An 11-year-old marathon runner, a scooter rider stuck in a cyclone, and a couple who climbed a selfie-famous mountain 38 times are among the year’s most influential Kiwi fundraisers.
The cost of living might be taking some big bites out of household spending but Givealittle’s latest annual report showed people were donating to the platform more than ever before.
Troubled youth and natural disaster victims were some of the beneficiaries as the fundraising platform tackled fallout from floods, cyclones and ongoing social problems.
Overall donations on the platform were up 18.8 per cent in the latest financial year to an all-time record of $43.5 million.
After the Auckland Anniversary Weekend floods, an 11-year-old boy from Muriwai called Josh and his mum Claire ran a marathon over the course of a week and raised $15,896 from 368 donors on Givealittle.
The platform said Josh’s campaign was clear in its purpose, engagement and updates, with Facebook followers kept in the loop.
And the Auckland City Mission Flood Response generated $392,000 of donations in just three days.
The flood inundated swathes of the city, leaving some people homeless, closing businesses, and damaging crops on the city’s outskirts.
But in a bizarre summer, there was more trouble in store. After the flood, Cyclone Gabrielle devastated an even broader area across the North Island.
Brian Burrough was on the Grand Annual Jolly Good Chaps 50cc scooter challenge from Napier to Wellington. The journey, chronicled on Givealittle, raised funds for charitable causes.
“Brian’s original plan to participate was disrupted by Cyclone Gabrielle, which flooded his home, but also his trusty scooter,” Givealittle said.
“However, undeterred, he rose above the adversity, thanks to friends and contacts who provided him with a beautiful red Vespa.”
Burrough had aimed to raise $3000 but surpassed that, raising $5135 and donating to flood relief and to I am Hope, which Mike King founded to improve youth mental health.
“Overall, Kiwis coped and helped with the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle, the worst storm in New Zealand’s history, by raising $8.3 million for disaster relief and recovery efforts,” the annual report added.
Mount Maunganui/Mauao is famed for selfies and sea views but also hosted one of this year’s most impressive fundraising feats.
Jared and Krista Dixon and their baby embarked on the Mount Everest Challenge, in which people attempted to walk, run, or crawl up the lava dome 38 times in 50 days.
Their challenge raised money for Live for More, which aims to empower young people to find freedom from troubled pasts and be inspired to live positive and fulfilling lives.
Climbing the 232-metre-high Bay of Plenty landmark so many times, the Dixons aimed for 100 people to contribute $38 each.
“They engaged their village of friends and family to support their meaningful cause, and surpassed their fundraising goal,” Givealittle said in its annual Generosity Report.
“This wee family set an excellent example for how regular Kiwis can make a difference in their community through outdoor challenges and charitable giving.”
Across the platform, donations were up about $7 million year-on-year.
Individual beneficiaries received about 60 per cent of donations, and charities about 25 per cent.
Business and group fundraising activities increased 200 per cent.
“Givealittle is a neutral platform run by a small but mighty team that believes deeply in the power of crowdfunding and community support,” Givealittle general manager Mel Steel said.
The I am Hope foundation had the highest volume of Givealittle users creating pages of support.
“I Am Hope’s supporters consistently have fun, creative, and successful campaigns to support this charity, and the charity actively encourages them by giving them a steady stream of kudos via social media,” the annual report added.
Gumboot Friday, a free counselling service for anyone in New Zealand aged 25 and under, is among I Am Hope’s initiatives.
Over the past decade, Gumboot Friday has engaged with more than 300,000 children, created books, and enabled free counselling for more than 10,000 young people.
The annual report said more than 3500 charities were registered on Givealittle.
Schools raised $349,000 on Givealittle for educational purposes including literacy programmes, learning equipment, and outdoor learning areas.
And overall, more than 499,000 total donations were recorded.
John Weekes is online business editor. He has covered courts, politics, crime and consumer affairs. He rejoined the Herald in 2020, previously working at Stuff and News Regional, Australia.