StartSomeGood

Tips and inspiration for changemakers from the social impact crowdfunding website, StartSomeGood


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2017: A Year for Social Entrepreneurs

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Some of you may be entering the year feeling a bit like these guys look.

Despite all the tumult of 2016 I enter 2017 strangely optimistic.

Despite my fears and disappointments, things also have a stark and refreshing clarity to them.

Now is a time for social entrepreneurs.

It’s clear that we can’t rely on our political leaders and processes to create a more equitable and sustainable future. In country after country, politics has snarled to a stop as the ability to compromise seems to evaporate, or been captured entirely by those with little regard for the role of government. Regardless of how you vote and what you believe, now is not the time to sit back and wait for others to make things right.

Instead, you are going to have to help create the future you want to see, if we’re to have any chance of seeing it at all.

The future doesn’t just happen, and by the time it becomes the present everything that matters has already happened. The future is the product of the decisions and actions we take individually and collectively that influence the present we live into. Is it more or less equal, connected, sustainable, just? Do current trends, positive and negative, continue, pause, decline? Which stories do we hear, which voices to we respect, who participates and who is missing?

You have only two choices.

You can either help create the future or you can live in the past, living in the wake of decisions made by others.

If you care about the future, if you have an idea for how to make things better, we need you now. Traditional sources of influence for the common good are weakening, but new forms of collective power are emerging, and the onus is on us to use and master the tools that give rise to these.

Crowdfunding is one of these tools.

At StartSomeGood our mission is to help non-profits, social entrepreneurs and community groups to create the future we need, and in particular to support more innovative projects and emerging social impact organizations and forms – such as social enterprises – commonly ignored by traditional funders.

We are deeply fortunate to work with inspiring changemakers every day, so it’s impossible for us to feel anything other than hopeful. As we go into this new year we re-dedicate ourselves to working in the service of innovation and innovators, to keep increasingly our already industry-leading project success rate, to growing our reaching and community and to create more co-funding opportunities and link you to more investment, so we can move faster and improve more lives.

And so I feel optimistic.

With challenge comes opportunity and today we have a unique opportunity to make a difference. Greater interconnectedness and access to new tools and technologies has made so much possible, and it’s clear more and more emerging leaders are dedicating themselves to creating a positive social impact all the time.

If we can help you launch your social impact project this year, please get in touch! We’d love to help you do crowdfunding right.

 

Tom

Co-founder, StartSomeGood

 

PS. I want to help some of you start 2017 with a bang! I will personally donate $50 to every campaign that launches on StartSomeGood by January 13, and $25 to any that launch by January 31, when you used the Referral Code HAPPYNEWYEAR (in the extra’s tab when you’re creating your campaign). I’ll also share on twitter and do my best to see you succeed.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s do this.

 


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The Social Enterprise Design Challenge is back!

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TL;DR:

What is this for: new social enterprise concepts from DGR (tax deductible) organisations in Australia

Applications due: January 31, 2017

Crowdfunding: March

Amount: Up to a $15,000 match.

Express interest: here.

 

More:

The Social Enterprise Design Challenge is a unique matched funding opportunity provided by the English Famly Foundation and hosted by StartSomeGood which supports non-profit social enterprises in Australia to test and design new concepts for creating sustainable and transformational social change.

We are looking for ambitious leaders who are finding new and innovative solutions to tackle the most pressing issues within our communities, and who need a little help to achieve this. By asking the community to invest alongside us we ensure that these solutions have the support and attention they need to have the best chance at succeeding.

Last year four non-profit social enterprises tested their ideas through crowdfunding with the help of the English Family Foundation and StartSomeGood. To our delight all four exceeded their fundaising goals. Together they raised over $130,000 from over 650 individual supporters. You can find out more about their campaigns and our criteria here.

 


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Social Enterprise Virtual Summit: What do you want to learn about?

We’re pretty sure this guy is checking out a Virtual Summit.

