What's Up Wednesday

GoodFor New Zealand

How much plastic do you use when you do your weekly supermarket shop? GoodFor took a deep dive into this wicked problem earlier this year when its founder, James Denton, decided he wasn’t content with merely replacing plastic bags with reuseable bags on his weekly shop. GoodFor is a slick, stylish and super convenient store that replaces any need for plastic packaging with jars, bottles and warm fuzzies. James shares his plans for expanding GoodFor and the movement towards shopping sustainably.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

For us this issue is very black and white. We have an astronomically large plastic waste issue on our hands and it is not slowing down. The way our consumer behaviour is and has been for far too long is completely unsustainable and it is crucial that we start making immediate change. If our company is successful with its plan, it will give consumers around Aotearoa the ability to take action. Even better, it will influence other companies to follow GoodFor’s lead in tackling other aspects of the waste issues we have. We are doing something very necessary and we are trying to do it is as fast as possible because it is already well past its due date. This campaign is going to be a catalyst to creating some big changes in New Zealand over the next five years.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

Our crowd are awesome. They are informed people who are aware of the problems we face. They care about the future of our planet and they want the environment we live in to be beautiful and clean for future generations. GoodFor is inundated with requests to go to places all over New Zealand and we are answering that call, knowing that these people are willing to get behind us.

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

We have just teamed up with Eat My Lunch who have kindly offered some really cool rewards. We are also working on adding a few more interesting rewards to get people excited so keep an eye out! And a GoodFor insight: we are extremely busy with a small team and getting our foundations set for growth is zapping a lot of our time so we are doing the best we can with this campaign to keep people engaged.

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

GoodFor is an environmental ambassador and we will be throwing everything we have as long as we exist into creating real environmentally positive change. We would like our crowd to get excited by the knowledge that our mission won’t stop with nationwide zero waste stores. We will continue to innovate and make living sustainably easier and easier. Getting behind us means getting behind a company with really solid values and great intentions because they are few and far between!

To help GoodFor launch its second store in Parnell (and beyond!), click through to the campaign here

Loans repaid with pride

Auckland social enterprise advocate, Bevin Fitzsimons shares his experience of social lending and the importance of interconnectedness when it comes to impactful lending.

How did an international loan fund make hundreds of loans over twenty-six years with 100% repayment?

Here’s the story….

For six years, I was Director of the Geneva-based Ecumenical Church Loan Fund (ECLOF). It raised money from church donors – initially for schools, hospitals, churches etc. In 1968, it began making economic development loans to communities and social enterprises in thirty-two countries. A local committee of bankers and experienced community developers, in each country, publicised and helped loan applicants plan their projects. Typical projects were: fish farms in Myanmar; tractor purchases in Tanzania; cycle rickshaws in India; wells and plantations in Malaysia. The local committee kept in touch with each borrower.


Soon after approving the fish farm loan in Myanmar, the local committee also approved a loan to a similar community fish farm a short distance up the coast. The interesting thing was that the committee told the second fish farm their loan would begin fifteen months after the first fish farm borrower (and other projects) had repaid a part of their loans. The second fish farm was immediately in touch with the first one. “Can we come and see how you do it? Can we come and help you? Please repay your loan – you’re helping us when you repay”. As a result, the two communities had a good rapport.


With repeated thank-yous from borrower two, borrower one had real pride in helping borrower two by simply repaying their own loan! They were not repaying to an anonymous foreign rich organisation. They repaid to help their neighbours and to feel the pride and helpfulness of this! Borrower two also learned a lot from borrower one before their similar project began. The system also worked well two borrower’s projects were naturally complementary. For instance, when one borrower’s loan was for a tractor and another’s was for an agricultural well.


The Ecumenical Church Loan Fund also had skilled local bankers in each national committee to ensure good planning, so those bankers’ reputations were also at stake should any loans fail. Bankers were always willing to be on the national committee to help their countrymen.

