International Inspiration & Home Truths: Community Energy

Our series “International Inspiration and Home Truths” shares some of the crowdlending stories we’ve heard from far and wide, brings that inspiration back to Aotearoa and hears from the enthusiasts who’ve helped us to imagine what crowdlending could look like for a range of kiwi organisations. First up is the transformative world of community energy projects.

How can a sustainably-minded community create a more resilient energy landscape for themselves? The Great Dunkilns community in Gloucester, UK decided to take the problem of funding into their own hands by, along with conscious investors throughout the country, collectively lending £1.4million to construct a community scale wind turbine on their turf. The energy produced is being used to power local houses, with the excess being sold back to the grid. The money earned from the energy is used to pay back their lenders their investment plus an annual interest rate of 7%.


There’s been some big government support in Britain too. Swindon Borough Council, to deliver on their vision of developing a low carbon economy by 2030, co-funded a common solar farm – the £1.7million contributed by the crowd was double-matched by the council.

How could empowered local communities power New Zealand?

Imagine, an off-grid wind turbine – built by and for the local residents of a wind-battered coastal community – being funded by that community and the many renewable believers all over both islands, North and South. Now imagine many of these renewably-powered pockets, from Dunedin to Wellington to Kaitaia, enabling New Zealand to achieve our goal of becoming the world’s first carbon neutral country by 2020.

We’ve seen a few great examples of clean energy crowdfunding through PledgeMe already, with Blueskin Energy crowdfunding to build a measurement tower, and Powerhouse Wind equity crowdfunding their single bladed wind turbine (below).

The enthusiast who’s inspired us

Renewable energy fanatic and our friend, Ian Shearer, first opened our eyes to the potential of crowdlending for community energy initiatives from his experience in the UK. Here’s Ian’s perspective on crowdlending:

What about crowdlending appeals to you?

I’m a community-minded person – always have been. I was involved with co-operative lending many years ago, which has partly paved the path for crowdlending. So that’s how I began to see the mechanism of crowdlending come together. But what really appeals to me is being able to invest in my passion, to invest in renewable energy.

What good things have you seen achieved in the community energy space?

What first brought me into the community energy world wasn’t necessarily my passion for renewables. It was my involvement with small communities in Scotland, and seeing the desire of these small communities to own their own the systems to enable them to power themselves. Community Energy Scotland were an extremely progressive organisation and they recognised crowdlending as the way to go to not just make community energy projects viable, but also to allow the people in the local area to benefit financially from the success of those projects. They were one of the first to take that step to help small island communities create and fund self-reliant wind-powered energy systems.

Biggest benefit beyond the money?

Collective ownership of something that matters to you.

Compared to the UK, what major obstacles do you see lying in the way of community energy crowdlending in New Zealand?

Two things really. A first successfully funded project that leads the way for others to follow. And secondly, once we find some traction, not being able to trade your investment may be an obstacle to grow the involvement of investors.


Are you inspired by what you’ve read, and interested in turning to crowdlending for your community energy outfit? Chat to us!

What's Up Wednesday

AgWomen Global

365 days. 365 women. 365 stories of influence.

AgWomen wants to celebrate the stories of women who help to shape the primary industries. So for a whole year, they plan to share a story a day, across their Facebook, Instagram and website, all culminating in a coffee table book containing the different profiles. They’ve already got over 100 names signed up, and have written and edited 30 stories, which they’ve begun sharing!

But to progress to the next step they need your help – so we chatted to “Agvocate” Chelsea Miller about why you should be supporting this ambitious project:

Why do you think this campaign is important?

We’ve created this initiative on the premise that no longer the theory of ‘tall poppy syndrome’ is a negative one, rather creates an opportunity to celebrate success and share the stories of women who help to shape the Primary Industry. It is about celebrating these women’s contribution, encouraging the next generation to follow in their footsteps and connect a global community of like-minded people who can celebrate their successes together. So often women’s stories are forgotten and we are about bringing them to the forefront, so others are inspired to lead, make change, and understand that they are an equal in a partnership which is heading in the same direction.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

There are many organisations out there helping to educate women and bring them together in a social context, but so often their stories aren’t shared beyond their own communities. We want to change this with AgWomen Global. Not only do these organisations have rich AgWomen stories, they believe in our values and what we’re trying to achieve so wanted them to feel as though they are part of a bigger journey. This is another way they can support women and give them the confidence to excel, so that’s why we reached out to them for support through a PledgeMe campaign.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign?

