Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News
It’s official! The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock, a community-based crowdfunding program serving the entire Monadnock region, is one of four pilot sites across the U.S. participating in a National Science Foundation research project. The project will assess the effectiveness of our crowdfunding program as a tool for community building and economic development. Crowdfunding is the process in which an entrepreneur, business or organization asks a large number of people (usually through the Internet) to contribute small amounts of money to support a new business or project.
"The National Science Foundation supports startups and small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts," said Graciela Narcho, Acting Director of Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. "We hope that seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology."
What makes this year’s TLC Monadnock program different from past years? This year, we’re focusing on social enterprises, mission-driven for-profits and non-profits using business principles to make the world a better place. Examples of social enterprises include benefit corporations, cooperatives and other triple-bottom line businesses like W.S. Badger in Gilsum and Green Energy Options in Keene. We’ll continue to build on the power of Internet crowdfunding and provide even more on-the-ground support to our campaign teams. We invite existing and emerging social enterprises to learn more and apply to our program before May 10, 2019.
Specifically, we’re looking for social enterprises interested in raising $15,000 or less for their business (larger amounts can work but please reach out to us first before you apply). Projects need to have simple, achievable goals that will generate real excitement in our community. Proposals can be part of a bigger project but should also have stand-alone value. Most importantly, potential campaign teams need to demonstrate how their project will deliver economic benefits to both their business and the community they serve. We’ll give preference to projects that align with their respective city or town’s master plan and strengthen our Local Living Economy.
Once accepted, social enterprises will receive a free assessment to identify their strengths and weaknesses, helping us match training, marketing and community outreach tools to each campaign team’s unique needs. Unlike other crowdfunding platforms, you’re not on your own when you launch a crowdfunding campaign with TLC Monadnock. You will have a community of business advisors, marketing experts, and experienced crowdfunding coaches supporting you.
While there are no upfront costs, TLC Monadnock charges a 5% fee that is applied to all contributions. This fee is used to pay expenses associated with hosting, administering and promoting TLC Monadnock and for providing direct assistance to campaign creators. Think of this as a “Pay It Forward” fund instead of a fee.
To view our Request for Proposals, please visit tlcmonadnock.com/rfp or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-283-5401.
TLC Monadnock is a community-based crowdfunding platform that empowers individuals to support the businesses, organizations and initiatives that grow wealthier and healthier communities in our region. Crowdfunding, or the practice of raising funds to support a project from a large number of people, is a viable alternative to recruiting businesses from outside the region to boost economic activity. Over the past two years, TLC Monadnock raised over $90,000 for fourteen crowdfunding campaigns. TLC Monadnock gives preference to campaigns that align with their respective city or town's master plan and contribute to a local, green and fair economy.
TLC Monadnock is currently hosted by Monadnock Food Co-op and supported by the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation.
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431