Bevin Fitzsimons

Bevin Fitzsimons now coaches social enterprises and helps them be unique in their marketplace through his company, Breakthrough Strategies. To pick his brain, you can contact him at bevin@breakthroughstrategies.co.nz.

What's Up Wednesday

Sophie Feels Like Me

If you’re a parent (or was once a kid), then you will know every young child experiences uncomfortable feelings from time to time. Adam Millen crafted a way to teach kids how to name these important-but-tricky feelings with his first crowdfunded book, ‘Jack Feels Big’. Now, Adam is doing it again; this time with new feelings and a new heroine; Sophie.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

I think it is important that kids know the names of their feelings. This book is a tool to help kids learn how to do just that. We use illustrated short stories that kids relate to, either because they have been in a similar situation or simply because they enjoy listening to the story unfold. And I know the kids enjoy them, because I have been busy doing school readings across the country!

The really cool thing about this campaign is that it has been co-created with my crowd. ‘Sophie Feels Like Me’ contains five stories that each focus on a different feeling: embarrassment, humility, grief, empathy and rejection.

These feelings were chosen by the people who have been supporting me since my first book, ‘Jack Feels Big’. I have really enjoyed talking to people about my project and the fact it has been shaped by my crowd makes it feel like a real community effort.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

Crowdfunding is a really exciting tool because it helps to make crazy ideas into a reality. When I reach out to my crowd I am making sure that I am going to produce something that people will actually back.

As well as validating an idea that I might not otherwise pursue, I am giving my crowd the very thing that they want. The way I have written ‘Sophie Feels Like Me’ is the perfect example of this. I could write 20 or even 30 stories for words that I think are important. But in reality, I can only do five. By reaching out to my crowd, I am bringing them into the decision-making process. The result is a perfect fit between what I produce and what my crowd wants.

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

I have a number of school readings across Aotearoa in the next couple of weeks. This is a really fun part of my creative process. The kids’ responses have been really helpful in telling me where I am on track.

As well as visiting schools, I am doing a few public readings at libraries across the North Island. On Monday 20 November I will be at the New Plymouth library at 4.30pm. On Monday 27 December I will be at the Botany Library at 10.30am and on Tuesday 28 December I will be reading at the Epsom Library at 11am. Anyone is welcome so please do come along with your child to have a listen.

Finally, keep an eye on my Facebook page; I have been releasing videos of ‘Jack Feels Big’, which give a great taster of my books. There will be a few more videos released over the coming days.

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

I would love to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported me so far. Please do keep sharing my campaign page and tell all your friends about it!

To help Kiwi parents explain tricky feelings to their kids, you can pledge to the campaign page here.

What's Up Wednesday

The Scruffy Bunny

The Scruffy Bunny smacks of something a bit fun and unconventional. And this is exactly what its founder, Rich Hoffman, is all about. The Scruffy Bunny is going to be Wellington’s centralised hub of improv theatre; a place that puts the spotlight on evening entertainment and daytime education. With over 20 years experience in the entertainment and food industries, Rich is amped to bring the two together to improve the world through improv!

Why do you think this campaign is important?

The Scruffy Bunny represents a much bigger goal than simply a theatre. It is going to be an education space. Our team are excited about bettering the world through improv classes (improvisation for those non-thespians out there). We know that the potential for improv to educate is endless; it teaches communication, awareness and confidence. It increases your ability to think under pressure and embrace spontaneity.

The Scruffy Bunny also represents a culture this world needs more of; “yes, and..”. Improv is based on the premise that we should always answer an idea with a “yes”. Accept whatever idea is being presented to you and, even if you detest it, add something to reframe it as a positive. The end game is to move things forward. I think improv is a wonderful metaphor for how we should live life outside the theatre as well as on the stage.  

This campaign is important because it will enable us to create an experience that transforms the Scruffy Bunny – a little pocket of the community – into the happiest place in the known universe.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

I have travelled a lot – across the world and now to here in New Zealand. I have talked to countless people about my dream to create a community hub that focuses on improv. I decided to create a campaign so that all these people who got excited about my idea can now be part of making this dream come true.