We are starting to pull together the coffee table book from around June, ready for release in March 2018. There is a plan to get some more dynamic content produced to showcase some of the AgWomen stories, but is funds dependent. Ultimately though, MORE INSPIRING STORIES 🙂

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

A huge thank you to those who have already supported us, from pledging, through to wider communications to their networks, to those who’ve given names and stories for us to share. Without our crowd we couldn’t possibly deliver inspiration to the women of the world who are involved and want to be involved in the Primary Industry. We would merely be a name with no content. 

Our team thanks you for allowing us to share your success – you all inspire us every day!

To support AgWomen and help them keep on sharing success, pledge to their campaign right here.

Why are we doing Lending Month of May?

Here at PledgeMe, we’re launching a whole month of Lending related goodness. Why? Because we think lending has gotten a bit of a bad rep.

Over the month of May, we want to connect with Kiwis who are curious about crowdlending, and help demystify it for them.

How will we do that?

  • We’ll explain what it means in a super straight forward way; borrowing money doesn’t need to be as complicated as it’s been made out to be. We’ll compare traditional forms of debt to crowdfunded loans and we’ll also talk about the wider peer-to-peer space.
  • We’ll create case studies on how it has worked in the past.
  • We’ll host a webinar so we can answer your questions real time, and then blog about it.
  • We’ll be speaking at other people’s events (if you’ve got one, let us know!) and host our own.
  • We’ll be writing a weekly blog series showcasing how crowdlending can work for various companies and organisations (more on this below.)
  • We’re creating a podcast series
  • We’re putting together a mini-documentary on our people behind the bubble

First up: what is crowdlending??

Crowdlending is pretty simple. It’s going out to your crowd for funding and paying them back over time, on your terms. You’re in control. You choose the amount of your loan, the interest rate that you’ll offer to your crowd, the timeframe of your loan, whether or not you want to secure your loan and the additional rewards you’d like to offer to your crowd.

It’s a transparent process, and on our platform, PledgeMe.Lend, we focus on loans for organisations and companies (rather than for individual people).

We’ve so far helped two companies borrow from their crowds – Eat My Lunch and Denheath Desserts, who’ve collectively raised $1.2 million from their supporters – but we want to help more companies, not-for-profits, sports clubs and schools.

We think crowdlending is exciting because the interest is being earned by your crow and going back out into the community.

Who’s crowdlending for?

Crowdlending can be for any company or organisation that has a crowd and could repay a loan to their crowd. It’s for those that would prefer to reach out to those people (and reward them) rather than going through a more traditional borrowing process.

It’s for organisations that have been operating for a couple of years, are revenue generating and preferably profitable, and have some equity on their balance sheet. It’s for organisations who’ve built a community of followers around them and want to activate that crowd.

Who are we?

Barry is the main person behind PledgeMe.Lend. In a past life, he was a banker. He’s taken his insight into how things have traditionally been done, and created a more inclusive way for organisations to borrow to fund the things they care about . He wants to help us reimagine debt: to see a loan – when used simply and honestly – as an enabler, that allows an organisation to take opportunities for themselves and make opportunities for those around them.

What we’ve seen happen around the world?

To help demystify crowdlending, throughout the month of May, we’ll be sharing stories of what’s happened overseas, and showing how those examples could work in Aotearoa as well. Like:

  • Intrigue Chocolate in Seattle raised over $40,000USD to improve their retail space as 85% of their shoppers were from foot traffic. Now, imagine a chocolate factory in New Zealand looking to expand their exports or improve their shop.
  • The Art of Coffee in Dublin borrowed €7,200 to buy a top-of-the-range sandwich machine and discovered a crowd of new customers along the way. Could a local kiwi cafe activate their crowd of customers to help them buy a brand-spanking new roaster to enhance the coffee experience they’re creating.
  • BrewDog are leading the way in the crowdfunding world, and their BrewDog Bonds last year are no different. What would it look like for a craft brewer in New Zealand to borrow money to make more beer with new fermentation tanks and bottling machines?.
  • Hertha Berlin Football Club in Germany raised €1million in ten minutes to refresh their online identity. Imagine if a sports club here went to go out to their members and fans to help refurbish their facilities.
  • Stellenbosch Waldorf School in Capetown raised 363,400 South African Rand to fit their school building with solar panels. Imagine if a New Zealand based school kitted out their roof with solar panels to help energise themselves and power some extra eco-education for their students.
  • Evergreen Escapes borrowed $25,000USD to create a hub for travellers to come together to learn, chat, share and plan. How about a not-for-profit food catering social enterprise closer to home buying a food-truck, so that they can serve a wider audience, without being held back by their inability to issue shares to raise equity funding.

