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).

How to PledgeMe.

$2 mil in 2 days

ParrotDog made history two weeks ago, as the quickest equity campaign in New Zealand to hit the $2 million mark.

How did they get there? It wasn’t luck. It was 5 years of growing their business and brand, five months spent creating their campaign, 5 weeks communicating it, and a clear vision of where they wanted to go (and what they needed to get there).

Here’s five things that we saw that they did really well, that could inspire some of you aspiring crowdfunders out there:

1) Have a plan

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We talk about having a campaign plan, and even have a Google Doc that we share out, but the Parrot Dog crew went next level with their planning. They had a wall chart with daily tasks.

Matt Stevens was the mastermind behind their plan, which had a page for every day in the lead up. It included everything from when they needed to have their directors indemnity insurance in place through to when they’d post on social media (Mondays and Thursdays).

Everyone was part of delivering the plan, and everyone could see it as it took up a whole wall in their office.

Remember: it always takes longer than you think to pull together a visually pleasing business plan, and a kick ass pitch video.

 

2) Get in touch with your crowd

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You can’t raise your money, if your crowd doesn’t know what’s happening.

The ParrotDog crew created a newsletter in the lead up to their campaign, with their first major announcement being that they were crowdfunding. After that, they had specific key messages they wanted to talk about each week, from announcing what the funding was for to the location of their brewery through to a copy of their IM.

Here are the newsletters they posted out to the world

They talked to everyone from their suppliers to their mums, and started asking folk to sign up to their newsletter weeks in advance of their launch.

 

3) Be yourselves

This was a big one for the ParrotDog crew. They didn’t want to become flashy or corporate. They wanted to bring their own strengths, but not try to become something they weren’t. So, they refused to do a traditional press release to announce their campaign – they made a quirky video instead.

ParrotDog Beer. nice. | Press Conference from ParrotDog on Vimeo.

Everything they did was on brand, and really showcased who they are as people and as a company.

4) Have a clear goal

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The ParrotDog crew were super clear on what they needed money to do – build a bigger brewery. With a brew bar included, it really inspired their fans (especially those based in Lyall Bay) to get in and support. Having a really tangible plan, and vision that your crowd can embrace (or drink) is a big part of having a successful campaign.

5) Meet people #IRL

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We sort of pushed the Matts into this, hosting the ParrotDog crew in our space for a meet and greet with potential investors a few days before they launched. It was a great opportunity for their crowd not only to ask questions in a group setting, but meet each of the team and ask them questions individually as well. With just a few days notice, the ParrotDog crew had over 90 people attend either in person or online. Many of the people there that night were the first pledgers to get in to the campaign.

 


Well done again to the ParrotDog crew, for funding their vision and inspiring a new wave of Kiwi crowdfunders.

 

 

Confessions of a Crowdfunding Enthusiast

Our latest guest post comes from crowdfunding enthusiast, Adam Millen. Engineer by day, children’s author by night, he went from backing campaigns to running one of his own. He’s hooked and planning another campaign. You can find out more about it at jackfeelsbig.nz/sophie. He tweets about crowdfunding @crazyideasnz and blogs at crazyideas.nz.

What would you do if your friends and family offered you a couple thousand dollars? They say they want to support that thing that you’re really passionate about, and the money is for you to produce something cool to share. What would you do with it?

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At the start of last year I had the idea of creating a book to teach kids the names for their feelings. And I crowdfunded it. I’ll tell that story, but first – why? Why do I care about crowdfunding ideas? Why should you care?

I care because I’m excited about the way that crowdfunding forms a bridge between people’s ideas and reality. A bridge for ideas that otherwise would never have come to be.

You should care because you could be one of those people! And it’s really rewarding to do! Both the creating and the backing.

So let me tell you my story. It actually starts even before I had the idea. I had backed crowdfunding campaigns and I already knew that I wanted to create something, but I didn’t know what.

