Crowdfunding: Community in Action

As I write this, Discovery is very close to receiving the $30,000 it needs by the end of August to keep its doors open. Of course, this amount isn’t the total amount needed, but supplements funds from other sources. The community’s support has been astounding!

How much ‘breathing time’ does this money buy Discovery? Well, with the incredible support from the community, local business and local government, we had nearly enough to ensure we can stay open for the next twelve months. Our crowdfunding campaign was to raise the extra $30,000 that we needed to get us over the line, but we know it’s only a short term funding solution. During this next year, our new Board will secure long-term partnerships and further develop our business plan so we can ensure we have a sustainable operation to continue beyond the next twelve months – hopefully for another twenty years! This is already in process and the Board are presenting our revised business plan to Bendigo City Council very soon.

Why crowdfunding, though? Personally, I love the personal nature of a crowdfunding campaign. Whether you’re a campaign creator, a supporter or just someone who’s interested, you can go to the webpage and see exactly where the campaign’s at; that’s a real-time transparency which I like. Yes, crowdfunding is a little like putting one’s hat out on the digital footpath and collecting contributions from passers-by, but rewards (also called perks) which supporters can choose for certain levels of donation mean people have the option of receiving something in return for their giving.

Really, though, the success of Discovery’s campaign will be a firm testament to the support that Discovery enjoys from Bendigo residents and beyond. People from thousands of kilometres away have made contributions to help keep Discovery going. Isn’t that wonderful?

I thought I’d leave you with this image by Minh Uong of the New York Times:

Crowdfunding image

This picture says it all: the community has reached out and given Discovery a helping hand during this difficult time. Discovery can now return the favour by continuing to providing intriguing, inspiring science experiences into the future. Huzzah!

Crowdfunding: Community in Action

Hopes and fears

Being involved in crowdfunding certainly is an adventure! You have enormous hope that you will achieve the outcome you dream of; and where there’s hope, there’s fear.

We dared to dream big for this, the last week of the #saveDiscovery campaign. Since those big, green digits were behaving themselves and ticking over nicely, we set ourselves a stretch target, hoping to raise a further $6,000 by the end of July.

“Why do this?” you may ask. (“Why put yourself through it?” is something my family has been asking me!)

Well, we needed $30,000 from the community by the end of July to keep Discovery open – but this additional $6,000 will fund a new minibeast zone, featuring critters like this one:

Minibeasts

Raising the funds for this now demonstrates that Discovery is planning on more than simply surviving. We’re planning on thriving into the future, and funding the minibeast zone is just one concrete way we can demonstrate our commitment to that future now.

Of course, we can’t get complacent. We still need to raise all of the $30,000 required by the end of the month. However, I think we also have a very real chance of raising the additional money.

What does this mean for those who love Discovery and want to see it flourish? During these last days of the campaign, please pledge if you haven’t already done so. Please spread the word about Discovery through your networks: the people you work, rest and play with. Ask them to pass the word on. Share this link with them, or if they’re not digitally inclined, remind them that Discovery is open, and can accept contributions.

Perhaps you can get a head start on your Christmas shopping. There are gifts for people who live near Bendigo. Purchase a membership! Get tickets to the ‘Science of Chocolate‘ event! Snaffle a private Vertical Slide Session!

There are also options for people who live further away. Snap up one of Doctor Karl’s signed books! Get an “I heart Discovery” badge, or some rocket balloons!

Phew! Now I feel hopeful again 🙂 I trust you do, too.


This is the last week of the campaign blog. If you have a story about Discovery you’d like to share, contact manager@discovery.asn.au as soon as possible. 

 

Hopes and fears

Exciting news: stretch target!

Thanks to the support of people like you, dear reader, the #saveDiscovery crowdfunding campaign has been doing well! As I type this post, we’ve passed the $26,000 mark, out of the $30,000 we needed to help Discovery survive: Save Discovery $26k mark Being tantalisingly close to attaining our “what we need to survive” goal, we’ve taken a bold step: we’re introducing a “stretch target”. Yes, that’s right: we’re daring to dream that Discovery may not only survive the next twelve months, but may also continue to grow! Brave Audacious Stupid

We think that, with the continued support of yourself and people like you, we should be able to reach our original $30,000 goal. What we are now hoping is that we can also raise a further $6,000 to create a new invertebrate enclosure at Discovery. The minibeast zone will provide long-time Discovery resident the Giant Ant with some friends! The fancy new invertebrate enclosure will contain a few sticky friends to live with the Giant Ant, as well as some preserved specimens and magnifying glasses so you can get really up close and personal with some creepy crawlies. Add to that our meat ant farm we built last year PLUS a new indoor-grass floor covering, and you’ve got a whole minibeast zone to explore!

