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.

We’re changing our fees

 

We’ve made a big announcement today: we’re changing the fees we charge our users!

We believe that everyone is better off under this new model:

  • The total fee campaign creators are charged will be less (from 7.5% total to 6.5%)
  • If you choose to pledge with your credit card, you as the pledger will be on charged the credit card fee. But, you can fully avoid fees if you choose to direct deposit.
  • There’s tiered pricing for CrowdfundingU, so earlier stage companies and organisations can access it for less.
  • We’ll be earning more for our services. We’ll move from a 5% success fee (which is lower than most crowdfunding providers in New Zealand) to 6.5%.
  • The announcement today is giving a month’s notice to users, and anyone who launches before 1 April will be under our old pricing.

We’ve worked really really really hard to figure out a simple way to do this.

If you have any comments, thoughts, or questions do let us know.

Here’s the full announcement:

 

Kia ora,

 

We’ve got some fee changes coming in the PledgeMe office on 1 April 2017 that we need to let you know about.

Our fee structure currently

Currently, campaign creators are charged a 5% success fee and a 2.5% credit card fee on pledges made on credit cards. That’s around 7.5% in fees, as well as an education programme fee for equity and lending campaigns of up to $1,500 + GST.

How we’re changing our fees

We’re making a few changes to our fee structure to bring us in line with the rest of the industry, but also make it less expensive for our campaign creators.


We’ve decided to:

  • Offer a free payment option so all types of campaigns (project, equity, and lending) will have the option to direct deposit at no cost to the creator or the pledger.
  • Change it so that if pledgers choose to use their credit cards, the credit card cost will be charged to them as pledgers rather than to the campaign creator.
  • Increase our success fee to 6.5%. This is less than our current total fee charged to campaign creators (as it includes the credit card fee), and less than most other platforms in the market.
  • Change our CrowdfundingU six session education programme for equity and lending campaigns to be $750 for those seeking to raise less than $100,000, and $3,000 for those seeking to raise more. Companies will still be able to seek capability vouchers for up to half the cost, read our blog on how capability vouchers work here.

 

What does that mean for campaign creators?

If you create and launch your crowdfunding campaign before 1 April 2017, you will still be under our old fee structure.

 

For example, if you are launching a campaign you’ve created before 1 April 2017 you will pay:

 

Project campaign Equity campaign Lending campaign
  • 5% success fee (GST included)
  • Up to 2.5% + 25c per transaction for credit card fees.
  • $1,500 + GST for CrowdfundingU
  • 5% (zero rated) success fee
  • Up to 2.5% + 25c per transaction for credit card fees.
  • $1,500 + GST for CrowdfundingU
  • 4% (zero rated) success fee
  • Up to 2.5% + 25c per transaction for credit card fees.

 

If you launch after 1 April 2017 you will pay:

 

Project campaign Equity campaign Lending campaign
  • 6.5% success fee (GST included)
  • No credit card fees (these will be paid by your pledger if incurred).
  • $750 (campaigns under $100,000) or $3,000 + GST (campaigns over $100,000) for CrowdfundingU (could be half funded by capability vouchers)
  • 6.5% (zero rated) success fee.
  • No credit card fees (these will be paid by your pledger if incurred).
  • $750 (campaigns under $100,000) or $3,000 + GST (campaigns over $100,000) for CrowdfundingU (could be half funded by capability vouchers)
  • 5.5% (zero rated) success fee.
  • No credit card fees (these will be paid by your pledger if incurred).

 

So, for example on a $300,000 equity campaign you would pay:

  • $1,500 + GST for CrowdfundingU (if you got a capability voucher for half of the cost)
  • $19,500 zero rated success fee

What does that mean for pledgers?

 

There could now be two fees you pay:

  • When you pledge with a credit card – You can either choose to direct deposit your pledge after a campaign closes, or pay on your credit card. If you choose to use your credit card, the fees associated with using your card will be added on top of your pledge total. These fees are currently 2.5% of the total, and 25c per transaction attempt.
  • The 1% repayment fee on lending campaigns – this hasn’t changed, you will still be charged 1% of the principal amount as repayments are made.

If you have any questions, comments, or gif offerings, let us know on contact@pledgeme.co.nz!

