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

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

OMG Tech rangers

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!

Equity crowdfunding takes us over the $5 million edge….

On Thursday 9 April 2015 PledgeMe hit the $5 million total pledged mark after closing two successful equity crowdfunding campaigns.


Children’s shampoo and body care maker Pineapple Heads and social marketplace app SellShed’s campaigns both wrapped up their offers successfully raising a combined $917,000. This brings the total number of successful campaigns on PledgeMe Equity to four – raising more than $1,500,000 in the process.

The way crowdfunding works is that a minimum target is set and must be achieved in order for the campaign to be a success. PledgeMe Equity success comes through many ingredients, including:

  • Reading through our Education Guide to Equity Crowdfunding (online & PDF available),
  • Doing the hard yards on your business plan, its growth, and valuing your business (hint: we talk about this in our Education Guide)
  • Developing rockstar communications to prime and educate your crowd about what equity crowdfunding is and that you’re doing it (including newsletters, press releases and other channels of communication key to your business)
  • Putting together a your launch plan to kick off your campaign
  • Managing a campaign communications plan for current pledgers, followers other potential investors (equity crowdfunding is not a ‘set it and forget it’ process)
  • Focusing on what’s working (maybe investor events or focusing on key groups has worked best – be conscious of this and stick to what’s working)

With less than a week to go both of these campaigns were sitting at approximately 50% of their funding target. Megan @ Pineapple Heads and the team at SellShed deserve a massive shout out in activating their crowds right through to the finish. Their success came from having a plan, knowing who/what/where was working and backing themselves right through to campaign close off.

It was a very exciting week last week for us at Team PledgeMe, for these two companies who we’ve been working with, and for equity crowdfunding as well which is barely more than one year old in NZ.

We currently have three other equity crowdfunding campaigns running for Chariot, Parent Interviews, and Be Intent Youth as well as have a tonne of awesome Projects on the go.

“Let’s Do Something Naughty”


This is a campaign that brings the bling. The shocking, shameless, sparkly short film “Vajazzle” is premiering online for Valentine’s Day, and after the spectacular success of its Pledge Me campaign, we just had to sit down with creator Nathalie Boltt to get the inside scoop.

Before launching Vajazzle’s campaign, Nathalie and her crew had never considered crowdfunding. They initially tried to fund the film through conventional channels, with encouraging results – the film was shortlisted for premiere funding from the Film Commission. But Nathalie suspects it was “just a bit too racy” for the Commission to support. She describes the decision to turn to Pledge Me as “terrifying”, saying “you’re really putting your neck on the block, and the danger is that nobody wants to see this.” But as she points out, filmmakers have to be willing to make that sacrifice anyway – “because why should the Commission give you money for stuff nobody wants to see?”

Much of Vajazzle’s campaign success is undoubtedly tied to its pitch video, which is 1 minute and 46 seconds of glorious glitz and glitter. If you haven’t checked it out yet, watch it below!



It was shot in an hour (after they decked the house out in silk and hunted down the cat) and not only showed viewers what they were in for, but also helped in terms of “clarifying [the] whole concept” for Nathalie and her crew. The reaction to the video surprised Nathalie, with eager responses from everyone from her own mum and dad to the parents at her six-year-old son’s school. But these unexpected supporters are what make up a crowd – as she puts it, “that sort of person comes out of the woodwork, and says ‘yes, let’s do something naughty.’”

Vajazzle 2And Nathalie has no intention of letting them back into the woodwork any time soon. Although the film has now been shot and is ready for release, she’s keen to maintain her crowd: “[the project] has got to lead back to the mothership…so when it’s time for your next feature, they’ve been with you the whole time.” And Nathalie is also committed to showing gratitude to her audience – whether that’s with an autographed blu-ray of the movie or a customised vajazzling of her own “mons pubis”. Our chief media wrangler, Jackson, was even thanked with his very own free vajazzle voucher! It’s all part of showing her appreciation: Nathalie urges future campaigners to “say thank you, thank you, thank you to your pledgers – never come across as ungrateful.”

All in all, Nathalie sees people pledging to films as a win-win for everyone: “Not only have they funded you, seen the result, been happy with it hopefully…but they’ve been part of something fun – and isn’t that just basic human nature, just wanting to be part of something exciting?”

So if you want to be part of something exciting, and you’re keen to see an exploration of “the freaky side of the female mind”, watch one of our latest crowdfunded short films, Vajazzle, below – trust us, it’s like nothing you’ve seen before.


Half a mill in half an hour

Yeastie Boys made it big yesterday. They equity crowdfunded half a million in half an hour. This is the fastest equity crowdfunding raise so far in New Zealand and one of the quickest in the world!

Down at Goldings Free Dive the atmosphere was electric. The venue was packed with people thirsty to become investors.

electric crowd

Just before 6 Stu got up and thanked their crowd for coming down and all those who were about to pledge. At the stroke of 6 Anna hit the publish button on the campaign, Stu rang the bell, and confetti exploded into the air.

Yeastie Stu

People dived onto their phones and laptops to get in. Within four minutes the campaign had hit $100k!

Pledges were flying in thick and fast. Not just from in the bar, but across New Zealand. There was a steady progression of pledges over the half hour. Could they have hit a million? We reckon so. Maybe something to consider next time Stu 😉


Between refreshing the laptop and updating the crowd Stu was quietly chuffed when, a mere 17 minutes in, they hit their minimum goal. pledgemepugThe crowd went wild at that point and Anna and I feared that the dreaded PledgeMe pug of unavailability might make an appearance. Luckily the team at Rabid had prepped the servers so they were ready for the onslaught of Yeastie Boys and Girls.

