One day left. Be a part of it.
There’s a note on my mirror at home that I wrote three years ago. It reads:
- Take risks
- Trust more
- Be inspired
As we near the end of our four-week Crowdfunder, I’m struck by how appropriate those three instructions are.
The risk was significant. We made a big announcement and jumped off the diving board, not knowing where we’d land. If people didn’t give, not only would it look rather embarrassing, not only would be struggle to make the start-up start up, but we’d also have been given quite a strong message about the future viability of the whole project.
Taking such a great risk meant we had to take a similar amount of trust. And it was to you that we turned and, within minutes of announcing our plans, the donations began trickling in.
At first, you recognise a few names. There are old friends and people from the arts sector, kindly uncles, former colleagues and regular theatre goers. Then the net gets wider, the donators are unfamiliar and you start to wonder what draws people to give.
And this is the inspiring bit. Because what you’ve created, that leap of faith, isn’t your own. There are hundreds – literally – of people all doing the same thing. They’re putting their money into something that they also believe in, something they also want to happen. Nothing is there at the moment, just a bunch of bricks. It takes the power of the imagination to see what it might be, a collaborative willing into existence.
On Tuesday night, I had a conversation with the owner of the Ganges (a phenomenal Indian restaurant on Fore Street, if you haven’t already tried it). We were talking about power and powerlessness. Too often, it seems, we are unable to affect the change we want to see. I told him I believed we could, that the power of our actions is seen in the way we impact on one another, like ripples caused by dropping a pebble in a pond. He seemed distinctly unconvinced. Then my curry arrived.
But by lunchtime on Friday, we’d passed our Crowdfunding target. And it seemed to me that here was the perfect example of relative power, of small actions having a greater and long-lasting impact. Since we hit our target, I’ve been congratulated by many people, through social media and e-mail but, more surprisingly, face to face – in the Co-op, the Hourglass, at traffic lights. It’s as though the act of asking has created a community of people all wanting something positive to happen and being empowered to help realise it. As Seth Honnor from Kaleider (another inspiration) often says “what can we do together that we can’t do apart”?
So the unexpected result of the last four weeks is that it’s no longer about the small team at the Bike Shed. It’s not about the Council or the vested interests of some sectoral superpower in Whitehall. It’s about us – those who have given, those who will and those who will take part.
We’ve been talking a lot about stakeholders these last 18 months and our focus has been on the bigger ones, those with pockets deep enough to fund a six million pound capital project.
But give me three hundred smaller stakeholders any day over three or four large ones, however powerful those bigger ones seem or are (and let’s not forget it was Arts Council England whose pledge to double the crowd took us to our target). The future, though, is in the power of the little guys, working together. At least, that’s what I think.
Thank you for showing this.
There’s still time to be part of the crowd. If you’d like to make a donation to support the Boat Shed this Summer, click here: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/boat-shed-pop-up.