The ugly, the bad and the good of lower income consumer lending

Robert Choy is a lender-for-good. He runs Ngā Tangata Microfinance (Ngā Tangata), providing small, fair interest-free loans to those on lower incomes, helping them break the shackles of loan sharks and payday lenders or purchase productive assets. We’ve got a common hero – Muhammad Yunus – and he also shares a common hero with my mam – Clint Eastwood! Robert shares his experience with us.

Ngā Tangata Microfinance’s Robert Choy

 

Clint Eastwood’s classic 60’s movie portrays a bounty hunter, a mercenary and a bandit, depicted in the film’s now famous title “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. Could the enduring name of this epic Spaghetti Western resemble the credit environment we experience in Aotearoa today?

Visiting New Zealand recently, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, considered the father of social business and microcredit, has said that “credit is a human right that should be treated as such” and “if we are looking for one single action which will enable the poor to overcome their poverty, I would focus on credit”.

Whether we agree with Professor Yunus or not, we’d surely promote a safe and fair credit environment within a responsible and educated society as crucial. Shameful to say, the current consumer lending environment in Aotearoa can best be described as ugly if you are on a low income, with limited financial choices before you, should you need to avail your rights to affordable credit.

Regardless of income level, crises or emergencies inevitably occur: the car will break down and we can’t get to work, the fridge will stop working, or children become ill and need to see a doctor. Once financial reserves and the generosity of family and friends are exhausted, and without access to mainstream credit sources, such situations force those on low incomes to take the only other available option: easy-access, high cost loan sharks, payday lenders or mobile traders.

Third tier finance companies provide loans with interest rates ranging from 20-40%, but the default interest rate can be up to 10% above that, with numerous extra penalty charges also added. Payday lenders provide only short term lending ideally, but at an outrageous cost, often charging at least 1.2% per day (or 438% annually). While truck vendors or mobile traders often charge no interest on purchases, their prices are inflated up to three times the norm, and administration and fees will ensure they reap more than 100% profit on every transaction. Unlike many parts of the world, in New Zealand there is no legal limit on interest rates or on the total cost of credit. Both these protections are critical to address the ugly environment of predatory lending facing our poorest citizens.

The resultant poverty trap is that of unmanageable debt, which is especially bad and tragic in its consequences for those on low incomes. High interest debt compounded by excessive charges rapidly becomes unmanageable, with unsustainable repayments causing stress amongst family members, limiting funds needed to purchase food and other essentials, and diminishing any remaining assets the family may have. It also negatively affects the wellbeing of the wider community, darkens the public perception of debt and contradicts the norms of social justice that we in New Zealand hold dear.

However, amongst the bad and ugly, there is good news! Ethical lenders such as ourselves at Ngā Tangata (with capital from Kiwibank and in partnership with local budgeting services to support clients with financial capability) are redressing the villainy of debt, creating an enabling tool to lift people out of poverty. Paying off their high interest debt and replacing it with a loan to NTM can at times release $20, $50, $70 or even more back into the family budget each week, providing money for essential food or necessities previously forsaken.  A fundamental aspect of our kaupapa is to facilitate clients successfully paying off their loans and being supported in the long term towards financial independence.

More good to report is that the Commerce Commission is taking increasing legal action against predatory lenders since the amendments to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act and the introduction of the Responsible Lending Code in 2015. In 2016 the Commission obtained fines against six mobile truck traders in excess of $500,000 and recently an online loan company was recently required to refund  $1.4 million in unreasonable fees to borrowers.

Our current lack of consumer protection against the ugliness of usury, predatory lending and the unmanageable debt it spawns, undermines the economy, and creates financial stress and hardship. Clearly these are bad outcomes for those already on a low income. While organisations like Ngā Tangata and other responsible lenders are endeavouring to make a difference, surely the greatest good in the interests of all, would be a financial system that is sound, ethical and socially responsible.

Access to credit – a fundamental human right. Powerful.

What's Up Wednesday

Help Renee Finish Her Book!

Renee has spent the last year travelling the length of New Zealand, talking to 110 kiwis aged between 100-110. She’s interviewed centenarians from every region, and now she wants to take those interviews and turn them into a book! Her hope is that she can preserve our New Zealand history through these stories.

But in order to write up the book, she needs your help! She’s got some great rewards on offer, so we had a chat to her about why she wants you to get on board:

Why is this campaign important?