Cheers,

Anna

 

Fee structure as at 1 April 2017

PledgeMe.Project creator

6.5% success fee (GST inclusive) charged to campaign creator if goal met by deadline

PledgeMe.Equity creator

6.5% success fee (zero rated) charged to campaign creator if goal met by deadline

PledgeMe.Lend creator

5.5% success fee (zero rated) charged to campaign creator if goal met by deadline. Note: there will also be fees to the pledger of 1% of principal repayment.

CrowdfundingU

$3,000 + GST for 6 session programme. Required for all Equity and Lending campaigns. Reduced to $750 + GST for campaigns under $100,000

Pledgers

The cost of using your credit card will be passed onto you if your card is charged, currently this is 2.5% + 25c per transaction attempt.

1% of the principal repaid to pledgers on PledgeMe.Lend campaigns (note: no fee on the interest earned)

What's Up Wednesday

The Ōtakarō Orchard Project

Since the earthquakes shook the city apart, the local food resilience movement in Christchurch has been gathering momentum. In the event of supply chains becoming disrupted, supermarkets carry only three days worth of food – so community gardens become more important than ever. And in a time when up to 40% of Cantabrians struggle to have access to the food they need, community gardens become a necessity.

Enter the Ōtakarō Orchard Project.

The project has three parts: an edible park, a local food information centre and cafe, and a dome to serve as an indoor food production and education space. The team behind Ōtakarō Orchard want to create New Zealand’s first urban food hub – an oasis in the city producing tonnes of food each year for their community. But they need your help to do it!

Since 2015 the project has received over $300,000 in public donations and grant funding, but they need an extra $60k to get the first stage of the landscaping done. In return, they’re offering everything from a vegetable bouquet to a tree named after you! But in case you wanted to find out a little more before you got pledging, we got in touch with Chloe, the project coordinator:

How are you finding the campaign so far?

love being able to share this project I’m so passionate about with our community so that’s been a joyous process! We’ve had a really great reception so far with lots of people excited about the project and members of the business community coming on board to offer more rewards and in-kind support for the construction of the park. So although our rate of pledges will need to pick up in the coming weeks, we’re feeling really optimistic we’ll reach target.

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

We’ll be releasing more exciting rewards and also video clips of people from Christchurch and beyond telling us why they’re excited about the Orchard. Then I think we’ll also have a great wrap party!

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

The thing that’s going to make this campaign a success is if we can reach the people who want to take the higher rewards – naming planters ($5000), trees ($1000) and bricks ($250). This is important for meeting our funding goal, but also in the park feeling community-owned once it is built. We want as many names on it as possible! So if you know a person, group or business that might like to make a donation at this level then please phone or write to them to tell them about this opportunity! Many thanks in advance.

To find out more about the Ōtakarō Orchard Project and get a tree named after you, check out their campaign page right here!

How to PledgeMe.

How to create your Crowdfunding Canvas

One of the hardest things about every crowdfunding campaign is making it simple. Seeing everything you need to do on one page, and keeping track of where you’re at. Recently, we canvassed our crowd for ideas on how to make things easier and our friend Nat at Mum’s Garage came to the table with the idea of a canvas.

We’re big fans of the Lean Canvas here in the PledgeMe office, being regular mentors, judges, and attendees at Start Up Weekends around New Zealand. So, taking inspiration from that, and the Social Lean Canvas, we decided to create our own Crowdfunding Canvas.

 

Note: THIS IS NOT A BUSINESS PLAN! You should have your project and / or business plan stored somewhere else. This is just for your crowdfunding campaign (pre, during, and post).


Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Get the canvas

Go to the Crowdfunding Canvas and either:

  1. Create a Google Docs copy (File → Make a Copy), or
  2. Download the canvas (File → Download As).

You can print it out and hand write your plans on (small) post it notes / change as you go, or keep updating an online version.


Step 2: Fill out the canvas

Have a first run through of the canvas filling out each of the sections.

Left side: Your Crowd

  • Crowd

Write down the people who will pledge / share your campaign, and start chatting to them. These are actual humans you already know, not the crowd you’d like to support your project – a list of names, not general categories like students or animal lovers. Think about why they support you and how much you can reasonably expect them to be able to pledge.

  • Skills needed

Write down the skills you need, and think about whether anyone in your crowd above could help. Videographers, designers, writers, journos, social media whizzes, party planners – who do you know?

 

Middle section: Your Content

  • Funding

Note your overarching goal for the campaign (both min and max if you’re doing a lending or equity campaign) and make sure to include the costs for preparing and sending rewards (production, postage, etc) and PledgeMe’s fees. You should note what this money is for in one sentence. How does your budget compare to the pledging capability of your crowd? If you’ve got a shortfall, you’ll need to find a way to build a bigger crowd.