It was great to see Yeastie Boys bringing their campaign into the real world. Stu had travelled up and down New Zealand over the past week handing out business cards and talking about the equity raise. He also issued the financials and company documents over the weekend so people could read up and decide whether to invest over their Sunday brunch. Help was on hand with Stu answering questions and team PledgeMe helping people to pledge.

The buzz was great and it meant that on top of putting together a slick business plan and brewing great beer they activated their crowd and got a magnificent result.


All good things must come to an end. Just before 6:30 the party was over with the maximum goal of $500,000 was hit. More huzzahs and hoorahs! The revellers went  home with a warm fuzzy feeling in their hearts and shares in their back pockets.

Yeastie Boys now has 212 new shareholders. We’ll they’re not just shareholders they’re champions. Stu has bought his crowd into the company and now they have an interest in seeing Yeastie Boys succeed. Big congrats to them for going out to their crowd and making it work.


  • $505,019 raised
  • Time: 30 minutes exactly
  • 212 new Yeastie Boy shareholders
  • Average pledge: $2382
  • Largest pledge: $50,000
  • Happy Yeastie Boys: 2


A Purr-fect Publication

Frances Eliza could see a gap in the magazine market: despite all the publications circulating round the city, Wellington’s felines just weren’t being catered to. So she came up with the idea for Blackcat Quarterly, Wellington’s premier lifestyle magazine for cats. It’s made by people for their feline companions (the cats were ruled out of assisting production due to their issues with typing), and features everything from fashion editorials to celebrity cat news. Thanks to its support from 33 pledgers, this publication is set to take Wellington by storm, and to finally provide our deserving cats with some real reading material.

Here’s what Frances had to say about her PledgeMe experience:

What did you like about PledgeMe?
I liked being able to fundraise for my quirky project in an easy way. I’m kind of a shy person when it comes to asking people for favours, and this process allowed me to feel like I wasn’t asking for a handout so much as giving people something they really wanted via the rewards system. I also found the staff really helpful and friendly.

How did you find the experience?
Great! There were some things I didn’t understand about it that I wished I had known before I started- such as the fact that I wouldn’t recieve donor information until 3 days after the pledging closed. If I had known this before I would have chosen different prizes, since I thought I would have more time to work on them, but it wasnt until after I had already set them up and pledging had begun that I realised I would have to do them all in a rush at the end.

Any tips for newbies?
Make an awesome video and offer rewards that are actually worth the amount of money people are pledging.

I say crowdfunding, you say:

To re-fur to this claw-some publication and to preorder the first issue, head on over to, or check out their project here.


PledgeMe Alumni: James Shaw

PledgeMe has been helpin’ Kiwis fund the things they care about for almost three years now. In that time we’ve had something like 700 successful campaign go up on the site. We’ll be sharing the stories behind some of those successes and sit down with PledgeMe alumni to hear where they are now and how crowdfunding helped them out.

First up is James Shaw!

James Shaw is the Green Party’s newest Member of Parliament. But before he graced our fair country’s halls of power he used PledgeMe to crowdfund! Jackson went and had a chat to James about his project.

Read More

Met our match

We’ve met our match in the crowdfunding space… Matched funding.

It’s amazing the motivational power that comes from promising to match funds raised – if a projects goal is met. We’ve been toying with the idea of matched funding for a while, after seeing it work on a few individual projects last year (Back the Bull being the biggest example). This year we partnered with two organisations to run group matched funding campaigns, and now we’re hooked. We really think it’s one of the areas where crowdfunding is going to make a big mark in 2014.

Think group decision making meets pre-existing funding. So, what happens is if a project can meet it’s goal through the power of their crowd, they’ll double the funding they receive.

We’ve seen this work successfully for two groups of campaigns this year so far – one in the documentary film making space, and once for smart energy solutions in the capital. The thing we found so exciting in this space was the increase in success rates. ALL of the projects that made it into the matched funding campaigns met their goals, and exceeded them. Here’s a bit of debrief on the two campaigns run so far:

Loading Docs – Documentary Filmmaking

Last year, the Loading Docs team asked film makers what home meant to them, and the resulting 67 short doco proposals they received were so varied they almost couldn’t be compared – everyone had a different way of showing Aotearoa to the world.

From that bunch, 10 were picked to receive NZ on Air and NZ  Film Commission funding, and set to the task of match funding the rest through us over the month of February. The response was amazing – 3 projects were funded in a matter of days and all of the projects overfunded. Considering our normal success rate is 49%, the fact that all of the projects met their goals blew us away, and really showed us the power of both matched funding and a support team.

The docos funded covered stories from an intellectually disabled man, Wayne, owning a home of his own after 44 years of shared housing, through to what home means to a wide crowd in the queer community.

Watch all of the documentaries that were created here:

Smart Energy Challenge – Wellington City Council

Earlier this year, Wellington City Council teamed up with us and some of Wellington’s brightest social entrepreneurs from Enspiral and Generation Zero, to bring local Smart Energy projects to life. They wanted to find and support community-led projects designed to reduce energy use and increase clean energy in Wellington, and called it the Smart Energy Challenge.

Three projects came through in the first round – from putting solar panels on Aro Valley’s community centre, through to solar powered heating units, and a car share scheme in the city. Each project met and exceeded their goal again, showing that Wellingtonians are interested in different ways to power our capital. Wellington City Council matched dollar for dollar the target amount of each successful project.  “It was kind of like being at the horse races watching the projects”.

What do you think about matched funding?

Crowdfunding a Choir Tour

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

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

So, Matt, how was the tour?

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

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

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

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

More photos can be found in our Southern Tour Photo Album

What did you like about PledgeMe?

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

How did you find the experience?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is in store for CYC in 2014?

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

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

Find out about our other adventures at our facebook page!