With so many global challenges, individuals are constantly seeking to create the change they want to see in the world. We believe everyone can be a changemaker, and our platform enables those who are ready to take action. However, we also believe that it is important to give anyone the skills, knowledge and motivation to turn ideas into a reality.

To help with this, we’re going to be hosting a Social Enterprise Virtual Summit. This will be a series of video interviews related to social entrepreneurship, from social entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We already have some of our own ideas, but we want to hear from you!

What would you like to learn about? Are there certain topics you’re interested in? What would help you in your journey?

Who would you like to hear from? This can be anyone who inspires you or who is the best at what they do.

We want to make this the best experience for you, so share your thoughts here! https://goo.gl/forms/NOihQX10wxWDfAph2


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Ready, Set, Go Good! StartSomeGood’s crowdfunding masterclass is now online!

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Not sure where to start on crowdfunding?

Not a lot of time up your sleeve to learn all the tricks to make your campaign a success?

Love learning at your own pace and in your own time?

Then the Crowdfunding for Changemakers online course is for you!

Invest just three hours of your time and you can learn everything you need to know to have your crowdfunding campaign up and running with the greatest chance of success. StartSomeGood has just launched its first online course full of short, practical and inspiring ideas to add to the ones you already have running around in your head.  Based on the StartSomeGood  masterclasses which has been delivered live over the past few years, the bite size clips will make the best use of your time and energy. You could even watch a video a day for 40 days over your morning coffee and let the ideas incubate throughout the day, or last thing at night and while you are dreaming let the ideas soak in.

Offering this course Crowdfunding for Changemakers, on line means we are ready when you are. The program will help you to plan, create and launch a successful fundraising campaign for your non-profit, social enterprise or community project.  By the end of the program you will:

  • Understand the reason most campaigns fail and what you can do to succeed;
  • Be able to set a realistic financial target, and understand what you’ll need to do to reach it;
  • Design rewards relevant to your project and likely to excite your community;
  • Identify the different stories contained in your campaign and how to focus the right story to the right audience;
  • launch a successful crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds you need to make a difference!

Here is what participant Sophie Paine has said:
Great course. Very practical- great way to approach marketing (lesson 21) about offering and not asking. “You can never have too much inspiration and optimism” – very true!

StartSomeGood is using Udemy, recently described by the Wall Street Journal as the Netflix for education.  To help kick start this new venture there is a special discounted price you can receive $20 off  (so discounted to $29) until end of March, using the code CHEERS2016.

We are looking forward to seeing the results of changemakers who take the course in the coming months.  Ready, set, go and start some good!

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Working in the service of Innovation

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Winners!

I recently had the pleasure of representing StartSomeGood at the Australian and New Zealand Internet Awards, a joint venture of the domain administrators from both countries which recognises outstanding projects enabled by the internet. I was happy enough just to be there as a finalist for the Innovation Award and was thrilled and surprised when we were announced as the winner.

I hadn’t expected to win and hadn’t prepared any remarks but I knew immediately what I wanted to say as I walked up to receive the award.

This award is special for us because our founding mission is to support greater innovation in the social sector. When my co-founder Alex Budak and I first starting talking about creating a crowdfunding platform specifically for social entrepreneurs, non-profits and community groups the issue we thought a lot about was how do we fund the new and unproven in the social sector? In other words, how do we fund social innovation?

And the answer is, for the most part, we haven’t. At least, nowhere near enough. Because to fund innovation is to embrace failure, and the traditional funders of the social sector – governments, foundations and corporate givers – have been failure-adverse, which leads to a lack of support for genuine innovation which is by definition those things we’re not sure will work.

We know from the wider startup community that the greatest impact is often created by those ideas which initially look ridiculous, which are risky and have a reasonable chance of failure. But it’s these ideas that, when they do work, can create systemic transformations.

What the social sector lacked essentially was angel investors. Risk-tolerant supporters prepared to come on-board early and give you a chance to prove that your idea can work. Once you have some evidence of that those traditional funders become much more accessible, much as a startup will move from angel funding to traditional Venture Capital.