Then, at the start of last year I stumbled across inspiration. I read an article laying out how important it is to teach young children to name their feelings and I saw a gap – it would be easier to teach these words if there were books with stories that specifically used these words. It seemed like something that I could put together. I couldn’t draw well enough for a kids book, and I don’t have the equipment for printing and binding. But I could find people to do those. I could use my engineering brain to analyse a complex concept and break it down to simpler parts. And I could come up with a suitable scenario to illustrate each feeling. I got pretty excited about this useful thing that I could create!

Coming back  to my first question – what would you create? Have you had ideas like this? Have you seen something missing from the world? Maybe you thought “someone should definitely make that”. Maybe you could be the one to do it!

I shut myself in my room over the Easter long weekend last year and wrote up a dozen stories and laid the groundwork for some more. I came up with a defined project. I would get illustrations done for 15 stories and publish them in three volumes.

Next I did some research on how much that would cost and got quotes from printers and illustrators.

If I set my crowdfunding goal at $20,000 that would mean I would need to pre-sell eight hundred copies of the book at $25 each. That balanced the fixed cost of fifteen stories worth of illustrations with the variable costs of printing, postage and crowdfunding fees.

I hadn’t done books before. I didn’t have an existing customer base or relevant community to go to. I had friends and family, but the $20,000 goal was not realistic. No worries. I just had to re-package.

I redefined and resized the project – to get illustrations done for just five stories, and with those in hand, publish “Volume 1”. For me, crowdfunding would be a stepping stone. Maybe the thing you’re passionate about is too big for a couple thousand dollars. Can you make part of it become a reality on this budget? It could be the first step to something awesome.

For my campaign, the main reward would be a copy of the book for pledging $25. For $5 and up, backers would be kept updated and would get to choose which five feelings went into the book. For $50 they would get a signed copy. There were options all the way up to a thousand dollars. The $25 reward point tends to be the most popular, but it’s important to cover the whole range to leave all of your crowd satisfied.

So what about your passion? If you packaged up a project with a budget of a couple thousand dollars, what would you share? Something tangible – like a print of a painting of yours? Or an experience like tickets to your big show? A virtual reward maybe – like an mp3 of your song? Public appreciation – like a place in the credits at the end of your documentary? Or involvement – like being part of the crew, getting inside access or VIP (Very Important Pledger!) treatment? If all else fails, how about some merchandise – like a tshirt with the name of the community group? There’s so many options if you think freely about it.

Ok. So I had my plan laid out. Next, I spent a weekend putting together a video. I had the technical know-how, and I had my idea pretty well condensed, both of which helped. My delivery wasn’t the greatest though, and it took hours of recording to get just a few minutes of not messing up my lines. And then a whole lot of editing!

If you’ve got an idea that you want to crowdfund, you’ll need to make a video. And you need to be in it. Why is this so important? People need to see your passion for this thing. If you don’t believe in it, why would anyone else? But I’m sure you can get excited about your big idea! You also need to keep it short and to the point, and it helps if your camera is stable and your shot is well lit.

The next thing I needed was a crowd. I made sure that I started talking to people even before I launched, trying to make sure I had a list of core backers that I could depend on to pledge immediately. My closest friends, immediate family and other friends who also happened to be in my target audience. When the campaign opened, it was people from this list that gave it a running start.

The sooner you start building you crowd, the better. Even before you have all the rest planned out, it helps if you make a habit of talking about what you’re passionate about. Post on social media, join relevant community groups. It all helps.

After that I reached out wider, direct messaging every single Facebook friend I had. The second push was enough that the first few days got me to about 30% of my goal. This is a typical start for a campaign that’s going to make it. It’s is a very exciting time. And then things leveled off. In general, a typical successful campaign will spend the next ten or twenty days steadily plodding toward the 60% mark. This part tested my perseverance. Someone who really liked the idea pledged $500! Then several days passed with nobody at all pledging. Then  I got an article on Stuff! But it didn’t bring in any new backers. There were definitely times when I wondered if I would even make it!

I made sure to send updates out during the campaign. I engaged with my backers and encouraged them to help spread the word. It was hard work keeping at it, even when the early optimism flagged.

