The five week, all-or-nothing On London crowdfunding campaign drew to a successful close at 8.22 this morning, with a total of £25,401 pledged by a rather magnificent 434 people. The last four or five days were as exciting as they were anxious as they were exhausting as the sprint finish required to reach the £25,000 target materialised. I crossed the line with a glorious leap at around 5:00 pm yesterday afternoon.
I would like to thank absolutely everyone who contributed to this mad but hugely rewarding exercise by donating money, appearing in Max Curwen-Bingley‘s excellent promotional film, writing articles for the site, encouraging friends and colleagues to chip in, plugging the campaign through social media channels, giving me good advice or, in many cases, doing several of the above.
The money is going to make a big, big difference to the future of On London. It really could not have run for too much longer on love and my savings alone. Now I can take stock, invest wisely in the ways set out on the Crowfunder site, and make plans for the longer term.
But the rewards of the campaign have not been only about securing funds. The kind and encouraging comments people have made, whether on the campaign site or on Facebook or Twitter, will be treasured for a long time to come. If you’ll forgive a passing sulk, there have been times in the past few years when I have felt that the more I’ve learned about the capital city and the better-informed my writing about it has become, the less my efforts have been appreciated, at least by some. So the warmth and encouragement expressed by so many On London readers since the campaign began on 1 February has been extremely heartening.
I have also been delighted by the sheer variety of Londoners (and others) who have contributed. Pledges have been received from architects, academics, business people, trade unionists, communications specialists, think tankers, transport, planning and housing experts, community campaigners, Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Party politicians, top fellow journalists, eminent novelists and schoolteachers (and even a former one who had to put up with having me in her classroom many years ago).
Those people represent a vast spread of politics, priorities, principles and opinions about how best to make London a better place. There will be much they disagree about. Nonetheless, they are all important to the city’s present and its future as it and the United Kingdom go through uncertain, turbulent and sometimes troubling times. It is pleasing that they all think On London valuable. I hope the site can now further establish itself as a place where fair reporting and constructive debate about the city takes place.
There have also been donations from young Londoners I’ve given tiny bits of help to in the past and whom I’m sure have very little to spare. A couple of lovely older individuals pledged no less than three times, prompting me to make contact and persuade them that I didn’t deserve any more of their cash. There has been so much generosity and goodwill. More than once I’ve shed a tear.
I would like to thank Crowdfunder and its support team for hosting the campaign in a helpful and professional way. People who pledged to the fund will continue hearing from me through Crowdfunder channels in the coming weeks and months as the pieces of my plan for the evolution of On London come together. I will also keep them informed about providing the rewards they may have claimed, linked to different levels of pledge. There are still dates and details to be nailed down for some of those, not to mention a lot of wrapping up and queueing at the Post Office in store. Rest assured, the missing bits are falling into place.
Thanks again to everyone who has helped make the crowdfunding campaign such a success. I’d better do a bit of journalism now.