  • What we do

Write down in a sentence or two what you do. Where did your idea come from, why are you and your team the right people for the job, and why should your crowd get excited about it?

  • What you offer

Start drafting what you will offer your crowd: shares at what valuation, loan notes at what interest rate, or rewards. What will they get in return for pledging on your campaign?

  • Video and imagery

Start planning your visuals – note where you are at with your video (link to a script?) and where your best imagery is stored (of you, of what you do, and of your team).

  • Why crowdfunding?

Write down in a sentence or two why going to your crowd makes sense to you. It should probably be along the lines of “our crowd loves us, they matter to us and we want to keep them involved as we do our thing.”

  • People

Who are you? Write brief bios of each of your team, and be clear on what their role will be during the campaign (and beyond, if relevant). You can link to a bigger doc here if required.

 

Right side: How you communicate your content to your crowd

  • Spreading the word

Even if your crowd loves you, they can’t support your campaign if they don’t know about it. How are you going to get them involved? Phone calls, social media, direct emails, a newsletter, events, media coverage – what are you going to do, and who on your team will be responsible?

 

Bottom section: Your timeline

  • Timeline – Pre launch

One of the most common things we hear from campaign owners (both successful and not) is that they wish they’d spent more time planning. Most of the work behind a successful campaign takes place before it ever goes live. Prepping your crowd, nailing the budget, making a video, perfecting your rewards, reaching out to journalists, drafting a solid promotion plan – all essential to a smooth campaign. What do you need to have in place before you launch?

  • Timeline – During and Post launch

Even with a solid plan and your crowd’s interest piqued pre launch, you’re going to need time during the campaign to make it all happen. Getting the word out to your crowd via social media, direct emails, phone calls, campaign updates, and events can take up a lot of time. If your media plan goes well, someone will need to be on call to chat to journalists. After you close, organising and distributing rewards can be a full time gig. How will you and your team fit the campaign around your other responsibilities?


Step 3: Get feedback

Get feedback – this could be from your team, from us, or from your crowd! Are people excited about your rewards? Do they ‘get’ your vision? Does your budget sound reasonable? Would they pledge?


Step 4: Keep updating

Keep iterating and improving your canvas based on feedback and experience, both in the lead up to and during your campaign. If you’re getting similar questions from a lot of people, think about how to make your pitch clearer. If a reward is popular, ponder ways to offer more like it. Ditto for criticism – take it on board, integrate it if you need to, and thank people for their honest feedback. It’s better to hear this during the planning stage than when you’re in the midst of a busy campaign!

Sales is Like Friendship

We love making things simpler here at PledgeMe. We’ve created three simple ways to involve your crowd and bring your ideas to life: Project, Equity & Lend. And we love the power of simple analogies. We want to make it more simple for more people to get their heads around startups. So many aspects of startup life are abstract and tough to grasp, and the guides that are supposed to help just leave you without a ground-level understanding of what’s what. We’ve found that one of these murky areas is sales.

So what is sales?

We used to think sales was greasy. That’s the misconception that’s planted in many of our minds. We hear “sales”and we recoil a little bit. We think “manipulating”, “ruthless”, “soulless”and “squeezing problems to fit a solution.” But with Tan now guiding us as we sail the selling seas, we’ve realised something. Sales is like friendship.

Simply put, sales is about exchanging stories, understanding one another, planning to do stuff together and then doing stuff together. Sounds like friendship, huh? It’s about meshing your different perspectives and skills together so that you can help each other get stuff done, and get it done better. It’s all about that real relationship that you create together with your customer and the time that you spend connecting.

So much of sales is letting your customer hear the real story – why you’re doing what you’re doing, your journey so far and your vision – and helping them believe in it enough to want to be a part of that story. But arguably, the most important thing about sales is passing the mic and listening to them. Asking questions to understand your customer’s problem so that you can truly empathise with them.


Your customer isn’t king (controversial!)…your customer is a friend who you create an authentic relationship with, who you can sit with on the same level and enjoy spending time with. Magic happens when friends get together. You make each other’s lives better.

What's Up Wednesday

Bikes Welcome

Jan 25

Are you a shop looking to attract a new crew of customers? Or a cyclist just looking for somewhere safe to store your cycle? Well, businesses and bike-lovers alike should be paying attention to the grand plans of Bikes Welcome.

