Sometimes an opportunity comes along that nudges its way up your todo list and makes you stand up and take action – today I got nudged.
A few months ago some volunteers approached me about launching a New Zealand version of GetUp! – for those of you who don’t know about GetUp I’d recommend you take the time to read through their site – they have had a pretty big impact in Australia. I found their disclosure page particularly useful in understanding what makes the organisation tick. The core idea is a member funded organisation independent of any political party that runs a continuous series of citizen lead campaigns.
There are a few interesting things about GetUp, the first is that they are not alone – notably organisations like AVAAZ, MoveOn and 38 degrees have very similar models, and more importantly have been winning campaigns.
The second interesting thing is that they quickly become member sustained which means with a bit of initial capital and energy to get going they can grow to stand on their own feet.
The third is that there is an eco-system forming of people and tools that are connecting and supporting these organisations. So new ones forming don’t have to reinvent the wheel as there is a wealth of experience and software on hand to help them get up and running.
Back in 2009 I did a fair amount of research into GetUp and launching a New Zealand version was actually the other project I was considering instead of doing Enspiral. So when the volunteers approached me and shared their plans I was pretty receptive and keen to help out. I was cautious however as this isn’t a new idea and I’ve heard lots of people talk about this (including me) and not actually follow through.
However I have been pleasantly surprised by this group of volunteers. So far they have
- recruited a stunning mentor in Ben Brandzel (an early employee at MoveOn who now devotes his time to supporting and growing these types of organisations around the world)
- engaged a team of over a dozen volunteers to put energy into making this happen
- convinced the standup.org.nz domain owners (who had a similar vision) to gift the domain and support this team
- produced a comprehensive strategy document outlining the vision for the organisation
- begun laying the foundation for a formal relationship with GetUp
- made solid progress on a brand and website
- begun work on an animation explaining the concept
- started building relationships with other organisations interested in specific issues.
So things have been moving forward at a decent pace but one thing was missing from the picture, the right person to lead the emerging organisation.
Today they found the ideal person, and I mean ideal – I literally couldn’t imagine a better person to turn this opportunity into a success. But one thing is standing in the way, funding. The candidate has several other opportunities on the table and would be prepared to take a risk on launching a new organisation but the team needs to secure the initial money. With just 20k they could secure a runway for a few months which would get the first few campaigns launched and keep the momentum going.
So today when they came to me saying we need to raise 20k by next friday to secure our dream executive director I felt like it was my turn to stand up and help them do that, so here is the pitch
This is a model which has been proven around the world to be a scalable and sustainable way to protect our environment, increase fairness and engage citizens in building a stronger country for everyone. I believe this team has what it takes to go all the way and setup New Zealand’s equivalent of GetUp!
We just need to pass the hat around and raise
20k 17k by next Friday and they are all set to take the next steps. 17 more people giving 1k each and we are over the line, so if you are interested in helping out or know someone who would be then I’d love to have a chat – email@example.com or 021 684 495.