The Scruffy Bunny is being built for Wellingtonians. This is another reason why we wanted to reach out to the Welly crowd; it is a hub for all of us. We want to bring the spirit of Wellington into the theatre. By pledging to this campaign, you are helping to establish a hub for life improvement through theatre and learning.

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

We are putting out a few more videos over the final days. You can keep an eye out for the links through our PledgeMe page and also by liking our Facebook page.

Please also keep an eye on our rewards page over the next couple of days. You never know what the Scruffy Bunny might come up with!

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

We love you all – thanks for following our journey! We hope that you can be a part of the campaign by pledging now. Time is ticking and we would love you to help us reach our goal. And of course, you are always welcome to come along to watch (or be in!) our shows.

You can pledge to the Scruffy Bunny Improv Hub here.

What's Up Wednesday

Our Own Ron

Art brings people together. This is something the folk that bought the Bull back to Christchurch learnt when they raised over $200,000 to make the iconic Chapman’s Homer a permanent symbol of Christchurch’s strength.

Now they are doing it again, this time with Our Own Ron. Sometime in between the two major earthquakes that rocked Canterbury, the Christchurch Art Gallery held a Ron Mueck exhibition. For a lot of people, this exhibition stands out as a last memory of the city as it was. For others, it stands out simply because of the shock reminder Ron’s sculptures give us of our own humanity.

We chatted to the Our Own Ron team to find out why Christchurch needs its own Ron.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

We have heard so many stories from people who remember “that exhibition with all the big people”. Sandwiched between two earthquakes, Ron Mueck’s exhibition was the best attended that Christchurch has ever seen. The line snaked out the door, across the gallery forecourt and around the other side!

Ron has only made 40 works in his life. And now he has agreed to make one just for Christchurch. He actually visited the city in November last year. Together with Jenny Harper (director of the Christchurch Art Gallery), Ron walked the city and felt his way through how everything was going. His experience and conversations with Jenny taught him that Christchurch is in a state of cautious optimism.

The incredible thing about this work is that even we don’t know what it is yet; noone but Ron knows! We didn’t want to have any influence over what it could be, and it will be a beautiful moment when we all find out together.  

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

We have run a campaign like this before, when we bought Michael Parekowhai’s bull back to Christchurch. It was incredibly successful (in fact, a PledgeMe project campaign record!). The whole city was behind the acquisition of the work.

Just like in 2013, the city is really behind getting Our Own Ron. As soon as we announced the campaign, we started getting checks in the mail. Our mission is to raise a total of $1 million. We’ve had some amazing supporters and enjoyed a great success with our annual gala dinner. Now, it is over to the great people of Christchurch to bring home Ron.

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

Yes we do! We just released a late entry but very special reward: a limited edition Our Own Ron Vespa Sprint, thanks to CMB Motorcycles, VESPA and Mod’s Hair. No more RONning around for one lucky pledger!

We have also been holding a number of “pledge parties” throughout the campaign. We are holding our biggest one yet on Sunday night to see out the campaign.

We would love to invite all our friends, supporters and pledgers-to-be to RONdevous with us at Dux Central on Sunday from 4pm. Tickets are $25, and all proceeds go to Our Own Ron. You will be greeted with a welcome drink, free food and DJs. Kids are most welcome too! We would love everyone to come along, celebrate and show us that they are “on for Ron”.

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

We would love to finish up with an enormous thank you to everyone who have gotten “on for Ron”. We would also like to ask all our supporters to spread the word that we only have four days left to get Our Own Ron!

To show that you are “on for Ron”, you can pledge to their campaign page here.

What's Up Wednesday

The Lucy Foundation: Phase Two

Meet the Lucy Foundation, a social enterprise that empowers people with disabilities through inclusive and accessible business. Last year, the Lucy Foundation ran phase one of their Coffee Project with us, and raised over $24,000 to empower five coffee-farming families in South Mexico. This year, they’re back for phase two: to increase production, and bring enough coffee back to New Zealand to enjoy.