But wait theres moreBecause we’re asking for more, we’re offering more. Famous science communicator Dr Karl has kindly contributed eight signed books to the #saveDiscovery campaign, and these are now available as part of our crowdfunding efforts:

Dr Karl Rewards

So (you may be asking) what can I do? Well, first of all, we need to be sure to reach our original, essential target of $30,000; so if you’ve been meaning to contribute, but haven’t yet done so, today is the day to turn those intentions into actions – or even indulge yourself with an extra reward from the fantastic selection on offer! Now that we’re on the home stretch, entering the last week of this campaign, it’s more important than ever to spread the word to friends, family and random strangers about what Discovery is going to achieve and the wonderful perks people can choose from.

We’ve got this far because of the generosity and support of people like yourself. Thank you! But remember – our campaign ends next Friday 31 July. During this last week, it’s important to gather as much support as we can, from far and wide. 

Thanks again for your continued support. We couldn’t have come this far without you!

Exciting news: stretch target!

Have you checked out our new rewards?

We launched the #saveDiscovery campaign with a wonderful swag of rewards: family and individual memberships to Discovery, liquid nitrogen birthday parties and private vertical slide sessions, to name a few. But did you know that other rewards have been added since the campaign began?

Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival Membership ($95)

This year-long membership includes free entry to Festival showcase events, discounted entry into other Blues and Roots events, and an awesome merchandise pack. For more info on the Blues and Roots Festival click here. Only one of these passes remains, so if you’re interested, snap it up!

Bendigo BR Fest

The Science of Chocolate ($60)

You can claim a ticket to the “Science of Chocolate” evening on Friday 13 November for just $60. The ticket price includes delicious canapes on arrival, delectable chocolate tastings, a chocolate workshop facilitated by scientist and chocolatier Chloe Miller, your own chocolate centrepiece to take home, as well as time to explore Discovery! Drinks are available at bar prices on this adults-only event.

Chocolate

Family Day Out in Bendigo ($190)

Enjoy a whole day in Bendigo! Start your day exploring the Discovery Centre then go on the Mine Experience, tour where you’ll descend 61m underground to experience Bendigo’s golden history. You also get to enjoy a tram ride and tram depot tour! This family pass is for up to two adults and up to four children. Four family passes remain.

Central Deborah


If you’re interested in any of these rewards, or if you simply want to support the Save Discovery crowdfunding campaign, please click here.

Perhaps you’ve already pledged financial support and want to help in other ways? Click here for some suggestions.

If you would like to offer a new reward to support Discovery’s crowdfunding efforts to remain open, please contact manager@discovery.asn.au.

Finally, if you have a story about Discovery that you’d like to share on this blog, please contact manager@discovery.asn.au – we’d love to hear from you!

Have you checked out our new rewards?

Guest Post: Punching above your weight

Today’s guest post was written by David Holmes.


I started as the Manager at Discovery at the start of 2013. Prior to getting the job here at Discovery, I had worked in a variety of education roles at Museum Victoria, Melbourne Aquarium, and Melbourne Zoo. The Discovery Centre is tiny in comparison to those organisations, but one thing was immediately clear to me: it sure knows how to punch above its weight. Those involved with Discovery over the years can rightfully be proud of what has been achieved with a very modest budget and minimal staff.

One of the earliest glimpses I had of Discovery’s ability to do a lot with a little came from a conversation I had with one of our workshop staff, Jim McGregor. I had recently seen a travelling science exhibition called ‘Playing With Light’ created by the Scitech science centre in Perth, where my favourite exhibit had been a wall of photoluminescent material that allowed you to ‘freeze’ your shadow when a light opposite flashed. I was delighted to learn that the Discovery Centre had just the same exhibit- ‘Frozen Shadows’, and that it had been built in-house. I asked Jim about it, and he proudly told me that he knew for a fact that the Scitech exhibit would have cost somewhere in the region of $15,000 to build, but that using a combination of donated and secondhand materials, he had built our exhibit for only $400. Sure, our exhibit doesn’t have the same polish as Scitech’s, but the effect is the same, and visitors absolutely love it.

