Ludwig Wendzich

Using stretch goals to raise funds like Robin Hood

Next to the Register button for the first Gather Workshop for Industry: “Sass: Taking your CSS to the next level” is a bit of text informing you how many tickets we have left until we reach our stretch goal. Our stretch goal being:

Once we’ve sold 15 tickets to this workshop in total, we will have the ability to fund 3 more workshops in our Workshops in Schools programme. This means not only do you get high-quality professional development time for yourself, you also have the chance to help unlock opportunities for high school students.

(Darren Wood’s workshop is worth the sticker price, you should go to it.1)

It seems strange to have a stretch goal on a product when it’s not on Kickstarter. We’re used to it when we pledge for products on Kickstarter. We aren’t used to our professional development workshops having stretch goals. And we’re not at all used to seeing stretch goals where we aren’t directly benefitting from the stretch goal.

Workshops for Industry’s stretch goals are a strange and new thing. That’s why I’m writing about them.

Gather as an organisation is run for-profit. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that anyone who works on Gather initiatives are doing it for the money; we’re too afraid to work out our hourly rate. No-one’s getting rich. As an organisation, we are trying to make money though, because money makes the world go ‘round. No jokes.

There’s a lot of good we want to do for our industry and for the young people of our country, but we can’t do any of them without money. So we’re raising some2: by selling a product that aligns with our values, and making it extremely clear to the consumers of that product that their purchase is helping us fund another initiative.

Workshops for Industry has always been in the Gather plan — in fact, it’s something I’d been mulling over long before I thought about working in schools. “Extremely relevant, high quality workshops run by local presenters”. That was the plan. The stretch goals are why we’ve accelerated the launch of Workshops for Industry. They are a way for us to pay it forward: distribute discretionary income from earning professionals to develop upcoming tech-talent. We’re excited about the opportunities they’re going to allow us to pursue, and we hope you come along for the ride.

  1. I am a director of Gather, the organisation selling this workshop. Some would that makes me biased. I would say, “I wouldn’t pick Darren to host a workshop that I didn’t think was excellent.” 

  2. We’re also trying to raise sponsorship for our Workshops for Schools programme. This is just another way we can raise money independently to continue to test and develop the programme.