If you haven’t already, you can go to our lending landing page and sign up to our newsletter list to get the content first. You can check out all our previous content there as well.

We’re always more than happy to chat about how this could work for you, so if you’ve any burning questions feel free reach out to Barry at

A new way to CrowdfundingU

You’ve probably seen over the last month that we’ve refreshed our fees for campaigners and pledgers (for the better, we believe!). One of the changes we’ve made is to the cost of our preparation programme for PledgeMe.Equity and PledgeMe.Lend campaigners, CrowdfundingU.


We’ve reached out to a wide group of past and present campaigners to hear from those that matter. They’ve made us realise the value that they’ve gotten from working alongside us through CrowdfundingU is larger than we thought. There’s a lot that goes into helping companies and organisations to prepare for their campaigns – from them putting together their offer, to them communicating with their crowd, to them throwing a bad-ass launch party. We’ve been refining the content of the programme and how we deliver it since we introduced it last year, and increased the amount of support time we put in with each campaign. So we decided to change the fee we’re charging to cover the full cost of providing six individual sessions (plus all the in between support, feedback, and crowd wrangling).


The CrowdfundingU fee for any equity or lending campaigner aiming to raise over $100,000, is now $3,000 + GST. Capability vouchers, issued by NZTE through your local Economic Development Agency, are still available to cover up to half the cost of the programme. We’ve seen 90% of the companies we’ve worked with so far have vouchers granted to subsidise the cost.


We’ve also introduced a condensed version of CrowdfundingU, for those that are raising less that $100,000 or wouldn’t have the profile to receive capability vouchers (not-for-profits, community organisations, clubs and schools) or the ability to pay the full fee (young startups). We’ve shortened the programme to two sessions, focusing on: preparing your campaign documentation; and planning your communication. This costs $750 + GST, and doesn’t provide the same rigour and support, but for smaller campaigns that might be overkill.


Whether you’re big or small, local or global, if you’re looking to raise money and you’ve got a crowd around you that believe in what you’re about, we’d be more than happy to chat about crowdfunding and, if it feels right, take you through the CrowdfundingU that’s right for you.

How to PledgeMe.

How to get your campaign funded in the final few days

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

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

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

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

Making your crowd feel loved IRL

Moustache cookie Monday & wall of pledgers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pineapple Heads happy hour

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

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

Eat My Lunch Gala Dinner

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

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

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

Crowdsourcing new rewards

Loves Me Not raises half its goal in the final day

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

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

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

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

Otakaro Orchard raises $40,000 in the final week

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

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

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

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

What's Up Wednesday

Running on Sunshine

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

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

Why do you think this campaign is so important?

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

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

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

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

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

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

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

How to: fund the growth of your social enterprise

A group of social entrepreneurs around a table.

Photo cred: Thomas Nabbs from The Waterboy

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

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


What is social enterprise

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

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


General investment readiness

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

Photo cred: Emma from Ākina

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

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

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

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


Crowdfunding101 (but with social enterprise examples)

Image of Pomegranate Kitchen team

Photo Cred: Rebecca from Pomegranate Kitchen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  1. Capital strategy – what is it?

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

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

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

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

He also ran through this handy dandy chart.

2) Measuring impact – how do you do it?

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

To know that you need to be clear on:

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

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

Here’s one example Theory of Change:

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


3) Locking mission – what are the different ways?

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

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

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

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

What's Up Wednesday

A Slick New Website for the Zero Carbon Act!

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

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

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

Why do you think this campaign is important?

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

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

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

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

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

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

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

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

What's Up Wednesday

Dash Rail – Canterbury Commuter Trains

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

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

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

Why do you think this campaign is important?

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

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

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

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

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

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

What's Up Wednesday

Double the Quota

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

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

Why do you think this campaign is important?

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

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

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

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

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

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

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

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

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

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

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