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

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

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.

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.

What's Up Wednesday

Tabitha Dombroski

Tabitha Dombroski has been dancing since she was 3, and has known from an early age that she wanted to be a dancer. This year, she gained the honour of being invited to continue her dance education at the prestigious John Cranko Schule in Stuttgart, Germany. But due to her family’s financial situation, Tabitha has been supporting her own dancing for the past year, rising at 5.30am each morning to work her two jobs. In order to afford to live in Stuttgart and achieve her dream, she needs the support of her crowd. So we got in touch to see why you should be helping Tabitha with the next step in her dance career.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

The campaign is extremely important to me. Its success will mean I can fully support myself for the first 3 months in Stuttgart. Without the support of others I would not be able to follow my dreams. It is such a privilege and rare opportunity to be offered to train with The John Cranko Schule. PledgeMe and this campaign has helped me so much. Through the campaign I have received not only financial help but lots of messages of love and support. I aim to be a ballet dancer in Europe and this next step makes reaching this goal that much more possible. I could not do this without PledgeMe and my generous supporters. The dream is closer then ever.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

There is such a strong, tight knit dance community. Everyone knows everyone and we had spoken to a few groups of people about starting up a pledge page, and they were all so supportive.

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

I left to London on the 28th of August and I go to Stuttgart on the 6th of September. I will be posting heaps of updates of how it’s all going. And also for the rewards, they are all starting to come together so will be sharing those too.

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

I would like to thank my crowd for their generous pledges, thoughtful comments and their love. I have felt it in spades! xx

To pledge to Tabitha’s campaign and help her achieve her dream, head over to her page right here!

What's Up Wednesday

RiverWatch

New Zealand is in a freshwater crisis. We know the quality of our rivers is in threat, but currently only 8% of Aotearoa’s 450,000km of rivers, lakes and streams are tested for water quality, because our processes are expensive and time consuming. Without this information, it is impossible to know if our rivers are safe for swimming.

This is where the team behind RiverWatch comes in. Winner of the 2016 WWF Conservation Award and finalist in the 2017 Wellington Gold Awards, once developed this water sensor could test water quality parameters to determine freshwater health. But they need your help to make that happen. W

We had a chat to Grant (pictured!) about why you should be pledging to have RiverWatch watch rivers for you:

Why do you think this campaign is important?

Its important that people see our PledgeMe campaign as a way they can directly contribute to helping cleaning up our rivers, lakes and streams. The government happily gives away millions to irrigation and zero to measuring the effects of agricultural intensification. I have been a fresh water activist campaigning for swimmable rivers for 8 years. Over this time I have determined two major impediments to cleaning things up. One we must have water quality data from at least 65% of our rivers and lakes. This sits at only 8% currently. The other major issue is sedimentation with NZ 10 times the world average we need to plant a lot of trees on riparian and slipping land ASAP.
RiverWatch has considered all of this in its design and the 5 probe launch model. Turbidity is vital telling us just how many days of the year the water is actually clean or clear. Dissolved oxygen indicates what fish can survive and the presence of algae blooms from high concentrations of water soluble nitrates and phosphate sedimentation. PH, Temp and Conductivity build back ground data that run with algorithms across DO& Turbidity providing indicator levels of nitrates & phosphate and if the river is swim-able or likely to pose risk to human health. When these are run across GPS weather data the readings are good enough to show no swim post, fishing data, yes good to swim, and many other indicator values.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

So many people have got to the stage that all they see are problems with water and it goes into the to hard basket. There is a huge amount of false information out there on water quality mostly because of the lack of data, people feel confused. We wanted to reach out to them with a solution that will not cost them any more than their understanding the quality issue and a pledge. It is a direct way for them to contribute to tackling the problem.

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

Coming up we want to announce our collaboration with ESR and development of an E-Coli tester.

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

The team at RiverWatch have put in many thousands of hours and there own funds to get to where we are today with 100% support from not for profit WaiNZ. We need just a small amount of money to put RiverWatch into a robust beta testing program prior to production. The best way NZers can help to clean up our rivers is to support RiverWatch.

 To make a big splash and clean up our rivers, get pledging right here.

How to crowdfund community engagement

In July 2013, I was asked to come and talk about innovation for the local Wellington City Council. At the time I joked with the organiser that I didn’t actually like the word innovation, I liked the idea of doing things better. That’s probably not the best joke to make to someone with innovation in their title. But, little did I know that my ten minute talk on crowdfunding would turn into a new (and arguably better) model of community engagement for the council.

At the event I shared the story of Blueskin Resilient Community Energy Trust. A group with a very long title, and a pretty big goal.

