform to connect with our supporters as much as to fund the campaigning over the next six months.

We’ve never asked for funds before because we mostly used volunteer time and were lucky enough to have some private sponsors last year after the peak of the refugee crisis in the media. This year we weren’t able to get those funds but were desperate to make sure the campaign was done to the standard we’ve met in the past. While volunteer time is still our main resource, a few thousand dollars can be stretched really far for grassroots charitable trusts like Doing Our Bit.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

On the final day of the campaign we’re hosting a telethon style party at 17 Tory St in Wellington from 7-10pm counting down to the closing of the PledgeMe page. We’ve got Wellington’s Mayor Justin Lester opening it up with Ibrahim Omer, music from Ruth Mundy, and readings from Emily Writes, Brannavan Gnanalingam and Marianne Elliott and more. We’ll be livestreaming it via our Facebook page for everyone unable to make it.

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

Massive thanks to those who pledged in the first 24 hours. We reached out first goal in that time and we’re so very grateful to all those people who made that happen. Now we need to push on to our stretch goals to make for a really powerful campaign. All our budget details are on the page and you can rest assure that we’re making the funds stretch as far as possible. It’s also worth remembering that what will really take this campaign over the line are volunteers – if you can pledge, great; if you can’t, then still sign up to help – we’ll need all of the voices we can get.

To help double the quota and do your bit, get pledging to Murdoch’s campaign page right here.

We’re changing our fees

 

We’ve made a big announcement today: we’re changing the fees we charge our users!

We believe that everyone is better off under this new model:

  • The total fee campaign creators are charged will be less (from 7.5% total to 6.5%)
  • If you choose to pledge with your credit card, you as the pledger will be on charged the credit card fee. But, you can fully avoid fees if you choose to direct deposit.
  • There’s tiered pricing for CrowdfundingU, so earlier stage companies and organisations can access it for less.
  • We’ll be earning more for our services. We’ll move from a 5% success fee (which is lower than most crowdfunding providers in New Zealand) to 6.5%.
  • The announcement today is giving a month’s notice to users, and anyone who launches before 1 April will be under our old pricing.

We’ve worked really really really hard to figure out a simple way to do this.

If you have any comments, thoughts, or questions do let us know.

Here’s the full announcement:

 

Kia ora,

 

We’ve got some fee changes coming in the PledgeMe office on 1 April 2017 that we need to let you know about.

Our fee structure currently

Currently, campaign creators are charged a 5% success fee and a 2.5% credit card fee on pledges made on credit cards. That’s around 7.5% in fees, as well as an education programme fee for equity and lending campaigns of up to $1,500 + GST.

How we’re changing our fees

We’re making a few changes to our fee structure to bring us in line with the rest of the industry, but also make it less expensive for our campaign creators.


We’ve decided to:

  • Offer a free payment option so all types of campaigns (project, equity, and lending) will have the option to direct deposit at no cost to the creator or the pledger.
  • Change it so that if pledgers choose to use their credit cards, the credit card cost will be charged to them as pledgers rather than to the campaign creator.
  • Increase our success fee to 6.5%. This is less than our current total fee charged to campaign creators (as it includes the credit card fee), and less than most other platforms in the market.
  • Change our CrowdfundingU six session education programme for equity and lending campaigns to be $750 for those seeking to raise less than $100,000, and $3,000 for those seeking to raise more. Companies will still be able to seek capability vouchers for up to half the cost, read our blog on how capability vouchers work here.

 

What does that mean for campaign creators?

If you create and launch your crowdfunding campaign before 1 April 2017, you will still be under our old fee structure.

 

For example, if you are launching a campaign you’ve created before 1 April 2017 you will pay:

 

Project campaign Equity campaign Lending campaign
  • 5% success fee (GST included)
  • Up to 2.5% + 25c per transaction for credit card fees.
  • $1,500 + GST for CrowdfundingU
  • 5% (zero rated) success fee
  • Up to 2.5% + 25c per transaction for credit card fees.
  • $1,500 + GST for CrowdfundingU
  • 4% (zero rated) success fee
  • Up to 2.5% + 25c per transaction for credit card fees.

 

If you launch after 1 April 2017 you will pay:

 

Project campaign Equity campaign Lending campaign
  • 6.5% success fee (GST included)
  • No credit card fees (these will be paid by your pledger if incurred).
  • $750 (campaigns under $100,000) or $3,000 + GST (campaigns over $100,000) for CrowdfundingU (could be half funded by capability vouchers)
  • 6.5% (zero rated) success fee.
  • No credit card fees (these will be paid by your pledger if incurred).
  • $750 (campaigns under $100,000) or $3,000 + GST (campaigns over $100,000) for CrowdfundingU (could be half funded by capability vouchers)
  • 5.5% (zero rated) success fee.
  • No credit card fees (these will be paid by your pledger if incurred).