Most campaigns that reach 60% by the 5-days-to-go milestone will get to the mark. As the countdown approaches, if you’ve got enough funding that it’s looking credible, the fence-sitters jump on board. The despair of the middle of the campaign is suddenly replaced with joy! All your hard work has paid off!

I reached my goal, and actually managed a little bit more. In the end about three-quarters of my backers were friends and family.

Even after the crowdfunding campaign was a success, I still had a lot of hard work to do! Producing and shipping a quality children’s book took plenty of time and effort. I spent most of my Easter long weekend this year personally delivering books to backers (a great experience in itself). Now I’m all done and I’m selling the book on my website. A book that might never have existed.

I’ve made my crazy idea a reality. How about yours? If you don’t have a project of your own, get on board with someone else’s. Help them make the video, share their page. Or back it!

Crowdfunding is going to be the bridge to reality for a whole stack of ideas that otherwise never would have gotten there. And that’s exciting.

 

Keep your eyes peeled for Adam’s upcoming campaign, Sophie Feels Big.

 

Throwback Thursday

The Big Sing

Dec 11

This week’s Throwback Thursday hails from the golden age of June, 2012. Crooner Liz Kirkman wanted to travel to the UK and Italy to broaden her musical horizons, and she offered her pledgers everything from singing via Skype to a Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy session (blimey!) to get there. She even posted costume ideas to her crowd on Facebook and they got to vote on what she should wear to perform. Our CBB Anna mentions this last tactic in almost every crowdfunding talk she gives, as an example of how you can involve your crowd in your journey.

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Anna’s slide on Liz and the importance of making your campaign a journey

 

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Liz with her fellow Avidiva divas!

And she was successful! After performing in the UK along with well-known singer Matthew Ford, she travelled to Perugia, Italy for the 20th reunion of the Tuscany Voice Project. There she was able to harness her sound and make connections with other talented performers from around the globe – she made close friends with singers from as far away as Norway.

And judging by her success since then, the trip was definitely worth it. Shortly after returning, she rejoined singing trio Avidiva, and has spent the last three years performing with them all over NZ, and even a bit in Rarotonga! 2014 saw her join Kelli Greene Caldwell and Jacqui Coates for their Fringe Festival show, “Jezebel of Jazz”, where she sang as Anita O’Day. They later took the show to the National Jazz Festival and the Nelson Winter Festival.

These days however, Liz is enjoying success of a more personal kind, with the recent birth of her son Soren a few months ago. We’re sure he’s got a decent set of pipes too!

Liz is such a cool example of how PledgeMe can be used to make awesomeness happen, and we’re so stoked to see how well she’s doing. If you want to take a look back at her campaign, check it out here.

Throwback Thursday

Bountiful Burlesque

Nov 26

Fifi Colston’s drawings should never be hidden away. This wonderful writer, artist, and creator of Wearable Art ran her first PledgeMe campaign back in 2012 so that she could mount a series of sketches for an exhibition. The subject of these sketches? None other than the daring dancers of the Wellington burlesque scene. Fifi describes it as a “great exhibition” with fascinating frills abounding.

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One of Fifi’s books, which won the LIANZA prize.

Since then, Fifi hasn’t stopped making wonderful art. She’s had two beautiful books on costuming for children published, including “Wearable Wonders” which won the LIANZA non-fiction prize.

 

She’s also made puppets, costumes for businesses, and a whole historic replica flag for Waitangi. But her real tour de force is in WOW season – this was her 20th year in show. In 2012 her piece “Lady Curiosity”, also inspired by burlesque dancers, placed third, and went on to be exhibited around NZ only to end up much further afield in Honolulu!

Lady Curiosity, photo courtesy of World of WearableArt.

Lady Curiosity, photo courtesy of World of WearableArt.

 

We are so proud of Fifi’s amazing work, and can’t wait to see what marvels she will keep on creating. If you want to check out Fifi’s original project, take a look at it right here.

