I attended the Business Alliance of Local Living Economies (BALLE) Leadership Summit last month and was inspired by people who are doing important work for communities, economies, each other and the environment.

During the event’s Idea Lab, I had exactly 60 seconds to share what TLC is doing, and our current call for new communities to join us. We’re looking for up to ten rural communities to become Demonstration Sites for The Local Crowd’s localized crowdfunding platform. These communities will have the opportunity to test drive their own crowdfunding platform for a year. Applicants can be economic or community development groups such as Main Street programs, SBDCs, Economic Development Councils, Chambers of Commerce, or other groups interested in bringing a new capital tool to their communities.

We held a pre-submission webinar a few weeks ago and here’s a link to the recording and powerpoint slides. Check out the Request for Proposals. Help us spread the word by sharing this! Deadline for your application is February 1. Thank you and Happy New Year to you!

woman shaking her hips during a crowdfunding presentation

The Local Crowd offers a new twist on crowdfunding…and I’m having way too much fun with my new Giffer App. See the full 60-Second BALLE presentation below.

Musician, artist and author Amanda Palmer wrote the book on asking, and she credits much of her knowhow to the experiences she had as a “living statue” and as a successful crowdfunder.

Asking is a core skill required for crowdfunding, yet it does not come easy. Asking makes us feel vulnerable—we worry about what people will think (I’m needy, greedy, inept or just a pest) and we fear the rejection of being told “no.” So how do we get past this? Amanda offers a key insight—the act of asking creates a connection between you and the people you ask—and when they feel connected, they want to help you.

woman performing as a bronze statue in the street to collect money

I saw this unfold last week when I was in New Orleans for the CDFA National Summit. A bronze maiden stood motionless on the sidewalk as two women stopped in front of her to snap a selfie. Before they could walk away, the statue made her ask by moving her right forefinger slightly up and down, pointing toward the money box at her feet. The women observed, felt the connection, and happily stuffed some cash into her box.

Amanda Palmer’s TED talk describes how her connections with her fans made her campaign the biggest music crowdfunding campaign at the time.

“Thank you so much, you are very kind!”

Those simple words boosted my spirits and made me glad that I took the time to drop a dollar into the Bourbon Street trumpeter’s bucket. The lift he gave me reminded me of just how transformative gratitude can be. For example, I enjoy cooking up my CSA bounty and sharing containers of goodies with friends—especially one friend who receives them with extraordinary relish and delight. She sends me lots of “yum!” texts and photos of her place settings. Her gratitude lights a fire in me to step up my game—more recipes, more varieties, more giving!

Community-based crowdfunding creates opportunties for gratitude exchanges when people contribute funds, products, efforts, and outreach to a crowdfunding campaign. Exuberant appreciation from the campaign creators and community teams awakens the desire for more giving and it helps to build a culture rich in trust and social capital. These characteristics make up the strongest communities, ones that are better able to weather hardships, dream about and achieve big goals, and have more fun while doing it!

Check out this fun 90-second video with lots of stats about how gratitude is really good for you!

One of the best things about rural living is our close proximity to the source of local foods and the adventure of being part of a Community Supported Agriculture program. Kim and I have been part of the Grant Farms CSA for several years now, and every Friday we love opening the big green box to discover the week’s bountiful harvest.

woman holding vegetables and unpacking them from bin
Each vegetable we unpack sparks creative thoughts of recipes and processes for turning Mother Nature’s delights into food for ourselves, our families and friends. But it hasn’t always been this way. My first introduction to a Kohlrabi was frightening — I had no idea what this purple spaceship-like bulb was — let alone how to prepare it and, gulp, eat it. But over the past five years I have persevered — tackling each new vegetable as it appeared and establishing new processes to avoid waste (freezing, drying, juicing, smoothie making). So it is with crowdfunding. At the recent Global Crowdfunding Convention, we heard statements like the one made by SEC Senior Economist Vladimir Ivanov, “Crowdfunding is a sound economic concept and soon will be mainstream.” As our communities transition to this “new normal” of capital access and fundraising, some of it will seem as alien as my first kohlrabi—yet with perseverance and commitment, we will learn new processes, new recipes for success and new delight in ways to support our friends, families and the hometowns we love.

kim-with-veggies

Today we have another successful campaign story to share with you!

Ana’s On Main St. was in need of equipment to keep up with the demand for juices at her shop in Evanston, Wyoming.

With the help of The Local Crowd and Evanston Wyoming’s Main Street office, Ana was able to create a campaign and reach her goal by raising funds from within the community!

woman holding a shop small sign at juice bar called Ana's On Main Street

In 2015, Serendipity Books & Antiques and Evanston, WY Main Street worked with The Local Crowd to raise $6,000 to replace damaged flooring in the kitchen and service area of their store.

With the help of 56 generous, local supports they were able to harness the power of their community and successfully raise the funds to complete their project!

The store was so pleased with the commitments their community made to help raise funds for their new floor, that after the campaign they began donating the cash in their tip jars to local organizations as their way of saying “Thanks!”

In the photo below you can see the ladies of Serendipity gifting nearly $500 to a local Splash Pad project. Wow!

Local cafe owners holding money that they raised by crowdfunding