 

So, for example on a $300,000 equity campaign you would pay:

  • $1,500 + GST for CrowdfundingU (if you got a capability voucher for half of the cost)
  • $19,500 zero rated success fee

What does that mean for pledgers?

 

There could now be two fees you pay:

  • When you pledge with a credit card – You can either choose to direct deposit your pledge after a campaign closes, or pay on your credit card. If you choose to use your credit card, the fees associated with using your card will be added on top of your pledge total. These fees are currently 2.5% of the total, and 25c per transaction attempt.
  • The 1% repayment fee on lending campaigns – this hasn’t changed, you will still be charged 1% of the principal amount as repayments are made.

If you have any questions, comments, or gif offerings, let us know on contact@pledgeme.co.nz!

Cheers,

Anna

 

Fee structure as at 1 April 2017

PledgeMe.Project creator

6.5% success fee (GST inclusive) charged to campaign creator if goal met by deadline

PledgeMe.Equity creator

6.5% success fee (zero rated) charged to campaign creator if goal met by deadline

PledgeMe.Lend creator

5.5% success fee (zero rated) charged to campaign creator if goal met by deadline. Note: there will also be fees to the pledger of 1% of principal repayment.

CrowdfundingU

$3,000 + GST for 6 session programme. Required for all Equity and Lending campaigns. Reduced to $750 + GST for campaigns under $100,000

Pledgers

The cost of using your credit card will be passed onto you if your card is charged, currently this is 2.5% + 25c per transaction attempt.

1% of the principal repaid to pledgers on PledgeMe.Lend campaigns (note: no fee on the interest earned)

What's Up Wednesday

The Ōtakarō Orchard Project

Since the earthquakes shook the city apart, the local food resilience movement in Christchurch has been gathering momentum. In the event of supply chains becoming disrupted, supermarkets carry only three days worth of food – so community gardens become more important than ever. And in a time when up to 40% of Cantabrians struggle to have access to the food they need, community gardens become a necessity.

Enter the Ōtakarō Orchard Project.

The project has three parts: an edible park, a local food information centre and cafe, and a dome to serve as an indoor food production and education space. The team behind Ōtakarō Orchard want to create New Zealand’s first urban food hub – an oasis in the city producing tonnes of food each year for their community. But they need your help to do it!

Since 2015 the project has received over $300,000 in public donations and grant funding, but they need an extra $60k to get the first stage of the landscaping done. In return, they’re offering everything from a vegetable bouquet to a tree named after you! But in case you wanted to find out a little more before you got pledging, we got in touch with Chloe, the project coordinator:

How are you finding the campaign so far?

love being able to share this project I’m so passionate about with our community so that’s been a joyous process! We’ve had a really great reception so far with lots of people excited about the project and members of the business community coming on board to offer more rewards and in-kind support for the construction of the park. So although our rate of pledges will need to pick up in the coming weeks, we’re feeling really optimistic we’ll reach target.

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

We’ll be releasing more exciting rewards and also video clips of people from Christchurch and beyond telling us why they’re excited about the Orchard. Then I think we’ll also have a great wrap party!

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

The thing that’s going to make this campaign a success is if we can reach the people who want to take the higher rewards – naming planters ($5000), trees ($1000) and bricks ($250). This is important for meeting our funding goal, but also in the park feeling community-owned once it is built. We want as many names on it as possible! So if you know a person, group or business that might like to make a donation at this level then please phone or write to them to tell them about this opportunity! Many thanks in advance.

To find out more about the Ōtakarō Orchard Project and get a tree named after you, check out their campaign page right here!

How to PledgeMe.

How to create your Crowdfunding Canvas

One of the hardest things about every crowdfunding campaign is making it simple. Seeing everything you need to do on one page, and keeping track of where you’re at. Recently, we canvassed our crowd for ideas on how to make things easier and our friend Nat at Mum’s Garage came to the table with the idea of a canvas.

We’re big fans of the Lean Canvas here in the PledgeMe office, being regular mentors, judges, and attendees at Start Up Weekends around New Zealand. So, taking inspiration from that, and the Social Lean Canvas, we decided to create our own Crowdfunding Canvas.

 

Note: THIS IS NOT A BUSINESS PLAN! You should have your project and / or business plan stored somewhere else. This is just for your crowdfunding campaign (pre, during, and post).


Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Get the canvas

Go to the Crowdfunding Canvas and either:

  1. Create a Google Docs copy (File → Make a Copy), or
  2. Download the canvas (File → Download As).

You can print it out and hand write your plans on (small) post it notes / change as you go, or keep updating an online version.


Step 2: Fill out the canvas

Have a first run through of the canvas filling out each of the sections.