This community group down in Dunedin want to put up a locally owned wind turbine, to power their community and fund local projects. They decided to crowdfund the money they needed to put a fence around their wind measurement tower. An $8,000 expense, and the next step towards their goal of erecting their turbine. Not only did they raise their money, but they engaged their local community in clean energy in a completely different way. They had their local residents offering rewards for their campaign, from unicycle lessons to pieces of artwork to home killing chickens.

That story resonated with two of the council workers, Zack and Nigel, and they wanted to see if they could replicate community engagement around clean energy here in Wellington.

The Low Carbon Energy Challenge was born

After a few conversations, the council partnered with us and Enspiral to deliver a small matched funded “Smart Energy Challenge”. The pilot was launched in 2014, and has been running every year since.

The basic premise is that each selected participant is supported with workshops as they develop their plans. They are expected to raise money from the community to validate the support of their idea, and that is then eligible for matched funded.

So far organisations like Space Between, Misprint, Switched on Bikes and more have raised over $180,000 in funding. The latest challenge launched last week, with applications closing on 15 August here.

Ideas selected need to focus on waste, energy, housing or transport, and will receive $1,000 as a “start up stipend”. Over eight weeks you’ll be supported through structured workshops to launch a crowdfunding campaign.

What we’ve learned

Along the way we’ve learned a few things about how community crowdfunding works:

 

Crowdfunding is always scary

Even with the support of a programme, you’re still putting yourself out there publicly asking for support. It’s scary! But, with the support of a programme and community, it’s actually more likely you’ll succeed.

 

Matched funding increases your chances (to 100%)

Every crowdfunding campaign launched under the Low Carbon / Smart Energy banner has met their crowdfunding goals. The 100% success rate shows that support building and validating campaigns increases your chances of crowdfunding success.

 

It’s easier when you’ve already got a plan you’re working towards

Getting your crowd engaged with a completely new idea can be hard. Doing the programme shows that you’re committed, but the longer you’ve been working on your plan the easier it gets. So, if you just thought of your idea last week it might be harder to get across the line than someone who has been planning their product for five years (even if that planning was just on nights and weekends).

 

Do you have a plan you’re working towards? You have until 15 August to get your applications in for the fourth year of the Low Carbon Challenge.

http://www.lowcarbonchallenge.nz/

What's Up Wednesday

Help RockEnrol get more young people out to vote!

This has been a pretty interesting few days for politics, to say the least. And as the election draws ever closer, things are only going to get more interesting. But young people’s voices still aren’t being heard by our politicians – because not enough young people are showing up to vote, and the rules are made by the people who show up.

But RockEnrol wants to change all that.

Launched in 2014, RockEnrol was responsible for increasing the youth turnout in that election through social media, music, art and events, all aiming to build and activate young people’s community power. This year, they want to take it even further, and reach every young person in Aotearoa with a message of hope, and a call to action to vote. They’re young, intersectional, energised, organised and totally nonpartisan – and they need your support. So we got in touch with the unstoppable Laura O’Connell Rapira to talk about why you should be getting on board.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

There are millions of reasons to vote, but here’s the most simple; politicians will only address young people’s needs and ideas when we get out and place our votes.
At RockEnrol, we work together in new and creative ways to get more young people out to place their votes, so that more politicians listen to us.
Young people today have the opportunity to create the world we want to live in by actively taking part in politics and stepping forward this election to vote. We know the Aotearoa New Zealand we want is one that offers abundance, a clean green environment, a place where there are jobs for all, a safe place, a place that offers good education for all people and a home we can be proud of.
We can make a difference this election. So this campaign is about bringing more rangatahi to stand together and be voters!

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

We believe in people power and particularly, the power of small actions multiplied by the many to create ripple effects of change. Crowdfunding is one of the best ways to see that people power in action.

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

The crowdfunding campaign finishes tomorrow, but the RockEnrol campaign is really only just about to begin! Over the next eight weeks, we will engage thousands of young people in a conversation about the importance of voting. RockEnrol are training and deploying volunteers nationwide to get more young people out to vote. From August 24 – September 6, LUSH staff in all of their stores nationwide will also be talking to every single customer about the importance of their vote.

We will amplify the voices of young people in social and traditional media. We will offer a counter narrative to ‘youth apathy’ by being young and engaged in politics.
We will speak to young people in the cultural mediums they already know and love. RockEnrol works with musicians, artists and comedians to encourage young people to engage in politics. We will visit South Auckland, Central Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Whangarei, Rotorua and Gisborne.

We will also work with NGOs and issue experts to ensure the young people who have engaged in our campaign have all of the information they need to make an informed decision come election time.

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

If you would like to get involved with the RockEnrol campaign, beyond chipping in, we’d love your support! We are a majority volunteer-powered organisation and you can sign up here.

To get involved with RockEnrol before their campaign closes tomorrow, get pledging right here.