Bikes Welcome is a charitable trust focused on making businesses more bike-friendly, because regular bike use is great for people, health, business, communities and the environment. They want to help businesses recognise and value their cycling customers, and help councils, bike-users and businesses connect and work together to create change. The first step? Better bike parking.

They’ve already received some grant funding, but they’re turning to their crowd now to help roll out their plans all across NZ. If they hit their target, then they can design, print, and post window stickers out to Bikes Welcome businesses, to signal to cyclists which shops are on their side. The more money they raise, the more great, cycle-friendly things they can achieve. And what’s more, they have some fantastic rewards on offer – everything from Thunderpants to Pic’s Peanut Butter!

2 (1)  5

We wanted to find out more about why you should be getting in gear with Bikes Welcome, so we had a chat with team member Jo:

How are you finding the campaign so far?

This is day one, so nerve wracking would be one answer!  Others answers would include: inspiring (thanks awesome people), exhausting (yes, there is a lot of work involved, and why did I decide to do this in the school holidays? it just confirms that I’m kind of nuts).  It has also been stretching (taking me outside my comfort zone) and stimulating (learning new things and meeting new people).  But I’ll go back to nerve wracking because this is a big huge leap of faith, faith that there are enough people out there who believe in what Bikes Welcome want to achieve, faith that we can connect with them and inspire them to be part of it.  Yep, in the words of the late George Michael, ‘you gotta have faith’.  Faith…… and a wonder-woman costume.

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

I’d like to summon up creative genius and add a cool reward for bike users who want something that makes the statement ‘yes, I bike’.  Not sure what it will be yet…. all suggestions are most welcome!  And it is just possible I’ll drag out the wonder woman costume again if I need to shake things up.  Maybe I can get people to pledge for me NOT to wear it?  And I’d like the #yesIbike tag to take off, so look out for your chance to have a play with that.

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

Thank you!  Thanks awesome people for helping spread the word and supporting Bike Welcome, for your faith, ideas and feedback, positive words and wisdom.  And thanks to my understanding kids and husband for all their support.  And in the words of Dr Seus’s Lorax “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”  So keep on being the change you want to see in this world.

To find out more about Bikes Welcome and act on the words of the Lorax, take a look at their campaign right here.

How to PledgeMe.

How to find out if your crowd wants to fund you

One of the biggest things that we’ve learnt over the past 5 years is that the most important part of any crowdfunding campaign is your crowd. The crowd you already know, whether it’s your mum, your co-worker, or your customers. Do they want to support you? Do they know your campaign is happening? Do they feel valued? All important things to take into account before launching a campaign, but sadly not always prioritised. You can build the shiniest campaign in the entire world, but if your crowd doesn’t know it’s coming, and don’t feel like they’re being valued, they won’t get on board.

So here’s our five step guide to checking that your crowd wants to fund you.

1)    Figure out who your crowd is.

Write down the names of people in your crowd that have supported you in the past, or have been watching you work on the thing you want to fund. The longer you’ve been working on the thing you plan to fund, the easier it often is. If you’ve been working on it for a while, and your crowd has been watching, they’re more likely to believe you’ll be able to do the thing you need funding for (and will know the hard yards you’ve put in to get to this point).

2)    Ask them

Screen Shot 2016-12-31 at 1.01.23 pm

Yep, it’s seriously that easy. We recommend asking at least 50 people what they think about your campaign. Not everyone will be on board, and some people will just say what they think you want to hear, but these conversations can help you decide whether you should crowdfund or not. Here are some questions you could ask:

  • What about the thing I’m doing do you like?
  • What reservations do you have? How can I change that for you?
  • Does this thing really matter to you? Why? Why not?
  • Who do you think would also love this thing?

Also, some people will always say yes to please you. Don’t ask them.

 

3)    Crowdsource support

Involve your crowd in the whole journey, including your campaign prep. Get feedback on your content. Ask for ideas on rewards (or, better yet, some of the rewards that you can offer!). This doesn’t have to be all 50 people, and you might not ask for the same support from each of them, but we do think that in crowdfunding the old adage of “if you ask for money, you get advice and if you ask for advice, you get money” is dead. We find that if you ask for advice, you’ll often get both.

 

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-1-03-47-pm4)    Create a newsletter sign up

Only do this once you’ve decided that you’re definitely going ahead.

Make sure to set a date and time that you will be launching so everyone signing up knows the D-Day.

