Our Top Five Serial Campaigners

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

1. OMG Tech! workshops

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!