Left side: Your Crowd

  • Crowd

Write down the people who will pledge / share your campaign, and start chatting to them. These are actual humans you already know, not the crowd you’d like to support your project – a list of names, not general categories like students or animal lovers. Think about why they support you and how much you can reasonably expect them to be able to pledge.

  • Skills needed

Write down the skills you need, and think about whether anyone in your crowd above could help. Videographers, designers, writers, journos, social media whizzes, party planners – who do you know?

 

Middle section: Your Content

  • Funding

Note your overarching goal for the campaign (both min and max if you’re doing a lending or equity campaign) and make sure to include the costs for preparing and sending rewards (production, postage, etc) and PledgeMe’s fees. You should note what this money is for in one sentence. How does your budget compare to the pledging capability of your crowd? If you’ve got a shortfall, you’ll need to find a way to build a bigger crowd.

  • What we do

Write down in a sentence or two what you do. Where did your idea come from, why are you and your team the right people for the job, and why should your crowd get excited about it?

  • What you offer

Start drafting what you will offer your crowd: shares at what valuation, loan notes at what interest rate, or rewards. What will they get in return for pledging on your campaign?

  • Video and imagery

Start planning your visuals – note where you are at with your video (link to a script?) and where your best imagery is stored (of you, of what you do, and of your team).

  • Why crowdfunding?

Write down in a sentence or two why going to your crowd makes sense to you. It should probably be along the lines of “our crowd loves us, they matter to us and we want to keep them involved as we do our thing.”

  • People

Who are you? Write brief bios of each of your team, and be clear on what their role will be during the campaign (and beyond, if relevant). You can link to a bigger doc here if required.

 

Right side: How you communicate your content to your crowd

  • Spreading the word

Even if your crowd loves you, they can’t support your campaign if they don’t know about it. How are you going to get them involved? Phone calls, social media, direct emails, a newsletter, events, media coverage – what are you going to do, and who on your team will be responsible?

 

Bottom section: Your timeline

  • Timeline – Pre launch

One of the most common things we hear from campaign owners (both successful and not) is that they wish they’d spent more time planning. Most of the work behind a successful campaign takes place before it ever goes live. Prepping your crowd, nailing the budget, making a video, perfecting your rewards, reaching out to journalists, drafting a solid promotion plan – all essential to a smooth campaign. What do you need to have in place before you launch?

  • Timeline – During and Post launch

Even with a solid plan and your crowd’s interest piqued pre launch, you’re going to need time during the campaign to make it all happen. Getting the word out to your crowd via social media, direct emails, phone calls, campaign updates, and events can take up a lot of time. If your media plan goes well, someone will need to be on call to chat to journalists. After you close, organising and distributing rewards can be a full time gig. How will you and your team fit the campaign around your other responsibilities?


Step 3: Get feedback

Get feedback – this could be from your team, from us, or from your crowd! Are people excited about your rewards? Do they ‘get’ your vision? Does your budget sound reasonable? Would they pledge?


Step 4: Keep updating

Keep iterating and improving your canvas based on feedback and experience, both in the lead up to and during your campaign. If you’re getting similar questions from a lot of people, think about how to make your pitch clearer. If a reward is popular, ponder ways to offer more like it. Ditto for criticism – take it on board, integrate it if you need to, and thank people for their honest feedback. It’s better to hear this during the planning stage than when you’re in the midst of a busy campaign!

Sales is Like Friendship

We love making things simpler here at PledgeMe. We’ve created three simple ways to involve your crowd and bring your ideas to life: Project, Equity & Lend. And we love the power of simple analogies. We want to make it more simple for more people to get their heads around startups. So many aspects of startup life are abstract and tough to grasp, and the guides that are supposed to help just leave you without a ground-level understanding of what’s what. We’ve found that one of these murky areas is sales.

So what is sales?

We used to think sales was greasy. That’s the misconception that’s planted in many of our minds. We hear “sales”and we recoil a little bit. We think “manipulating”, “ruthless”, “soulless”and “squeezing problems to fit a solution.” But with Tan now guiding us as we sail the selling seas, we’ve realised something. Sales is like friendship.

Simply put, sales is about exchanging stories, understanding one another, planning to do stuff together and then doing stuff together. Sounds like friendship, huh? It’s about meshing your different perspectives and skills together so that you can help each other get stuff done, and get it done better. It’s all about that real relationship that you create together with your customer and the time that you spend connecting.

So much of sales is letting your customer hear the real story – why you’re doing what you’re doing, your journey so far and your vision – and helping them believe in it enough to want to be a part of that story. But arguably, the most important thing about sales is passing the mic and listening to them. Asking questions to understand your customer’s problem so that you can truly empathise with them.


Your customer isn’t king (controversial!)…your customer is a friend who you create an authentic relationship with, who you can sit with on the same level and enjoy spending time with. Magic happens when friends get together. You make each other’s lives better.