Nathalie Whitaker – Founder, Givealittle

“Givealittle is the Web inpoint of a bit of a journey that I took starting when I was about 21 – wanting to get engaged with charities. Around the same time I was probably just starting to organise my life on things like Facebook and was finding it quite difficult to get information about causes and organisations that I might be able to volunteer for or raise funds for. So we got together with a group of friends here in Wellington and put together a charity to effectively raise funds for causes that we liked using event formats and campaigns that we thought appealed to a younger demographic, a demographic that I was identifying as being missed by the charity sector in New Zealand. Fast-forward a few painful events not making a hell of a lot of money for those charities and I started to think, “Jeepers, there must be an easier way to scale this effort” and naturally started to look at what was happening online in terms of fundraising for great causes and organising events. What I found was that a whole lot had been happening in the States and in the UK around peer-to-peer fundraising and events such as participating in a marathon and getting your friends to sponsor you for the humiliation. Also this idea of breaking what was burgeoning, and still is, in terms of the charitable brand, cutting beneath that and understanding the causes and the elements that underlie those brands and the more meaningful connections that people can make with smaller chunks of a cause. So I started to spend some time really understanding what a Web platform could look like for New Zealand that basically took a whole range of trends that were hitting in the US and the UK and bringing them all into one space specific for our market.

When we first talked about what we were going to do and how we were going to plug into this idea that the Web could be a channel for giving and for generosity, there was a little bit of cynicism around, “If it’s for the younger generation, they’re not that generous in our experience”. What we were finding with the charitable events that we were running, like the speed-dating events or the garden bar bingo, that was quite blatantly targeted at that demographic, it was really a case of just being missed in the comms. They weren’t getting information at that time that actually spoke to them. So we were having people come up to us saying, “That’s amazing, here’s $50” and we thought, “maybe we are generous in this bracket”. In terms of what’s required online, in the same way that the Web changes what a brand does traditionally offline or the relationship or loyalty you might have to a brand, it’s much more a conversation. So organisations and causes that are able to engage in a conversation about what they do and why it’s important and what their relationship with a donor may actually result in, is really key. Video is playing a massive part in that, the ultimate connection and the ability to visualise the impact that you might have or visualise the issue in the first place, is really critical. Some of the greatest success we are seeing today is where there is a real investment – not just telling the story in that classic sense – but actually painting a picture.”


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