Tiffany has been a JustMeans Staff Writer since 2010. As an Ethical Consumption Writer, she reviewed eco-labels, products, and lifestyles. As a Sustainable Development Writer, she reviews global systems, international development, and system weaknesses. Tiffany has a background in sustainability, strategic planning, and education. Some people change when they see the light, others when they feel...
Social Enterprise Investment Made Easy: ProFounder
How do you get investor buy-in for your social enterprise organization before its gotten off the ground? ProFounder, similar to the Kickstarter method, allots 30 days for crowd-sourced funding. They build out a fundraising website for you and help promote your work on their website to increase the amount of exposure and possible investors. ProFounder's focus steers away from the Creatives and focuses more on pure business tactics and revenue generation. Investors from this platform aren't just investing to get your idea funded, they are actual investors in your organization for the long haul.
For entrepreneurs this moves beyond start-up funding toward long-term business accountability and connections. The sign-up process is streamlined, and you have the opportunity to set your own investment terms for your enterprise. So you can choose to share X% of your revenues over Z years plus any non-monetary benefits you deem appropriate. This also safeguards enterprises during unprofitable years as well, since the investors are taking the risk with the entrepreneur.
ProFounder charges $100 once your fundraising website is up and running and offers post-fundraising assistance for $1,000. They basically come on board as part of your team to finalize funding collections and record keeping. Similar to Kickstarter, if all of the requested funds are not raised, you don't get a dime. Yet with their program you can republish and adjust the amount you are seeking to fundraise. Entrepreneurs must be based in the US and have a for-profit business model. There is also a per-state limit of the number of investors, so ProFounder recommends setting minimum donations at $100 or higher so you don't burn out of your local community with small donations.
The uprise in funding for social enterprises and small businesses is being seen globally. These types of programs take a more business-minded approach than the original microfinance structure. Their methodologies are helping businesses grow on smaller-scales by leveraging the internet's global community. Small business makes up the vast majority of businesses in the United States, and some economists point to these localized economies as sources of stability during global economic fluctuations.
Get Your Great Idea Funded is a series highlighting Foundations, Institutions, and Think Tanks that fund social entrepreneurship to connect the idea-person with funding sources.