Spotlight on live crowdfunding with Abbie and Ruth Knight

Did you know that fewer Australians are making traditional tax-deductible donations? In fact, 60,000 fewer Australians according to the latest research. With an ageing population, this begs the question of where the donors of the future will come from to support our 54,000 registered charities.

With younger generations wanting a greater level of engagement with the causes they support, more interactive models of fundraising are emerging. One such example is live crowdfunding, with The Funding Network leading the way in this space.

The best way to understand how live crowdfunding works is to watch this short video (1:30), but essentially it involves three small or start-up organisations pitching for six minutes each to a crowd of about 200 people, answering audience questions, then leaving the room while the crowd starts pledging their donations.

While watching a Compass episode covering one of these events entitled, ‘Pitch Up – Brisbane’ (available on iView until 10 December 2018) I was heartened to see a young girl in the crowd that night, pledging a donation to one of the initiatives. I felt inspired and just had to find out first of all, how a primary school student ended up there, but especially, what makes her tick.

I reached out to her through The Funding Network and had the pleasure of speaking over Skype to 11 year old Abbie (pictured) and her Mum, Ruth (who is a lecturer at the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies) about the event and how Ruth is encouraging her daughter to find the joy in giving to others in need.

Ruth thought it would be a great experience for Abbie to come along with her to the event. “I wanted her to see people giving away money – how philanthropists do it. I also wanted her to hear the pitching – how the charities are communicating and making a difference with what they’re doing, so that’s why we went together.”

Ruth said that two key aspects that led to the success of the event were getting the right people in the room who are willing to give and having an engaging and energetic MC.

Abbie recalls with a big smile on her face the atmosphere at the event as being really exciting and fun. “I was happy that there were so many people wanting to support the good charities.” Ruth added that it was a real tear-jerking moment when the pitchers came back into the room and saw how much was raised for their organisations.

While many kids Abbie’s age might be saving up their pocket money for the latest gadget or fashion item, Abbie believes, “It would be much better and helpful if I could use it to help someone else, or something else, rather than just making me spoilt.”

Poverty is a cause that is close to Abbie’s heart, because, “…there are a lot of people who don’t have that much money – they don’t have good medicine and water and food. Also some people live in countries where there is war and they could easily die.”

“I also sponsor a child, she’s in Tanzania and her name is Lillian. We help her through money so her family can have a better life, she can go to school and maybe get a job. Maybe one day I might get to visit her.”

It seems that Ruth comes from quite the humanitarian family, with an Uncle who built an orphanage in Uganda and her Mum who fosters refugee children in the UK. Sure enough, Abbie’s ambition is to become a famous philanthropist! I’m delighted to offer her another spot in the limelight and it is so wonderful to see that Abbie is keen to continue this charitable mindset through another generation of Knights.

When I asked Abbie what she would say to friends to encourage them to help others through philanthropy, she said succinctly, “I would say, there are some people less fortunate than you so let’s be generous and share what we have so everyone can enjoy their life.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

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