Did you know that asking for and returning favors is good for your community? Indeed, research shows that favor exchange is one of the surest ways to build social capital. People enjoy helping each other, and when helping and reciprocating become part of a culture—magic happens. Communities bursting with social capital cooperate better, have more fun, and build capacity to complete projects that improve the lives of the folks who live there.

blue box with quote about raising social capital

That’s what makes community-based crowdfunding platforms like The Local Crowd so powerful. The platform becomes  a venue for digital barn raising, where members of the community can show up for each other over and over again—sometimes asking and sometimes reciprocating. Serendipity Books & Antiques in Evanston, Wyoming gives us one example of how Paying it forward can become a way of life. After their successful crowdfunding campaign, they decided to donate the proceeds of their tip jar each month to a local nonprofit. Doing good does feel good—and like the Chinese proverb tells us, it’s the kind of pleasure that does not wear out.

Larta Institute, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the commercialization of innovations, released their annual report this week. The report profiles the work of six of their portfolio companies including The Local Crowd.

The Local Crowd founders have worked with Larta Institute consultants to develop commercialization plans and strategies as part of their Phase I and Phase II USDA Small Business Innovation Research Grants. “Larta consultants have provided us a step-by-step process that helped to put flesh and bones on our vision. The process moved us forward in our planning, decision making and business development,” said TLC Co-Founder Diane Wolverton.

Larta Report about The Social Entrepreneur featuring The Local Crowd

The Larta Annual Report explained how they selected the featured companies. “We profile companies in our portfolio whose success demonstrates our influence and their impact on society. They run the gamut of real-world solutions, using the tools of science and technology: diagnosing citrus greening, promoting cancer cell death, transforming CO2 into valuable products, retarding the spread of rodents, and empowering rural communities through crowdfunding. They do us proud.”

Wolverton commented, “It’s an honor to be part of this report. It really emphasizes the great work of our partner communities and the need to bring financial resources to rural America.”

See the full report: Larta Institute 2016 Annual Report