So we thought, that could be us! Not us individually (we worked for non-profits so our philanthropy was somewhat limited) but all of us, collectively.

Crowdfunding is an incredible tool for bringing together an early group of passionate supporters to allow new projects, enterprises and approaches to launch, try something different, and prove that their idea can work.  Unlike many traditional funders crowdfunding supporters are hungry for new ideas and new possibilities. They are prepared to back unproven changemakers who present a credible plan and a lot of determination; they want to help make things happen.

Whether that’s open source mapping in Nepal, supporting asylum seekers through social enterprise in Australia, tackling poaching in Africa or providing medical services to underserved communities in the US, we need new approaches to address the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities of this century. We are so proud to have supported incredible social innovators in 30 countries so far (including Australia and New Zealand of course!) who are stepping up to make a difference.

It’s nice to be considered innovative ourselves but more deeply than that we exist to work in the service of innovation. So this award is not just for us, it’s for the innovators, dreamers, entrepreneurs, activists, community builders and storytellers who have used our platform to bring new things into being. Thank you all for giving us the opportunity to work with you.

Here’s a quick interview I did on the awards night:

If you have an idea which can change the world, we would love to work with you to. You can get started here today.

And if you’re one of those traditional funders looking to better support innovation in your community or for the issues you care about we would love to talk. Find out how we’re helping governments, foundations and even banks to better support innovative social impact projects here.

Together we can bring a more innovation social sector into being.

 

Tom is co-founder and CEO of StartSomeGood. He previously founded three non-profits, an event production company and a Burning Man theme camp. You can follow him on Twitter at @tomjd.


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World first scheme for Australian social enterprises to access finance

sefa_picThe social enterprise sector in Australia is growing strongly, but most social enterprises struggle to make it from an initial launch, no matter how promising, to gaining access to the capital they need to scale their operations and impact.

A gap exists in the social enterprise funding ecosystem between the most innovative social entrepreneurs on the one side and investors interested in funding them on the other.

StartSomeGood exists to help get more social enterprises across this gap so we’re thrilled to announce a world-first collaboration with one such investor, the Social Enterprise Finance Australia ( SEFA) to use crowdfunding to help you quality for a loan to fuel your growth.

Traditionally to get a loan an enterprise would need significant collateral in the form of a property asset or guaranteed contracts. Through SEFA:Crowdmatch qualifying enterprises will have the chance to demonstrate market traction by raising at least $50,000 on StartSomeGood. SEFA will then match that amount (or over-match, up to $1 million) with a loan.

We’re really excited about this because it’s never been done before and we think it could create an incredible pathway to growth for some exciting Australian social enterprises by connecting two very difference sources of funding.

Lending and crowdfunding usually sit on opposite ends of the funding spectrum; but when combined, the risk for both the lender as well as individual donors are reduced. The end result is more funds available to invest in growth and greater impact.

‘It’s a unique chance for Australian social enterprises to raise the capital they need to grow. We hope to stimulate them to convert their dreams into reality’, says Ben Gales SEFA’s CEO. ‘It’s an opportunity to create tangible social impact with financial support, industry expertise and experience behind them’ he says.

How does it work?

To apply, social enterprises need to complete an online Expression of Interest. If selected, they then need to describe their progress, financials and plans for growth.

If successful, you will then be invited to launch a crowdfunding campaign on StartSomeGood to raise at least $50,000. Once this amount has been reached, SEFA will then match a loan to the equivalent amount or more, up to $1 million.

Rather than measuring the loan application solely against fixed or traditional banking criteria, SEFA uses its expertise and flexibility to understand each organisation’s particular situation. Applications are assessed on the widest merits in a supportive consultative approach, and applicants are kept informed at every stage.

Good luck!

If you decide this is for you, good luck! We can’t wait to work with the successful enterprises to launch some world-shaking crowdfunding campaigns in the near future.