It is massively important because without this funding I won’t be able to finish writing up the oral history/interviews of 110 people living in New Zealand that are over 100.

My goal is to preserve our New Zealand history through sharing stories and memories of our centenarians. I want all New Zealanders to value the elderly and to read and appreciate their stories and contribution to our New Zealand society; but most importantly to not be forgotten or invisible in our communities but honoured and celebrated.

There is a real sense of urgency to complete the book and get it published as fast as I can. I have sadly had four centenarians die since I interviewed them earlier on in the year. Recording our New Zealand history through the eyes of people who can remember the end of WWI, were part of WWII, survived the great depression and numerous natural and national disasters and have seen so much change in New Zealand is invaluable.

This year I have  driven 7,720km and flown 5,000km = 12,050m (The same distance from New Zealand to Brazil or Russia), travelled for 93 days, (13 weeks and 2 days) away from my home town of Nelson, visited 63 rest- homes/retirement villages, visited 25 people in their own homes, and interviewed 21 veterans from WWII.

Now I need support/finance to write up the interviews and put the book together.

This will involve dictating hours and hours and hours of interviews. Reading through memoirs, diaries, documents and military records, editing photographs and working on design and layout for the book.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

This year as I have travelled all around New Zealand I have met some amazing people along with my 110 interviews of people over 100. Whether its been the person I have sat next to on the plane, the nursing staff, children, grandchildren or neighbours -people are very intrigued in who I am interviewing and the stories that I have heard.

Many are surprised at how young I am and amazed that I am working on this book independently with my camera bag, video, tri-pod and iPhone to record the interviews.

Families and the centenarians really look forward to me coming for the interview. Often the men wear a tie. I had one lady wear a dress and high heels! Family gather around and I begin asking questions and hear stories about their lives growing up in New Zealand. People kept thanking me and become emotional at the idea of me recording their father or mother’s oral history that will be kept and treasured in a book. I thought it was worth reaching out to the crowd of people connected to the centenarians, including the RSA, Age Concern, the bowling and bridge clubs, etc.

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

Yes, lots!

Last Friday The Project featured a follow up story about the book I am working on and promote my PledgeMe page. The story is about 2 brothers reuniting after 35 years! They both thought that each brother was dead. Until Ben was spotted on The Project as a part of my interview in April. The full interview about Ben (101 in a few days) and Joe was on The Project last Friday!

I also have other New Zealand businesses that will be sending more products as rewards for me to load up next week.

Anything you’d like to shout out to your crowd?

A massive thank you to the people who have pledged, shared the link and told their friends about my PledgeMe page.

I have been blown away with the generosity of New Zealand businesses that have donated puffer jackets, coffee, chocolate, peanut butter and liquorice as rewards for my page.

Even Winston Peters has got behind the PledgeMe page.

He sent me this message today:

“ I am very impressed with the initiative you have shown in commencing such an endeavour and appreciate there must be a large amount of work required in collating all that you have obtained so far ”. – Rt Hon Winston Peters, MP for Northland

To support Renee’s novel and help tell the stories of our centenarians, check our her project right here.

What's Up Wednesday

Darren Watson’s First Ever Acoustic LP Project

Wellington blues artist Darren Watson is a twotime successful campaigner, and one of our favourite alumni. Now he’s back, and this time he’s looking to raise funds for his first-ever acoustic LP. He’s almost halfway there but he still needs your help to get over the line – so we had a chat to him about why you should be supporting the album.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

I’m really excited to be making my sixth album and the campaign is a huge part of making it happen. It’s amazing to have direct contact and support from the people who REALLY enjoy the music I make. With Pledge Me I feel like I am almost making friends with these folks!

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

Well, hahaha I’m a poor musician so frankly the albums probably wouldn’t happen these days without crowdfunding through Pledge Me. Once upon a time we had record companies to front the funding to get these things off the ground but more and more musicians are going straight to the audience. I think it’s fantastic.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

I can’t say too much or it might ruin the surprises. But rest assured there will be a few nice things happening.

Anything you’d like to shout out to your crowd?

Just a whole lot of thanks for all the pledging and sharing you guys are doing! It’s frigging amazing! I’m sure you’re all going to dig this record. I’m in a really good space, playing and singing-wise and the writing is flowing too.

Saffron of Afghanistan

Meet the spice that could spark a social enterprise.

