Carrying the world on our shoulders (image courtesy of
Carrying the world on our shoulders (image courtesy of

Ever had a great idea for a project, but lacked the finance to get it off the ground? You might want to check out Kickstarter, a website founded earlier this year to help small-scale projects get funding. I’m trying it out for the first time – to cover the basic costs of our walk from Big Ben to Brussels. Details of our mission follow, but first I wanted to give you my first impressions of Kickstarter.

Points to note, including some insider info from a friend who advised the creators of Kickstarter:

1. It’s all or nothing. If you don’t get to 100% of your target, you get nothing. Nada. Not a bean. And all the pledges are cancelled. So it’s better to set a slightly conservative target rather than aim too high and end up with zilch.

2. If a project gets to 40% of its target, chances are good (about 90%) that it will go on to achieve 100%. So I wrote to a few people who had previously been generous to ask them individually if they would help me achieve this critical threshold – which we have now done. It remains to be seen if we get all the way to 100%.

3. It’s not designed for charitable giving. Donors expect the rewards on offer to be commensurate with the amount pledged. So obviously, if this is going to make sense financially, it takes a bit of creative thinking to figure out rewards that will be exciting for the recipient, while not costing so much that they cancel out the value of the pledge. I found some great examples on a project to create a cartoon book called “Poorcraft”:
$1 Access to exclusive blog about the creation of the book
$5 Complete PDF of the book
$10 Signed copy of the book
$30 3 more copies of the book
$50 Thank you in the acknowledgements
$100 Page of original art
$250 Cameo in book
$500 Cameo on cover of the book
Most of these cost little or nothing to the creators of the book, but are thoughtful and special ways to acknowledge their supporters.

Overall, it seems like a great concept. I’m excited (and rather nail-bitingly nervous!) to see if it works out well for our project. Speaking of which, here it is:

The Mission:
To send a message to the COP15 conference expressing public desire for action on climate change

This summer British ocean rower Roz Savage rowed solo 2,600 miles across the Pacific from Hawaii to Kiribati, where she saw the human face of climate change. Kiribati, a scattering of small coral atolls, will be uninhabitable within the next 50 years as climate change causes rises in sea level and increasingly frequent major weather events. Click here to watch a video about Kiribati and climate change.

Big Ben to Brussels:
Roz Savage is now taking a message to the climate change conference in Copenhagen, in her role as United Nations “Climate Hero”. With a small group of friends she will set out on Nov 20 to walk 200 miles from Big Ben to Brussels, where she will join the United Nations Climate Express train for the remainder of the journey to Copenhagen.

Earth Balls:
During the walk they will gather signatures on inflatable “Earth” balls, to be delivered to the conference as a petition calling on the delegates to take decisive action on climate change so that more countries and regions do not suffer the same fate as Kiribati.

Documentary Film – The Long Walk to Copenhagen:
The walk will also be the subject of a documentary film, “The Long Walk to Copenhagen”, focusing on the walkers and the people they meet en route to show how humankind is reacting to the biggest challenge of all time.

Global Initiative – Pull Together:
The global online community will be encouraged to show solidarity with the walkers by joining Roz’s environmental mission, called Pull Together. This initiative aims to inspire people to take action on CO2 levels by walking more and driving less. Calling upon her supporters around the world to Pull Together, Roz will challenge them to match the 10,000 oar strokes she does each day on the ocean by walking 10,000 steps a day.

Online Participation:
Using photos, videos, blogs and several social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, her mission is to connect and engage people of all ages around the world, and demonstrate that every action, no matter how small it may seem, does indeed matter.

If we all pull together, we CAN save the world!

If you want to find out more, including a little video of me talking about the project and details of the rewards on offer, then check it out here. I’d also be grateful if you would pass on this link to your network of friends and family.

Only 15 days left, and over $2,000 still to raise. Please help us reach our target!

I’d also be interested if you have any suggestions of things that you might like to see as rewards for future projects. Exclusive access to a special blog? Exclusive video updates? E-books? Let me know!

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  • Here’s what I posted to my Facebook page with a link to Roz’s Kickstarter project:

    Do you feel like your karma needs a boost? Kickstarter is an awesome way to do it, and do a good deed for the day. C’mon. A ten-spot. It’s way better than spending it on lottery scratch-offs. Of course, I want you to choose my pet cause (Roz! Roz!), but you might find another endeavor that really speaks to you, and that’s cool, too. Take your first step into meaningful philanthropy.

  • Hi Roz,
    I just donated to your B to B adventure and had a question. I don’t know how much control you have over the rewards but is there any way I could get the autographed copy of your book with “To Ron” written in it? He’s a big walker doing his part,, to help the environment and a big follower of you. I’m giving the copy to him for Christmas.
    Thanks, KennyB

  • Sure, KennyB, I’m sure we can sort that out! Not quite sure how, but I’ll find a way – might just take me a bit longer to get around to sorting out the logistics. No point even looking at it until I know whether we make our target, as if we don’t get to $5k then the whole deal is off – no money for me and no rewards. But hopefully a) we’ll reach our target, and b) I can find a way to get me and book in same place sooner rather than later. Worst case scenario will be once I get back from Copenhagen…

  • Well, the post is really the best on this noteworthy topic. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the wonderful lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Good work and much success in your business endeavors!

  • Interesting read. There is currently quite a lot of information around this subject around and about on the net and some are most defintely better than others. You have caught the detail here just right which makes for a refreshing change – thanks.

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