 

Throwback Thursday

A New Take on the Undead

Nov 12This week’s Throwback Thursday hails from April 2012! Amy and Patricia were working on a film called “A Party for Me” – a zombie-genre film with a twist. Despite the film’s ambitious shooting plans – involving a cat, a night shoot, period costumes and child actors – they aimed for the modest goal of $270, and blasted right through it. Due to a long post-production period, the film was only completed last year, and was received hugely well at both its Wellington screening and at the October Fright Night Film Festival all the way over in Kentucky USA! To find out more about this fab and freaky film, check out the info here.

As for Patricia and Amy, they’re still filling the world with fantastic films! Amy is a director based in Wellington, while Patricia is based in London running Action on the Side, a filmmaking group which makes whole movies in a month.

We’re so stoked to see how well the film worked out, and all the cool stuff its creators are up to now. Check out their original project here to see where PledgeMe can take you!

Throwback Thursday

Safe Little World

Oct 7This week’s Throwback Thursday is the amazing artist Andrew Killick (a.k.a. Safe Little World). Back in 2012, Andrew had been working on a piece of art for over ten years, but had never had his work exhibited. An opportunity came up for an exhibition in central Hamilton, so he reached out to his crowd – and they delivered! $350 later, Andrew and his photographic exhibition could take the art world by storm. He described the experience as “a dream come true”.

But luckily for the art world, Andrew didn’t stop there. He has continued working on projects since his first exhibition, expanding on some of the ideas he put forward in that piece. He works on the visual side of creative group Lower Bar Collective, and last year took over Silo6 in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter with them to create a weekend of experimental music and visual art.

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Andrew’s work “Pride and Refuse”, which was an expansion on his PledgeMe-funded exhibition in 2012.

 

We’re stoked to see how far Andrew’s come. He is a testament to the kind of amazing artists we get through our platform, and how well PledgeMe can work for them. If you want to see more of Andrew’s brilliant work, make sure you check out his website here. See you next week!

Throwback Thursday

Beautiful Surrender Video

October 1This week’s Throw Back Thursday hails from the golden age of March 2012. This awesome band (then known as “Ashei”) put together a wee crowdfunding campaign to create a music video for their song, “Beautiful Surrender”. Without even playing the song as a preview (it had to be kept strictly secret) they manage to blast through their target, raising over $1700 from their crowd. You can watch the completed video below!

But the band didn’t stop there. After their initial success, they turned to crowdfunding again the next year, raising a whopping $10,000USD via Indiegogo to finance their new EP, which made it to #10 on the NZ charts.

So what’s up next for this awesome group of music makers? After touring NZ and Australia with their EP, the band decided to take their music in a new direction, and changed their name to “Decades” to reinforce this. They’ve been working hard this year on their debut album, which is set to drop early next year!

We’re so stoked we had a part in Decades’ awesome success story. To stay up to date with what they’re up to, make sure to give them a cheeky like on Facebook!

Hitting the max

Maxing out
Last week, two of our equity campaigns reached their maximum funding goals.

Sorbet_-_productSorbet, a climate-neutral cosmetics company, turned to crowdfunding in order to set up their lab, activate their brand and enter a global market. They’ve already had huge success in reducing the environmental impact of beauty products – preventing the production of 32,000 bottles since their launch – and now they have new capital and a great crowd of investors behind them.

Angel Food roughAngel Food, a plant-based food producer, looked to their crowd in order to develop their products and improve on their marketing and sales channels. Already a well-loved brand, Angel Food had no trouble bringing their loyal crowd of vegan and non-vegans alike to their side. With the help of this crowd and their capital, they can now grow their distribution, and continue to offer delicious, familiar, and affordable alternatives to animal products.

The amazing fundraising of these two companies is a testament to the strength of their crowds and their teams – and we think that’s pretty spectacular. We can’t wait to see what amazing stuff they get up to next!