In recent years, saffron has been introduced as a healthy alternative to opium in Afghanistan, and its processing has created jobs for women in the country. Afghanistan-born Tariq Habibyar wants to capitalise on this, and create a factory that will process saffron and sell it, fair trade – thus providing jobs for local women and the disadvantaged in Afghanistan. But to get there, he needs your help – and so we had a chat to him about why you should be pledging.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

  • This is an opportunity to seed fund a project that commits to expand, pay forward, and make an impact in the lives of many who deserve to live better lives.
  • Personally, this project is close to my heart and seeing this successful will give me a sense of satisfaction and I hope it will do the same to my customers as it is intended to do so.
  • It will introduce a positive image of Afghanistan to every home of my new home New Zealand.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

I love the ‘give and receive’ relationship with fellow human beings. I try to undertake any project that connects me to people for a social cause and adds value. The fact that a friend, colleague, or an individual I don’t know invest their time, energy, and money to communicate with me through this, means a world to me. It makes me happy to see we care about each other and about good causes.

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign?

I will try to complete the ‘booklet’ for recipes as soon as I can to share with my crowd.

Anything you’d like to shout out to your crowd?

Thanks a lot for your contribution to this project. I’d be grateful if you shared this link with your friends and families.

To support Tariq’s project, check out his campaign page now.

Help us crowdsource a list of social enterprises in NZ

We’re making a list. We’re checking it more than twice (on an ongoing and a controlled-by the-crowd basis in fact). The impact we’re aiming for? Visibility for all of the kiwi social enterprises improving New Zealand and the world. And you can add to it here: pldg.me/thesocentlist

Why?

When the Social Enterprise World Forum comes to Christchurch in September, it’ll mark a major milestone for the social enterprise movement here in New Zealand. We think it’s awesome for the industry, but it’s got us thinking. Relying on a big one off global event like that to create massive (but temporary) exposure for Kiwi-grown organisations who care isn’t enough. We need to do more. Social enterprise is about many small steps from many people to collectively solve our big challenges. It’s not just about one-off events, but about every day actions.

Spreading the impact of social enterprises in New Zealand begins with visibility. Those of us that want a better future for New Zealand have the power to support others that dream of a better future – our social entrepreneurs. If we know about the socially-driven alternatives, we can choose to support them. What’s the most important way we can support? By buying their products and using their services. And then, by sharing their stories.

This isn’t the first time that someone has tried to gather a list, and we know it won’t be the last. Past efforts have fallen flat because arguments crop up over what a social enterprise is or because the sole owner of the list runs out of steam. So for the greater good of getting shit done, we’re crowdsourcing a list from folk that know best – people in the space. And, we’re doing it through Google Spreadsheets so anyone can add, edit, and improve the list. We’re also casting the net wide in terms of definition:

any organisation with a focus on positive social or environmental impact, that has a revenue stream that aims to sustain their work.

They might already see themselves as a social enterprise, or they might not. Here’s some of the social enterprises that we know and love:

  • Thought-Wired are a technology company that aims to give a voice to the voiceless. Dmitry and his team have developed nousTM – software that enables people with severe disabilities to communicate by using their brainpower!

  • Make Give Live bring together communities through local knitting groups to create beanies and connect through that shared effort. For every beanie that Make Give Live sells, they give a beanie to a homeless or elderly person in need of warmth.

  • Pomegranate Kitchen are a not-for-profit who provide group catering and individual lunch delivery in Wellington. They provide work, training and a sense of belonging to all of their cooks who come from refugee backgrounds.

  • Ethique prevent plastic packaging from going to landfill and polluting our environment, by making solid beauty bars made from biodegradable ingredients wrapped in compostable packaging.

We believe social enterprise isn’t about succeeding at the expense of others. There’s a spirit of collaboration and collective movement. It’s not about a few powerful controllers or poster children. It’s about shared success. If we solve the problems we see, we all win. So, please help us crowdsource a list of all of the social enterprises in Aotearoa, so that we all can be a part of a better, more socially and environmentally focussed, future.

Check out the list here. Add the names of the social enterprises you want to shine a light on and have a glance through at those that you can start actively supporting. And shoulder tap people in the know for more names or ideas. Kia ora!

The motivations are many

Andrew Schwartz is a law professor from Colorado who’s travelled across the Pacific to research the evolution of equity crowdfunding in New Zealand, and take home some learnings to help progress equity crowdfunding back in the US. We’ve had some great conversations over the last six months.