But this is about much more than coffee. It’s about growing a business model that’s based on inclusiveness, that supports a community, and provides for income, opportunities and growth. But don’t just take it from us – we got in touch with Robbie from The Lucy Foundation to tell you all about it himself.

Why do you think this campaign’s important?

This campaign is important because disabled people make up the largest minority in the world. If you live to a good, old age, you’re going to develop at least one disability. It affects all people regardless of age, gender, class, nationality, religion or geographical location. In fact, it’s pretty much the only minority in the world you can unwittingly join at any time.

Yet, people with disabilities face higher levels of unemployment, lower levels of education and less access to healthcare than any other sector of society.

Recent results released by Statistics NZ show that disabled Kiwis are twice as likely to be unemployed in New Zealand and earn only half the average weekly income of non-disabled New Zealanders.

Disability rights are human rights. It’s what we do. It’s important. It affects us all.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

In 2016, we launched a PledgeMe campaign for Phase One of the Mexico Coffee Project and thanks to the kindness of friends, family and supporters we raised nearly $25,000. Every dollar of this was used to empower coffee farming families to adopt inclusive and sustainable farming practices, bring together entire families regardless of (dis)ability, and to deliver specialty Pluma coffee to New Zealanders.

But that was just a taste of good things to come! We are again reaching out to those who know us, and those we have yet to meet, with an invite: let’s work together to expand and grow a business model that we know works. Besides, who wouldn’t want to get some pretty awesome pledge rewards from Mexico, while having a tangible impact on the environment, sustainability, and the lives of people with disabilities in New Zealand and Mexico!?

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

A couple of weekends ago we released the first batch of ethical, sustainable and inclusive Pluma Coffee and Cascara Tea (made from the coffee cherries) in Aotearoa New Zealand. We still have a limited amount left to share with you all, which we’ll be auctioning off in the coming week. Rumour has it, boxing gloves signed by Sonny Bill Williams will also be up for grabs (swoon!)… keep an eye on our Facebook page for forthcoming details!

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

It works! Inclusive and accessible business works! We’ve proven it! Now we need to make it an actual ‘thing’. We need your help to grow business and impact, and show more people how it’s done, so they too can develop a culture of inclusion and diversity within their businesses and communities.

Support our campaign, make a pledge and tell all your friends about the importance of sustainability, inclusion, equality and diversity within business.

To pledge to The Lucy Foundation and support inclusive, accessible business, check out their page right here.

Going Walkabout in Queensland

As many of you know, PledgeMe has launched in Australia! With our experience in New Zealand crowdfunding (across project, equity and lending campaigns) and the recent changes to equity legislation here in Australia, we decided to cross the ditch.

I’ve been in Brisbane for a week now thanks to HotDesQ, and I think the best term for it is “busy in Brissie”.

I’ve met with angels, lawyers, accountants, hipsters, craft beer kids, and still seem to manage to wake up for 6am team meetings and phone calls.

I’ve pointed out typos to ASIC (they probably didn’t like that), met a bunch of awesome new friends, been to the launch of a marriage equality beer, settled into a new co-working space (Little Tokyo Two) and am slowly figuring out where I am in the city (I’ve only gotten properly lost once….).

But, most importantly, I’ve met with companies. I’ve heard where they’re at, and where they want to go next.

The Australian equity crowdfunding legislation, as it currently stands, isn’t much use for them. It currently only caters for less than 1% of Australian companies (those that are “public unlisted”). And, while companies can swap to being public unlisted, it adds a lot of compliance requirements that doesn’t make sense for a small company.

Thankfully, the Australian government listened, and are planning on extending the legislation to cover proprietary companies (which is 99% of SME’s). But, that will still take at least 6 months.

So, my plan between now and then is:

  • to get our application for an intermediary licence in and
  • to support as many companies as we can to figure out if crowdfunding makes sense for them – and what they need to do between now and then if they do decide to raise money from their crowd.

