We’ve had an amazing year – 2013 was a BIG year for Pledge Me – BIG projects, BIG impact, BIG change, BIG events and BIG thanks.

    • In 2013, we hit two significant milestones. In April, we hit the $1 million mark. But in October, we broke our own record and hit the $2 million mark.

    • In total, Pledge Me has raised a combined $2.2 million for 491 project successes.

    • In 2014, our big hairy audacious goal is to raise $5 million, and we’re well on our way to hit the $3 million mark.


    We could never have hit these million dollar milestones without our project creators who work tirelessly crowdfunding to make a difference and impact in Aotearoa New Zealand.

    • Over 300 projects met their funding goal. That’s more projects than the New Zealand Film Commission funds in one year. The NZFC funded 107 projects in 2013.

    • The BIGgest projects of the year came from the South Island.

    • The BIGgest projects of the year made a significant impact in Christchurch.

    1. GONE CURLING – $21,595 Pledged

    Gone Curling, a short film about the last ice curlers in the world struggling to keep the game alive, raised $21,595 earning them the mantle of “BIGgest Project Ever!” back in the middle of 2012.

    2. THE GAPFILLER CREW “Pallet Pavillion” – $82,000 Pledged

    The Curling crew reigned for a year, until the Gapfiller Crew came along and took that mantle of “BIGgest Project Ever” when they raised over $82,000 to keep their Pallet Pavilion open. The 3,000 blue wooden pallets that formed a temporary artists’ venue and cafe on a vacant site stayed standing for another summer.

    3. THE CHRISTCHURCH ART GALLERY “Back The Bull” – $206,210 Pledged

    But within months the Christchurch Art Gallery Trust took us by storm when they raised over double that with $206,210 to buy Chapman’s Homer, a standing bull which became a symbol of the city’s strength as it dealt with the aftermath of the quakes.


    It’s not just the BIG projects that have made an impact, but the “small” projects have made a BIG impact too. The “small” projects championed BIG change – in a variety of spaces, from theatre, environment to perceptions of disabilities. Here’s a few of our favourites:


    Upcoming actor Waka Rowlands was discovered by filmmaker Sam Kelly, who cast him in his short film Lambs. After his performance helped the film win a number of awards at international film festivals including Jury Prize and Audience Award at the 2013 New Zealand International Festival, Sam raised the money needed to send Waka to Miranda Harcourt’s acting school, and the cost of travel from Waka’s home in Wainuiomata to the acting school in Wellington.


    Rachel Callander, a New Zealand based photographer and Mum, sought to create a new language to describe disabilities. Rachel and her husband Sam wanted to make a book of stunning photography showing children from all over New Zealand with a range of chromosomal and genetic conditions. Their work shows the beauty in all children and seeks to change the language from “disabilities” to different abilities or super powers. And it’s the first PledgeMe project that made me cry.


    Our community gardens have made a BIG impact too. The Hawea Food Forest is being developed on 700 square metres on public land in the Hawea Domain where the food produced in the forest will be freely available. And now a similar food forest is being developed on Waiheke Island with the help of Andy Cambeis, who established the Hawea Food Forest and wrote created an open-source How-To manual to help others do the same.

    We cannot fail to mention the Motueka Community Garden, who gave out one of our favourite rewards of 2013, these beautiful bouquets!


    1. FLASH FUNDING MOB – #makesome1syear

    We marshalled a “flash funding mob” to shower a busker, any busker with $1,000 in coins. We never expected to discover a family of buskers who had traveled all the way to Auckland from Hamilton to busk the money to make rent. The old saying “nothing draws a crowd like a crowd” was certainly proven right as the people who stopped out of curiosity (and to watch the family’s beautiful singing) donated a further $500 in coins. The $1500 in coins truly did help us make someone’s year.


    We were stoked to have been selected from over 28 applicants to pitch at Webstock’s Start Up Alley. Webstock is the Woodstock of the tech scene. So, for us, it was like playing alongside Hendrix.  Webstock brings together inspiring techstars from around the world to Wellington to share their insight and wisdom. And we made it to the finals of the start-up competition! We didn’t win, but we did get some invaluable advice from one of the speakers. Kitt Hodsden (@kitt) told us that our point of difference was that we genuinely cared about people – and that we let people fund life projects, instead of focussing on the commercial side. And, we thought she was right.


    When we hit the million dollar mark we decided we needed to celebrate in style. And what better way than with the people that made it all possible, our project creators and pledgers? We organised a moving feast in Wellington across three different venues, and asked our successes to show us what they’d made (Minuit, Puppet Fiction and Bek Coogan to name a few). We met so many wonderful folk, and asked them what PledgeMe had helped them achieve.


    We helped organise the first crowdfunding symposium in the Pacific region. The symposium brought together six crowdfunding platforms from across the Pacific to discuss the upcoming changes to securities laws in New Zealand. From April 1st, companies in New Zealand will be able to crowdfund equity in their companies online – something that previously was illegal. Why’s this such a big thing? It means that you can sell equity in their company to anyone – it’s not restricted to your acquaintances or qualified investors. And, you don’t have to invest tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars to list on the stock exchange – you can do it on a licensed crowdfunding platform and let your crowd decide.


    Festival for the Future never fails to inspire us. This is our second year in attendance, and it always welcomes a wonderful group of social entrepreneurs and change makers in New Zealand to meet and share their stories. We hosted a session with Philanthropy NZ and KPMG on the future of funding, and the different ways entrepreneurs can access it. We also hosted a stall at Social Enterprise Week and met so many of our success stories – 13 in fact! So not only are the social entrepreneurs do good-ers, but they’re crowdfunding good doers…

    BIG Thanks

    We can’t say thank you enough – sort of like the kids in our flash funding mob. There are so many people and organisations that have supported PledgeMe by supporting our awesome creators and their awesome projects. We want to thank you for your willingness to help and to pledge. (Even though sometimes you don’t know the creators behind the projects.) We want to thank you for recognizing the creators who want to make a difference.

    A BIG thank you from all of us here at Pledge Me.


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