Equity crowdfunding originated in my homeland, the United States, with the introduction of the JOBS Act in 2013. But, New Zealand quickly jumped out in front, launching its market two years ahead of the US (not to mention three years ahead of Australia). For this reason, I took a leave from my ‘day job’ as a law professor at the University of Colorado and spent six months at the University of Auckland as a Fulbright Scholar so that I could study your mature equity crowdfunding market. One issue I have analysed is the extent to which equity crowdfunding is used by social enterprises – meaning those who seek to achieve non-financial goals as well as an economic return.

A few years ago, I published an article in which I claimed that crowdfunding investors are at least partially motivated by non-financial factors, including political expression, environmental protection and community-building. For instance, supporters of organic farming could invest in an organic farm, or local residents could invest in a café whose presence would enhance their community. Whether these investments pay off financially is not necessarily essential; the point of the investment, at least in part, is to support a cause or a company that one believes in.

At that time, equity crowdfunding in the United States had not yet begun, so my article was purely theoretical. Once I came to New Zealand, however, I was able to test my hypothesis and examine whether this actually happens in practice. If pledgers really care about things other than financial returns, I would expect that a large percentage of successful crowdfunding campaigns are for social enterprises. And this is exactly what I have found.

Based on the data I collected, it appears that social enterprises have taken advantage of the new opportunity presented by equity crowdfunding, and that crowdfunding investors have an affinity for these sorts of businesses. According to my data, approximately one-third of New Zealand equity crowdfunding campaigns, and one-third of successful campaigns, pertain to social enterprises. One example is Ooooby, a technology company whose mission is to put small-scale sustainable farming at the heart of our food system, which raised nearly $300,000 from over 150 investors through their equity campaign. And this one-third does not even include ‘local’ companies without a specific social mission, including ParrotDog Brewery, a craft brewer that can fairly be described as a ‘hometown hero’ in Wellington, which raised $2 million from more than 800 investors in their equity campaign.

These are extraordinary findings, and they were confirmed by interviews I conducted with entrepreneurs, platform operators, lawyers, academics, government officials and others involved in equity crowdfunding. Numerous interviewees agreed that crowdfunding investors have multiple motivations when they invest in a company—and the desire to generate a financial return is just one of them. They agreed that equity crowdfunding investors select whom to support based on social views, emotional motivations, altruism, and to support their community, as well as to hopefully make some money.

In short, the facts on the ground here in New Zealand are consistent with my hypothesis that crowdfunding investors really do have a variety of reasons for participating in this new form of equity market. An important takeaway from these findings is that those who seek to support social and local enterprises should encourage participation in equity crowdfunding.

Have you thought about what motivates you?

What's Up Wednesday

Winter Ales Festival 2017!

When Jane and Jay heard that the annual Winter Ales Festival wasn’t going ahead, they were crestfallen. But rather than sitting round feeling sorry about it, the two beer fans put their heads together, and came up with a solution: they approached the not-for-profit Craft Beer Capital, and with their support, they’re now turning to the craft beer community to help put on the festival.

By pledging on the campaign you’ll receive a ticket to attend the festival, and there are a whole lot of other exciting package options available too. To find out more about why you should be fizzing for this festival, we got in touch with Jane and Jay:

Why do you think this campaign is important?

For us, this campaign is important as it gives the community a chance to take part in bringing the 2017 festival together. Having the pledge target is really key as it lets people see how much it really costs to put this sort of thing on. We could have gone through a traditional ticketing website, this however made us feel like others got an opportunity to be part of on of Wellington’s best beer events. We also made options for people to buy festival merchandise for those who are not able to make it on the day but are keen to show their support for this.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

We were motivated to reach out to our crowd as to have a great beer festival you need a few things, beer, volunteers, glasses and people to attend. This years Winter Ales Festival event organisation had a different outcome, as SOBA handed it over to two keen beer enthusiasts. So we had to go down a different avenue for funding… Keeping the beer community involved, being able to reach out to all beer lovers but also keep supporting local made Pledge me and excellent choice. For us it’s not just about buying a ticket, it’s about working together to keep this awesome festival an annual event.

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

We are just about to release what this years merch looks like, we have a local Wellington artist who worked on some incredible images for the event! We are really happy with them and are pretty excited for how they are looking on the range of t-shirts, long sleeve tees and jerseys!

Anything you’d like to shout out to your crowd?