What can we offer? A wealth of experience helping companies across the ditch get ready to go out to their own crowds (not just traditional investors). We’ve seen everything from a craft brewery raise $2mil in 2 days, through to a solid haircare business top up their shareholder round with $500,000 in 90 minutes.

To launch that, I’m going for a bit of a road trip at the end of this week to meet more companies. I’ll be in:

  • Wed, 11 October – Sunshine Coast
  • Thurs, 12 October – Bundaberg
  • Fri, 13 October – Rockhampton

If you’d like to hear more about equity crowdfunding, grab a coffee, or just meet and discuss your plans send me an email on anna@pledgeme.co.nz. I’d love to meet you.

What's Up Wednesday

Kai and culture: Food stories from Aotearoa

Food tells a story. And Freerange Press wants to tell the story of New Zealand’s contemporary food identity, and how it impacts our culture.

Freerange Press crowdfunded with us last year to publish Don’t Dream It’s Over: Reimagining Journalism in New Zealand. This year, they’re reaching out to their crowd again in order to publish this cultural cookbook of food stories from Aotearoa. Through essays, profiles and recipes, Kai and Culture canvasses a range of views and stories from local food cultures, experts, and chefs – but now it needs your contributions to tell all those stories. So to find out more about why you should be pledging, we had a chat to the team at Freerange Press.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

Food is such a strong part of culture and it is a great lens through which to look at ideas and issues, because everyone shares in the experience of food. We wanted to tell the story of Aoteroa’s local food cultures because it feels like a contemporary food identity is emerging – where we are confident in our produce and where we are beginning to understand our place as a Pacific and multicultural nation.

So through talking about our food culture, and the people involved in creating local food identities, we also talk about the issues that intersect with it – from the environmental impacts in producing food through to food security and resilience. A range of chefs, producers and writers share their views and stories.

This is a cultural cookbook – recipes, essays, profiles and heaps of photos – and we hope that this format invites more people to read it and engage with our food culture and its contemporary issues.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

Basically we have a cash flow problem. We are printing in New Zealand, which is expensive, so we need to make some pre-sales of the book to help pay the bill (because we need to pay this before we sell books to the bookstores). So we are asking people to order a copy of the book, which they will receive hot off the press. But we are throwing in a copy of one of our classic publications to say thank you to early supporters. And all of this just in time for Christmas!

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

We will release some behind the scenes material of the book-making, some sneak-peak content and also run a draw for some of our lovely wares. The first 60 pledgers will go in the draw to win a wee Freerange gift pack.

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

We want to thank all the early supporters for getting behind us thus far. We also want to ask people to support us – a small, independent press – to get this book to print so that we can share our local food stories with Aotearoa.

To support Freerange Press and tell Aotearoa’s food stories, pledge to their campaign page here.

Getting social; highlights from the Social Enterprise World Forum

Last week, over 1,500 people from more than 45 countries collided in the newly rebuilt heart of Christchurch for a shared purpose: to join in the conversation about social enterprise.

Akina led the bid to host the Social Enterprise World Forum in New Zealand, and (we reckon) did a pretty rad job. Over the three day event we heard from world-leading social entrepreneurs like Jan Owen, we were star struck by MC Suzy Cato and we cheered on memorable soundbites like this one from Brianne West of Ethique:

“I look forward to the day when social enterprise is no longer the minority.”

The overarching theme was “ka koroki te manu” – creating our tomorrow. This was a theme that came through many of the sessions, with speakers and delegates keeping a keen eye on how to build financially sustainable enterprises that also build a more sustainable future.

Other cool elements to the Forum: it was a “Compostable Event” (which basically means the caterers and food trucks used only completely compostable packaging and cutlery); there were 25 tours of 30 local social enterprises across Christchurch; and there was an app which featured an Facebook-esq feed plus a contact list of everyone who attended.

