Could you describe your organisation and the work you perform?
PledgeMe. is New Zealand’s only combined equity, lending and project crowdfunding platform, and one of only a few in the world.
Crowdfunding is as simple as it sounds – it’s when you go out to your crowd for funding.
You set a clear goal of how much money you need to raise, a deadline in which you need to raise it by, and offer something to your crowd in return – be it rewards, shares, or loan notes.
We started in 2012, as a way to help musicians and artists fund their projects.
Since then PledgeMe. has grown into the way Kiwis – from companies to community groups – go out to their crowds so they can fund the things they care about.
We’ve had over 1,000 successful campaigns, and over $15 million pledged through the platform.
What are the core values of your organisation?
Our mission is to help Kiwis fund the things they care about. Our core values are:
- Support transparency and trust
- Do good and do well
- He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
- Be seriously funding humans
- Be constantly evolving
We self-identify as a social enterprise, and measure our impact in relation to the number of campaigns funded and diversity of those that are funded.
How would you describe the profile of your (prospective) audience and customer?
Our campaigners are a diverse bunch, but all have plans that they need funding to complete, be it for a project or a company.
The thing that unites them all is a passion for their plan. Their project or company is no longer just an idea, they have already started the process.
The ones that do really well have done quite a lot on their plan, have a crowd that loves them, and are able to communicate both what they need and what their crowd will get in return.
How do you currently engage your (prospective) audience and customer?
When we started out, we hired some artists and musicians as brand ambassadors to help us establish our first network of campaigners.
Now the main way we engage new campaigners is through word of mouth recommendations – people who have completed successful fundraising telling others about our platform.
We also use social media and the blog on our website as other channels to reach new audiences and update our current audience on what we are working on.
We’re also constantly speaking at events, creating content, and helping campaigners get ready to crowdfund.
How do you bring together parties and help them find their match?
We help them activate their own networks.
We believe crowdfunding is all about strengthening existing relationships first, and then hopefully building some new ones as well.
We talk a lot about the First Fifty. The idea is to get fifty people from the campaigner’s family, friend and professional network to back their plan. Securing these first investors really helps give legitimacy to the project, and it becomes easier for the network to grow.
Depending on the project, we might recommend a launch event, or setting up a newsletter or a rewards programme to communicate with and grow this network.
In some cases the media picks up on the campaign and it gets further momentum.
Could you describe the value shared and received beyond the dollars?
The most important part of crowdfunding is your crowd, because they can give you so much more than money.
We’ve had pledgers come in and complete work for campaign creators, send them the things that they needed, through to on-going sharing and support of the campaign.
One woman wrote a manual on how to teach yoga in prisons, and then started getting sent yoga mats to help with her cause.
Another woman not only raised over $200,000 in investment, but had a chemist come in and help her double the batching of her product when she got stuck.
Here’s our video on crowdlending, our latest addition.
*Disclosure: Giddy Up’s founder believes in engaging one’s crowd and so supports PledgeMe as a Shareholder.