That’s not to say that everything at Discovery is about making do with modest budgets. Another area in which we punch above our weight has been our success with grant money. Thanks to shrewd grant applications, Discovery boasts a professional Planetarium dome, bathroom and kitchen facilities to accommodate school sleepovers, a newly-renovated Lab Workshop, and energy efficient lighting, air conditioning and passive cooling treatments for the building. The list goes on. These all came about with investment from government and philanthropic funds: $1.5 million in successful grant funding over the last 10 years: not bad for a little science centre in Bendigo, eh? It would be a shame to see this investment go to waste.

Finally, if you want bang for your buck then consider the reach that Discovery’s programs have: we only employ the equivalent of 5 full time positions, but we get visits from 10,000 students a year from schools across Victoria (and beyond). We have close to 20,000 public visitors a year on top of this. We develop and deliver Planetarium shows, Science Shows, Lab Workshops, Holiday Programs, Teacher Professional Development, Birthday Parties, Sleepovers and special events. All of this happens through the hard work and dedication of a handful of very passionate staff and volunteers.

If you like the sound of an organisation punching above its weight, then please get behind our crowdfunding campaign, and chip in a donation of whatever size you’d like. Not only do we need the funds right now to keep operating in the short term, but a big contribution from the community would send a very loud message that we value the Discovery Centre, and that it deserves some long-term funding security.


If you would like to contribute a post to this blog, please contact manager@discovery.asn.au

Family holding saveDiscovery sign

Guest Post: Punching above your weight

That flash of elation

I’ve written about the worry and heartache associated with crowdfunding; but until now, flashes of elation have only been mentioned in passing. No more, my friends!

Look at the big, green digits on this screenshot taken just now:

Flash of Elation

That’s right, folks, our campaign has passed its halfway mark! Kick up those heels and join me in a happy dance of celebration!

Yes, yes, I know “halfway” isn’t the same as “we’re there!” but still, it is a remarkable achievement, especially since we managed it in less than half the time we have to raise the full amount.

So let’s take a moment to congratulate each other, to say “Well done!” and feel that flash of elation.

We can use this pitstop to energize ourselves for the next two and a half weeks. You see, to keep Discovery open, we need to raise at least $14.5k before the end of July. It’s enough to bring us back to earth, isn’t it?

However, I think the odds are stacked in our favour:

  • I just know there are plenty of people out there who care passionately about Discovery but haven’t pledged money yet. We can ask ourselves: what can I do to persuade them to contribute?
  • We have some wonderful rewards on offer, suitable for people who live in Bendigo and people who live elsewhere. For example, there is just one ticket to the Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival left – I wonder who’ll snap that up? Or tickets to the amazing Science of Chocolate evening!
  • As a reader of this blog, I want to tell you something special: there are new rewards coming soon! Keep your eye on our campaign page. Who knows? You might be the first person to grab something unique!

If you’re looking for other ways to help us #saveDiscovery, click here for ideas. Otherwise, let’s enjoy this flash of elation together, and keep moving forward!

That flash of elation

Those big, green digits

I’ve been staring at these big, green digits for the past 24 hours, willing them to click over $15k (the halfway mark), and they’ve stubbornly refused to do so.

Oh, you don’t know which big, green digits I’m referring to? These ones:

Save Discovery big green digits

Yes, I mean those figures in the top right hand corner of the screenshot, that say how much money has been pledged to the campaign so far. They’re on my computer screen. They’re in my dreams. They dance before my eyes. They’re everywhere!

Remember how I mentioned the emotions involved in crowdfunding? Upon reflection, I neglected one very important emotional emotional state: heartache.

I don’t know anyone who’s started a crowdfunding campaign who hasn’t truly, deeply cared about the outcome. I’ve met people who’ve crowdfunded films, alcoholic drinks, non-alcoholic drinks, clothes, social enterprises, events, small business expansion, charitable works, sanitary pads, stationery, and even fashion shows. (For people with intellectual disability, from outback Australia.) What I saw in each of these project creators was a willingness not only to put time and effort into their campaigns, but also to put their heart on the line.

I guess this is how I feel about the #saveDiscovery campaign. I really care about whether Discovery stays open or not! – and I know the $30,000 we’re raising is necessary for that to occur.

I know I’m not the only person who cares passionately about whether Discovery continues to operate or not. If you care, too, there are many things you can do; and one of the most important of those things is to contribute to our campaign.

OK, enough spruiking already! It’s time to get on with my day job. But I’ll just take one more peek at those big, green digits … oh. No movement since last time.

Remind me: why we do this to ourselves? To Save Discovery, of course!

[Editor’s note: If we do get over the $15k mark in the next little while, it will be a huge achievement; we’re only 11 days into a month-long campaign, so to achieve 50% of the target this early would be remarkable!]

Those big, green digits