We are totally stoked with the support we have had so far! We have definitely taken this on as a challenge and the support, excitement and encouragement makes it all the more motivating. As mentioned in the campaign blurb, we are donating any money made from the festival once we have paid all our bills to Kaibosh food rescue.

To hop on board and grab your ticket for the Winter Ales Festival, head over and pledge here.

What's Up Wednesday

Gecko Press

One good book can kickstart any child into a life of reading, and Gecko Press wants to create a world where every child loves to read. And the way they plan to do this? A curiously good book club!

Their vision is a digital and real life community, where people can come together to share their favourite books, plan activities and events, and pass on creative tips and tricks to encourage kids to love to read.

But it’s going to cost them at least $50,000 to get it off the ground. They’re investing some of the money, but they need outside help for the rest. In exchange for your pledges, they’re offering everything from an invite to the launch party, to a year’s supply of books delivered to your door! We chatted to Faustine about why you should be getting on board.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

I worry that reading is a disappearing art, in the midst of all the distractions we have in our lives. We think reading needs to be more visible and active, to compete. At Gecko Press we want to activate a bit, as a publisher, and to get loud about reading, and to help parents and aunts and grandfathers and librarians and booksellers and all the people who want to encourage children to love to read. We want to create a strong and active community that are all wanting to find the next book for a child, to keep the momentum of reading.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

Gecko Press has always been a little out on a limb, and through the years Gecko Press has had a lot of support from many different people – and it really does make a difference. And if we are to build a bigger community, then the people who know and support us must be the best place to start.

We estimate it will cost at least $50,000 to get the club off the ground. We are investing $15,000 for the next phase, but setting up the digital side of the club is too expensive for us to do on our own. And $35,000 is a lot of money to be raising!

Most of this money will go to the digital side of the club, making chat and recommendations and good blog content, and asking experts to add material that helps us find the right book for the right child. We want to offer reading incentives such as tiny reading journals and badges that say: Im a curiously good reader.

It is all about the ecosystem for me. We want our booksellers to thrive, and to support libraries and schools, and we want children to rate reading high on their list of favourite things to do. That’s why we think it’s important to reach our crowd. We want people to help us make the Curiously Good Book Club great!

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

We’ll have some contests with great rewards (check our social media pages…)! We’ll also add new and very unique pledges… so keep looking!

Anything you want to say to your crowd?

We are acting strongly and with commitment to encourage New Zealand children to become lifelong readers. We understand that for books to thrive we need a healthy ecosystem of readers, writers, teachers, illustrators, librarians and booksellers. We think this ecosystem must be wider than a single publisher or individual books. HOpefully the end result will be better than we can imagine!

“Sometimes all it takes is one good book, or the right book for the right child at the right time. It doesn’t matter what that book is or where you find it – but it does matter that children love to read.” Julia Marshall, Gecko Press Publisher

To pledge now and help a child embark on a lifetime of reading, check out the Gecko Press campaign right here.

International Inspiration & Home Truths: Coffee

Our series “International Inspiration and Home Truths” shares some of the crowdlending stories we’ve heard from far and wide, brings that inspiration back to Aotearoa, and hears from the enthusiasts who’ve helped us to imagine what crowdlending could look like for a range of Kiwi organisations. This week we’re waking up and smelling the coffee (roasteries and cafes)!

(Disclaimer: I don’t drink coffee because I’m allergic to caffeine. Or so my mam told me when I was eight. It’s only recently that I realised that it could well be a masterminded social experiment that she created to test my obedience. So as I always listen to Mammy I must admit that, as I write this blog, I am not powered by any beautiful blended beans.)

Coffee is more than a commodity. It has become a craft. An art-form to appreciate, to indulge in and to share with others. Coffee brings people together. Heck, workers in sectors like tech would fall over if it wasn’t for their daily dose of black gold.

Can communities of conscious-coffee-consumers play an important role, by supporting their favourite roasteries and local cafes beyond just drinking the good stuff that they’re creating? They can indeed… by funding the growth of the brands and the communities of which they’re a part.

For coffee creators and cafes countrywide, crowdlending can be an opportunity to not just fund new ideas and expansion plans, but to rally the community and give them that sense of ownership over their space and encourage loyalty through that deeper sense of belonging. And the financial reward that comes from their loan stays within their community.

What’s happened around the globe?

Three very different campaigns, from three different companies, raising money for three different things through crowdlending.

