Singer-songwriter and environmentalist, Natalie Fee, talks about Laysan Albatross, marine plastic pollution and crowdfunding.
For the month of June I ran a crowdfunding campaign to raise £5000 for the production of a song and music video to raise awareness about marine plastic pollution.
There were huge ups and downs; keeping the momentum going for a month, the perils of an ‘all or nothing’ platform, the uncertainty, the joys of incoming pledges!
However, what I hadn’t anticipated were the conversations, dreams and relationships that would unfold throughout the campaign. It’s as if the world I live in has gone from being land-based to encompassing the ocean; both life in and on the sea has opened up to me in response to me campaigning for its health.
You see, I’m a total landlubber; I get seasick on barges, am a terrible swimmer and am afraid of being on the water. Or at least I was. But it wasn’t the sea that first spoke to me. It was the decline of the Laysan Albatross on the Midway Islands, portrayed so powerfully by Chris Jordan that moved me. I had to do something.
Some months later, during a meditation, I realised a recent song I’d written would fit perfectly over a music video about marine plastic pollution. And so I set about looking at ways to fund it. Initially I tried approaching companies, one at a time, asking if they’d sponsor it. But £5000 was a lot for one company to risk on a girl with good intentions but no proven track record in smash hit singles!
Through one of my many calls to multinational companies, I struck up a rapport with a head of sustainability. We shared many of the same values and passions and whilst he couldn’t support me through the company, he encouraged me to try crowdfunding.
Admittedly I didn’t like the idea of asking my friends and family for money. Times are hard, and we’ve all got our favourite charities and projects to support. So I let it go, feeling like I’d given it a good shot and just wasn’t able to do it.
Some months later, I saw World Oceans Day was approaching and with it, a gnawing sense of failure. I wanted this to happen! I didn’t want to give up! So I got in touch with Crowdfunder and spent the next two weeks getting ready to launch the campaign.
Seas Initiative: the crowdfunder
The month of the campaign was a rollercoaster but I had the support of a great friend and project manager, Ali Rowe, who kept reminding me to keep the faith, to wipe the frown from my forehead and keep plugging away! And I had the online support of Bristol Pound, as I was the first Crowdfunder campaign to accept my city’s local currency via their Txt2Pay system!
The middle two weeks were the hardest, pledges dropped off almost altogether and I had regular freak outs, melt downs and wobbles. Then it all kicked back in and I got the buy-in of an amazing array of Bristol businesses; one after the other came on board and before I knew it, I’d reached the target with a few days left to overfund.
In total, Seas Initiative raised around £2000 in personal pledges, and £4500 in business pledges, smashing the £5000 target!
The support I received means that I can now go forth and produce the song, music video, website and outreach programme to help switch hundreds of thousands of people on to restoring and protecting our oceans from plastic pollution. Which makes me very happy indeed.
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Images courtesy of www.nataliefee.com