 

Catching up with PledgeMe community

We also bumped into a bunch of PledgeMe alumni. Here are some cool stories of what some of them have been up to since they crowdfunded:

  • Conscious Consumers ran a successful project campaign with us in 2015 to build a “Good Spend Counter”, an app that shares your values with the businesses you shop with. Since then, over 20,000 consumers and 450 retailers have signed up to the app. Conscious Consumers is currently attempting to raise $3 million to go global.
  • Cultivate Christchurch inspires young people to “live lives they value in an urban farm environment”. During the Forum, co-founder Bailey Perryman announced that Cultivate Christchurch will be launching a crowdlending campaign involving the aptly named “Broccoli Bonds” on Thursday 12 October.  
  • The Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust crowdfunded with us in 2013 to put up a wind measurement tower in Blueskin Bay. Since then, BRCT tried to gain consent for their community owned wind project, but were rejected. Manager Scott Willis shares his reflections: “It’s hard to create paradigm change, but we’ve begun the process. We’ve had a setback that has revealed the power of the status quo in New Zealand. What’s next? We’re marshalling forces because the democratisation of energy in NZ is critical if we are to build the climate solutions our world needs.”
  • Ethique is a Christchurch-based social enterprise looking to rid the world of plastic bottles by producing solid hair and beauty products. It launched its second PledgeMe campaign during the Forum, and hit headlines for crowdfunding $500k within two hours of its campaign going live.

 

What next?

Since the Social Enterprise World Forum launched in Scotland ten years ago, it has triggered unprecedented growth in social enterprise for the countries which host it. Clearly, exciting times lie ahead for New Zealand’s social enterprise movement.

Or does it? Although we left Christchurch buzzing, we recognise social enterprise doesn’t happen on its own. In fact, we wrote about the importance of spreading the impact of social enterprises in Aotearoa here. One of the easiest ways to do so is by supporting socially driven alternatives. To see who you might like to support, check out our crowdsourced list of New Zealand social enterprises.

What's Up Wednesday

The Monthly Co.

An often overlooked issue for women at risk is the lack of access they have to affordable sanitary products. But with the help of the Monthly Co, you can change all that – and get top-quality sanitary products for yourself while you’re at it!

When you subscribe to this social enterprise, they’ll deliver 100% organic tampons to your door every month – and for every order they send out to you, they’ll donate a box of tampons to women in need, through their partnership with Aviva (formerly the Christchurch Women’s Refuge). The tampons are also 100% biodegradable, which makes them better for the environment than regular synthetic or conventional cotton tampons.

But in order to launch this business, they need your help. They’re offering a range of rewards for pledgers, including pre-orders of their tampon subscriptions. We decided to get in touch with Isabelle and Josie to hear more about why you should be pledging to this social enterprise:

Why do you think this campaign is important?

When women or families are struggling to pay for rent and food, the recurring monthly cost of sanitary items such as tampons is a real burden. We know that tampons are a necessity item and unfortunately there is a group of girls and women who cannot afford them and are turning to unhygienic alternatives or missing work or school as a consequence. As a social enterprise, The Monthly Co. is all about making a positive social and environmental impact – together we can shake up the tampon industry in New Zealand. We’re on a mission to make lives more convenient for women on the go through our tampon subscriptions while also helping women and girls in need. With every order we send out to our paying subscribers, we donate a box of tampons to our charitable partner Aviva (formerly the Christchurch Womens Refuge).

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

Our mission is what motivated us to reach out to our crowd because we can only make The Monthly Co. a reality with the support of others who are willing to back our campaign. If we are successful in reaching our target we can order our first shipment of 100% organic tampons from Europe and start delivering tampons to your door, while also supporting our charitable partner Aviva.

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

At the moment our first 100 pledgers go in the draw to win a $200 Cakes by Anna voucher (if you haven’t heard of Cakes by Anna – definitely worth looking up!). Down the line we have some exciting giveaways planned to keep up the campaign momentum!

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

Thank you SO much to all those that have already made a pledge, together we really can make a difference to the lives of at-risk women and girls – to those yet to the pledge, we can only make The Monthly Co. a reality with your support – pledge today!

To get pledging to The Monthly Co now, check out their campaign right here.