Our Top Five Serial Campaigners

Serial-Campaigners
Running a PledgeMe campaign is no picnic. But some campaigners must either have boundless energy or the best crowds known to man, because they just keep coming back. We went project-hunting to find our top five serial campaigners, and ask them about their motivation, their commitment, and how they bring their crowd along for the ride. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. OMG Tech! workshops

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A Tech Rangers workshop in action.

OMG Tech! is an organisation dedicated to bringing technology to young New Zealanders. Vaughan Rowsell and his team have run two successful campaigns already, and there are plenty more on the horizon. We got in touch with Vaughan to hear about the technique behind the tech.

What motivated you to create the OMG Tech! workshops, and why did you choose PledgeMe to make it happen?

As someone who works in technology I could see some problems coming our way as we grow more and more innovative technology startups from New Zealand. We won’t have enough talent here, and people in the industry will have the wrong skills. The future in the next 10 years will be pretty amazing and exciting, but the 8 year olds today will be the ones building the future then, so we need to get them playing with any technology they can get their hands on.

The second problem is quite simply a numbers one: getting enough kids interested in a domain that is typically filled by white affluent boys. So we want boys and girls from all cross sections of NZ to have access to workshops on how to use all the crazy future technology coming our way.

We have run a number of workshops now and used PledgeMe because we have a great crowd around us who are passionate about what we are doing, so PledgeMe makes it super easy for us to promote and get pledges on the campaigns to run the workshops.

Your audience readily re-engaged with your second project – do you have any advice for how people can bring their crowd with them between their different projects?

FOMO. Our campaigns were so popular that people missed out, so when they heard we were having other workshops they quickly got on and pledged before they missed out again. Engaging with your crowd all the time too, so they know what is coming up so they can be ready to pledge. Lastly, really over deliver so the pledgers want to pledge again, and tell everyone else about how awesome it was and how they made a difference. Word of mouth is every marketeers secret weapon, if you have it is is magic.

Vaughan and OMG Tech have another campaign closing tonight! Check it out and help kids get tech-y.

2. Quirky Music

Katie Thompson

The fabulous Katie Thompson.

This music services company helps to develop and manage independent artists from around New Zealand. After their successful campaigns, Quirky Music artists are now producing and distributing their work in a whole new way. We had a chat to Katie Thompson about how she’s using PledgeMe to face the music.

Why did you decide to use crowdfunding for some of your artists’ work?

​Back in 2009 I became the first country artist in the world to raise $50,000 via Sellaband – an overseas crowd funding platform for musicians. I decided to use crowdfunding with my artists as many have a great fan base that they’ve built over years of performing around New Zealand and abroad. Many of these fans are keen to get their hands on an album from the artist so it seemed like an obvious solution. To put it quite simply it’s a big old win-win for everyone!

Any tips for people trying to run a successful campaign?

​Do your prep work!!!! If you can’t get it out in one paragraph and excite someone with that then​ you probably need to go over the basic reasons as to why you’re doing this.

Crowdfunding is the most amazing and scary thing you can do and you will need support! Chocolate & coffee are typically my support system!

Finally, what’s up next – should we be looking out for any more PledgeMe campaigns from you any time soon?

​I’m currently working away at campaign work with Anna van Riel & Donna Dean. These ladies are amazingly talented and I cannot wait to share what they have planned. ​The hardest part of my job is that I get so inspired that I want to start my own project for my music.

3. Laura O’Connell Rapira

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An image from one of Laura’s successful “Bass the Boat” parties

Laura started her PledgeMe journey with “people-powered parties”; events which fundraised for various charities while also providing a great time for attendees. She then began crowdfunding events for her RockEnrol campaign, running two successful campaigns back to back. We got in touch to hear about why she keeps coming back to PledgeMe, and what awesome projects she’s got on the horizon.

Why did you decide to start RockEnrol?

I co-founded RockEnrol because I was running these events to raise awareness about various issues (environmental primarily) and every weekend young, conscientious people were turning up to volunteer their time, skills or stuff or just to take part and dance and they were young people who really, really cared about a lot of different stuff, but then I looked to our government and noticed that these same awesome young people I was seeing every weekend did not have a visible voice in Parliament. RockEnrol was our attempt to change this.

