Our first Community Good Award finalist to be announced for 2021 is Natalie White, Owner and Creative Director of Magic Fingers Graphics.
Nat strives to give back to her community every year and last year was no exception, in fact, Covid pushed her to give even more.
Two of the bigger projects she worked on that provided an epic amount of community good saw a church be able to continue sharing messages throughout lockdown, and helped a humble & modest man biking the length of the country raise money for a good cause.
Raleigh Street Christian Centre, Cambridge
Nat started working on the Raleigh Street Christian Centre website early last year, just before Covid.
At the time, the website had been built for them a few years ago by another designer, and a couple of the staff knew how to update some key parts, but they didn’t know much else.
“I just happened to bring it up at a creative meeting at church one day, we were talking about something and I suggested simply updating it on the website – I got a stunned kind of look, so I thought, ‘Okay, let’s backtrack... let’s sit down and talk about what you can’t do, where do you need help and who is actually doing what’,” Nat said.
Once they got talking, they realised they wanted to change the whole website. The church had over 500 people who attended, and there were a lot of people wanting to access information every week.
“I started working on the website the week before Covid. Then when Covid hit, the church said they needed to take all their services online. I said, ‘who’s going to do this?’ As I’d just moved up North and didn’t even have internet set up at my new place.
“But, we all hit the ground running. I worked alongside a few admin people, one in particular who I had to be on the phone with, because I didn’t have any internet. I took her through training sessions on how to use the website, all from my memory. It was me saying things like, ‘go to the editor, click here, and do this,’ I was basically training her from my memory.
“I’m a bit of a Rocketspark geek if I can do that without an internet connection,” Nat laughed.
Once she got the internet she jumped in as fast as she could and rebuilt the homepage.
“Working with supplied video links, I worked late nights to get them online, some were updates or sermon messages for the church. I managed to stitch all this stuff together and create a functioning website during Covid.”
Nat did all of this free of charge while helping her husband unpack their new house and being a full time mum to their toddler, who was 9 months old at the time.
“I had to pull apart the whole site from what it was and bring it up to date, then I had to let go of some of the design control to empower the office staff to be able to update their own site and let them have the control, so that they didn’t feel that they had to run everything through me.”
She said the admin team were left with a feeling of immense freedom. For so long, they knew they had this website, but they didn’t know they could edit it.
“Once they learnt ‘how’, it was just huge for them. They still update it every week, if not every day. I still help when I’m needed, but it’s not very often,” Nat said.
Cycling for Capernwray Bible School
Peter Bichan, known as PB, cycled the length of New Zealand this summer to raise funds for a new kitchen at Capernwray Bible School.
He aimed to bike it in 30 days, but did it in 25.
PB is the director of Capernwray Bible School, they are an international school and get a lot of students from Canada, the States and a few from Europe.
Unfortunately they had to send all their students home at the end of March last year and haven’t had any since. They’ve also had to make almost all of their staff redundant, and are down to just three staff.
Nat said they have an amazing space, but it’s empty and tired.
“They realised that if they could raise some money they could do some much needed renovations. So, that’s where PB came in and said, ‘well, I love cycling, let’s cycle New Zealand and see if we can raise some money,’ as you do!” Nat said.
PB planned the expedition within a month, and then asked Nat to help. He would only be taking his bike and what he could carry on the handlebars with him. So, Nat knew going digital would be best. She built him a website.
“He updated his GPS map everyday, not only for safety, but as proof he was out there doing it. The amount of page views every week and day is epic, he’s still getting thousands of visits checking in and he finished the bike a few weeks ago [16 February].”
PB would take photos on his phone during the ride and, at the end of the day, he would email them with a little blog. Nat would update the website for him every night. It kept it fresh for those overseas waking up in the morning or the Kiwi’s to read at night.
The final number raised at the end of the ride was $53,641, divide that by 25 days and you’ve got over $2000 a day.
Nat said they’ve also had one massive anonymous donation of $70K (to add to the $53K) and people could still donate. The goal was to match the $70K donation to make it a total of $140K, so they were pretty happy with how close they got.
PB recently emailed Nat saying, “You have been a huge legend Nats. Without you, this would not have happened, we are so thankful for you and your generosity”, and Nat said that made it all worth it.
“I like to give back, I think there is more of a benefit if you can give back to your community without needing a monetary return.
“At the end of the day, those jobs could’ve cost a fortune, but they wouldn’t get ahead and they wouldn’t be able to make the impact that they wanted to, in order to help other people.
“It helps people help people and that’s what I want to be a part of. Every year I make sure I have space and time to help at least one or two people a year and last year I did 6 because of Covid.”
Nat said she was stoked to be a finalist for the Rocketspark Community Good Award.
“It’s good to get some credit, especially in a job that you don’t aim to get credit on and it helps the people you helped more too, by being able to share their stories further,” Nat said.
Check out both sites here:
PB’s journey: https://www.pbs3000.nz/