Manage expectations around what you’ll be telling people here, and create anticipation by sharing information bit by bit to them in the lead up.

You can also ask your crowd again for more information – like what sorts of perks would they like as shareholders, like Yeastie Boys did (as you can see to the right).

 

5)    Share on your social media accounts

If you don’t have social media accounts, this could be a bit harder. You’ll need to be really really really clear on how you’ll activate your crowd if you don’t have them. Is it emails?

If your crowd gets on board, you’re so much more likely to get people you don’t know on board. They’ll see the validation of your crowd, feel comfort by being shoulder-to-shoulder with your existing supporters  and emulate them. Sort of like in Derek’s TED talk on how to start a movement.

Don’t be afraid to ask your crowd if they want to fund you. And, don’t be afraid to wait if they’re not ready yet.

What we learnt in 2016

Another year older, another year of helping kiwis doing the things they care about. And, in some ways another year wiser. Or at least, another year of learning under our belt.

While not every campaign makes their goal (and we feel that, deeply), we see so much more happening through the platform than money being processed. We see friends supporting friends, new friendships made, things other than dollar bills being offered, and hard work turning into more (but better funded) hard work.

I’m writing this while on holiday (turns out, I’m not so good at completely shutting off). After two weeks of almost screen-free days, I feel like I can properly reflect on the last year’s highs (and lows) with a bit of distance and sort-of hindsight. And, instead of just talking about all the good things, I’d like to share some of our learnings, too. Because, if we want Aotearoa New Zealand to be a better funded and more equitable place, we have to share not just the highlight reel, but the lessons learnt.


 

You need to look at the numbers. And, sometimes you’re looking at the wrong numbers.

In 2016 we had over $5 million processed in successful campaigns: over 150 project, 5 equity, and 2 lending campaigns. This brought us to over 1,100 campaigns funded since we started in 2012. We had a 16% increase on dollars pledged to successful campaigns than the previous calendar year, but a decrease in the number of campaigns.

For a lot of this year it didn’t feel like that would happen. We had a super slow start, for a whole bunch of reasons. Despite that we still grew on the dollars pledged to successful campaign side. And, even more awesomely, we grew even more on the revenue side. We added a new revenue stream (in a way that we hope helps our campaigners) meaning our revenue increased 30% from the previous year.

We also broke the record for the fastest campaign to reach the $2million cap in New Zealand, and broke our own records for most funded campaign when that happened.

We had so many different crowdfunders – from an urban winery to a refugee catering company, from the Spinoff’s War for Auckland to 8 teams from Diocesan School for Girls.

So, even though our numbers were patchy (nothing new there) and our numbers declined in some areas (fewer project campaigns, but more large campaigns), we still grew in size and impact. You need to regularly step back from the day-to-day and see what the numbers are saying.

 

New shiiiiiit. You have to constantly be improving (and listening to your team).


We launched PledgeMe.Lend, and had our first two successes (Eat My Lunch and Denheath). This was mainly due to a mammoth effort by our team member Barry in convincing our board it was a good move, creating a simple offering, going through the licencing process, and managing the technical build. And, we’re stoked. PledgeMe.Lend extends so much further than just Auckland based “high growth” companies. It could help community organisations, schools, companies based outside of Auckland, anyone who has a revenue stream to help repay the loan and interest, and it could help their crowd support them too.

TePapapaLunch1 copy

We also launched a private version of PledgeMe.Equity and had our first two successes there too (with over $400k pledged). Originally, I was against this idea. I thought that it undermined the transparency that I thought underpinned crowdfunding. But, with the help of my team, I realised that private crowdfunding is still transparent, still a place for questions and feedback, but just with a smaller circle of potential pledgers. It’s great for companies that are super early stage, for companies that don’t want to go too wide (or get too much media coverage).

 

You can’t just go it alone.

It’s easy to think you know best, and you don’t need any help. But when you’re starting (and growing) a company, you should be constantly finding people to help and accelerate what you do.

Recently, we hired Tan, our first sales person! We’re excited to have one person whose sole job is to get campaigns through the door, so we can do what we do well – helping them reach their goals.

The hiring process is hard though. We don’t always get it right, especially in areas we don’t know a lot about. So we’re constantly improving, refreshing, and figuring out how to do work and team better. And, that means being open to flexible working, supporting folk with families, and checking our assumptions around what (and how) work should be done.