You’ve done an awesome job maintaining an audience who are willing to pledge for a number of different campaigns – do you have any advice on how people can bring their crowd with them between their different projects?

I think it’s important to keep your crowd in the loop about what you are doing whether it’s between campaigns or just on one. You’re also not going to bring every single person who pledges along with you every single time, but cherishing the ones who do come along with you and recognizing that is really great. It’s also just good manners.

Any other tips for people trying to run a successful campaign?

Most importantly, ask everyone, all the time and don’t be ashamed of that. I have spoken with friends who have done campaigns before and felt like they were “begging”, you are not. You are offering a reward for a price and you are using the surplus funding to help get your idea off the ground. That’s awesome, go you! Don’t let the haters get you down.

4. Jennifer O’Sullivan

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The promotions picture from Jen’s super-successful 2014 campaign, “Taking Off the Bird Suit”

Jen is our very own Wrangler Extraordinaire – if you’ve run a PledgeMe campaign, chances are you’ve heard her calming tones down the phone, or received an impeccably-worded email from her. She’s also a wickedly talented producer and performer, and she uses PledgeMe to make it happen! Sadly, Jen is leaving us soon, but we can’t wait to see what awesome stuff she has in store. We stole her away from her work for a bit to ask her how she does it.

You’ve been producing and performing for a while – what made you choose to start crowdfunding some of your shows?

​Crowdfunding is great for performance projects not only because it’s a way to access funds from people want to see the work on stage, but because it’s a great way to get the word out about the work in the first place. Two birds, one rad stone.

You’ve run a lot of successful campaigns now. Why do you keep coming back to use PledgeMe?

It’s an entirely accessible funding option for anyone with a clear project, and it’s perfect for quirky, quick turn-around projects that might not attract funding from other avenues. It’s also great for projects where you can offer ​amusing rewards and build excitement – for example my lads Augmented Fourth and their personalised songs delivered on YouTube.

You’ve done an awesome job getting your audience to pledge for a number of different campaigns – do you have any advice on how people can bring their crowd with them between their different projects?

​I think it’s about making sure that you keep in touch with them in between. Keep them interested in your work when you DON’T want anything from them, and it’ll be easier to bring them on board when you do.

Finally, what’s up next – should we be looking out for any more PledgeMe campaigns from you any time soon?

I don’t have any plans at the moment, but I’m an improviser – that could change in an instant!​

5. Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra

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The uke orchestra in puppet form!

This rad ukulele ensemble used PledgeMe to fund both a trip to Edinburgh, and their album last year, and kept their fans’ support the whole way through. They paused in their strumming to give us some sage tips on how to cultivate a crowd.

Your first campaign with us aimed to raise money for a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2012. What made you choose PledgeMe to fund this trip?

We looked at several crowdfunding tools and chose NZ-owned PledgeMe because we felt that the main support would come from our NZ fans eager to see us take on the world. New Zealanders know how much it costs to even step off the islands, let alone house and feed a large band on the other side of the world. We ended up getting a lot of support from people all around the globe, which was doubly great.

Your audience readily re-engaged with your second project – do you have any advice for how people can bring their crowd with them between their different projects?

In order to bring your crowd from one project to the next, allow a grace period between projects (we allowed a year), and make sure you’re offering something different each time. You might want to front-load by building up your social media following in advance of a campaign, and building anticipation about your project. Long before we launched our album PledgeMe campaign, we had been posting enticing photos from our album recording sessions which made our fans feel they were part of the fun.

Finally, what’s up next – should we be looking out for any more PledgeMe campaigns from you any time soon?

We do have some exciting stuff coming up; happily we won’t need the help of our fans via PledgeMe to do it. Ultimately the point of something like PledgeMe is for your supporters to help you get to the “next level”, and ours have done that. We can’t thank them enough.

So that’s our top five! We hope their words of wisdom will help with your own campaigns – and make sure you keep an eye out: you never know what they might be up to next!