First up, The Art of Coffee in Dublin borrowed €7,200 to buy a top-of-the-range sandwich machine for their newly opened third cafe. Along the way they discovered a crowd of new customers who filled the cafe in the months that followed.

Then there was Seattle’s organic cafe and bakery Chaco Canyon, who last year raised $45,000USD to soothe the growing pains of operating three locations with 80 staff and speed up their environmental sustainability drive. Co-owner Chris Maykut showed his gratitude to their crowd, “Chaco has always existed to support the community, and in turn you have supported us with incredible enthusiasm and generosity through the years.”

Grind & Co Espresso Bars are a funky bunch (they’ve got a cafe-cum-recording studio in the heart of London!). In 2015 they offered an 8%, 4-year loan to their crowd and raised £1.3million. With the money they raised they opened a fifth store and brought their bean roasting in-house.

What could happen closer to home?

Imagine, a local cafe bringing in their own mini-roaster so that the coffee they create is made from the freshest of beans. Imagine the collective voice of their crowd of lenders helping to expand their local favourite cafe and pull in more of the community to share the quality experience.

Imagine, a truly sustainable Kiwi roastery growing their impact on the whole of their fair chain by borrowing from their crowd. Imagine the interest earned on their loan not just rewarding their community of lenders, but part of the reward benefiting their bean growers too.

Have you got the sweet aroma of coffee crowdlending in your nostrils? Let’s chat!

Takeaways from our Crowdlending 101 webinar

This week we achieved a new first: we hosted our first webinar! Anna and myself teamed up to share some of our crowdlending insight – what it is, how it works, the inspiration we’ve gotten from overseas and at home, and how to take the first steps towards launching your crowdlending campaign.

powered by crowdcastHere were some of the big takeaways from the session:

  • Anna can’t pronounce my surname. It’s Greh-hin.
  • Webinar’s are quiet. You’re speaking into an echo chamber. You have to imagine the rapturous applause and the thunderous laughter after every delightful joke and quip!
  • A crowdlending campaign works just the same way as a regular project crowdfunding campaign – you set your $ goal, you set your campaign deadline and you’re aiming to reach your goal by your deadline by collecting pledges from your crowd. The big difference is the reward that you’re offering – paying back your pledgers with interest
  • You have a big say over what your loan looks like. You choose the interest rate you want to offer, the min and max loan that you want to raise, how long the loan will last, how often you’ll pay it back and whether or not you secure your loan with assets. It’s really about giving a voice to the people that matter – your organisation and your crowd
  • Having a partner in crime is helpful. It takes away some of the lone-screen loneliness
  • Our two successful campaigns so far, Eat My Lunch and Denheath Desserts, were both successful partly because they let their campaigns speak to their values. For Eat My Lunch it was replicating their Buy one, Give one impact model for their loan, by offering both a financial reward (interest) and a social reward (more hungry kids fed each month) to their lenders. For Denheath Desserts, it was sharing their story of local pride and seeing almost 40% of their lenders come from the local area.
  • I, em, say “em” a lot. Something to practice, or un-practice.
  • The stories from overseas that have caught our ears have been wide ranging. From a local surf school in rural Ireland raising €10,000 to refurbish their school, to Mexican grub chain, Chilango offering their crowd burritos as interest and raising £2million to open three new London stores.
  • The first questions to answer before diving into preparing for a crowdlending campaign are:            1) is our organisation ready to borrow; and
             2) is our crowd excited to support us?
    Taking our CRED assessment will help you understand if you’re in a good financial position to borrow from your crowd. Drawing up your list of the first 50 people who you believe would support you by pledging, sharing or both and listening to their perspective is the best way to begin to build confidence in your crowd.
  • Try not to fall off the screen when you’re in the middle of answering a question
  • Give enough time for participants to type their questions.. Fill the gaps between asking them to ask, and them asking. I was told to do this by a friend before going live…and then promptly forgot.
  • When you are repaying your loan, we look after the flow of money from you to each of your lenders.
  • For organisations who’ve informally borrowed from their crowd before, PledgeMe.Lend can be a good way to involve that closer crowd but also get you working to spread the story to a wider audience and empower your closer crowd to help with that story-spreading.
  • Most of your pledgers will be either people you know and people who know you.
  • Watching it back at 3x speed is well worth a watch

We’re going to be running more webinars over the coming weeks to help spread our knowledge and crowdfunding insight to any curious campaigner