We also announced our partnership with the Akina Foundation, to help more social enterprises crowdfund. We’ve grown up a lot since we first met this crew, but we’re still as aligned with their values as we were on day one. So, we’re excited that we finally managed to put a ring on it.

 

You can’t just talk about diversity.

We realised we weren’t walking the talk around diversity with our board, so we wrote a blog about it. Then we went through a rigorous process to find and hire a new director (in the end, we had over 100 amazing applicants, and we hired two directors: Mel and Jessica). We wrote a blog about the process, to help other people find new board members.

 screen-shot-2016-05-04-at-4-44-18-pm

Leading on from this (and some other work that I’ve been doing) I helped co-instigate an unconference for Women Who Get Sh*t Done in New Zealand. We had 120 women and kids come along for a weekend of learning, sharing, and growing. In 2017, we’re hoping to have three events up and down the country, scaling the number of women we can get along.

group-shot-wwgsd

Sometimes you need to retreat to move forward.

13413558_10157254630785556_3308911908737007131_nMy team decided I needed a holiday so bad, they did a secret crowdfunding campaign to send me to Samoa. The time away then (and now) has provided me with the space I needed to really review, plan, and relax. And the space to not burn out. The reward of me wearing my onesie to Samoa was not ideal though….

 

Apart from forced interventions, I regularly get time out with other entrepreneurs to help with this, including my quarterly female founder retreats that I wrote about here.

 

You don’t get to keep the awesome people forever.

Some of our amazing PledgeMe team moved on to new adventures in 2016: Lana to be the GM of Raygun, Jackson to AirBnB, Will to Canada / the US, Rory to running a design shop.

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-10-15-57-am

I think that’s partially another sign that the way we work is different – people move from role to role, learning, doing, and improving. We’re stoked to have the team rocking out all over, and often coming back to visit and help us out when we need it. But we do miss their smiling faces on Team Skypes.

 

You also can’t get good media coverage forever.

We got our first real slamming in traditional media this year. Previously, it had just been kept to the comments sections, but this was different, and it honestly stung. But, it gave us this opportunity to update our crowd and talk about where to from here. And, as one of our board members put it, we weren’t going to have a good run forever, so we might as well start learning how to deal with less than effusive coverage as well as the good stuff.

 


 

My final learning, and something I’m grappling with at the moment is: It’s easy to make something complicated, it’s hard to make something simple. We need to be constantly striving to make things easier, simpler, and better for our users and for New Zealand.

What will 2017 bring? Well, according to our strategy, an attempt at doubling our revenue, getting the word out about PledgeMe.Lend, and helping more kiwis fund the things they care about.

What did you learn in 2016? We’d love to hear.

What's Up Wednesday

Women Who Get Shit Done

dec-14

It’s hard to fund an event with “shit” in the name. But that’s not about to stop this crew.

In June of this year, the first “Women Who Get Shit Done” unconference was held in Wellington. Women of all backgrounds from all over the country came together to talk about all the shit they had to deal with, and all the shit they wanted to get done. They made connections, they formed an agenda, they were inspired and inspired others. And now they want to do it all again down in Christchurch – but they need your help.

This time around, the team behind WWGSD want to make sure that those who can’t afford the (already very low) conference fee aren’t precluded from attending. They don’t want the ability to pay to determine who gets to be in the room – but that means they need to set up scholarships in order to subsidise the conference fees. That’s where you guys come in.

In return for your support, they’re offering everything from kids’ coding classes to a six-pack of poo emoji cupcakes! And of course, you also get the awesome feeling of knowing you’ve helped some awesome ladies keep kicking ass. (Full disclosure: our very own Chief Bubble Blower Anna was a founding member of this unconference, so we’re a little biased – but we think that speaks to how rad this group of women are!)

To hear a bit more about why you should be pledging, we talked to Catarina, one of the women getting shit done in question:

How are you finding the campaign so far?

Humbling to see how many people really give a shit and are willing to put their money where their potty mouth is. We feel uber loved down here in CHCH!

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

We’d love to share stories of the past events to showcase what awesome returns and results have come out of women getting shit done. And hopefully more poop-shaped rewards (notice I didn’t say shitty rewards)!

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

Shout out to the awesome men for putting up some cash too! It’s not an us vs. them thing and you get that. We’re all in this together to create a safe space for people who identify as women to create and learn from each other. We promise to make this event as accessible and diverse as possible with your help!

If you’re willing to put your money where your potty mouth is, and don’t mind supporting an event with shit in the name, head on over to WWGSD’s campaign page here.