ABOUT THE LOCAL CROWD COOP
Through crowdfunding, we envision strong, resilient local economies where neighbors know each other and support each other’s businesses.
COMMUNITY. CONNECTION. CAPITAL.
THE LOCAL CROWD
Started in 2012, The Local Crowd® works with rural communities to create local crowdfunding ecosystems that support growth and sustainability of local businesses and organizations.
A FORCE FOR GOOD!
TLC 4SE (FORCE)
In 2018 we had the opportunity to take part in a research grant to support the development of a strong 4th sector ecosystem. We provided services designed for local communities to engage, educate, and provide financial capital through the TLC crowdfunding platform.
TRULY LOCAL NON-PROFIT
After eight years of research and work in crowdfunding for rural development, TLC took the next step to being truly local by becoming a member owned and operated cooperative. The formation of a new nonprofit is designed to address the funding needs of small businesses and other nonprofits in rural America.
ABOUT THE LOCAL CROWD
Started in 2012, The Local Crowd® works with rural communities to create local crowdfunding ecosystems that support growth and sustainability of local businesses and organizations. Our full-service package includes crowdfunding software, consulting and instruction–including webinars, clinics, and guidebooks to help focus entrepreneurs on creating successful high-impact campaigns. More recently we have been researching the 4th sector and creating an educational and crowdfunding tool for social entrepreneurs that are doing some amazing 4th sector work.
ABOUT TLC 4SE
WHAT IS THE 4TH SECTOR?
The three economic sectors of government, nonprofits and businesses make up our traditional economy. A new 4th sector is emerging that combines the mission driven approach of nonprofits with the market driven approach of business. Think of Tom’s shoes — a company that sells great shoes, while giving an equal number away to those in need. These entrepreneurial ventures are creating financially viable enterprises that prioritize social mission over profit—pioneering new ways to get the work done without depending on grants or donations.
WHAT IS TLC 4SE?
Because of the potential to create positive social change worldwide, global development agencies, such as the World Economic Forum, are creating initiatives to support growth of the 4th sector. Leaders recognize that the 4th sector cannot work effectively without a supportive ecosystem – one that is currently described as weak and fragmented. To support the development of a strong 4th sector ecosystem, The Local Crowd (TLC) developed 4SE (pronounced FORCE)— a coordinated suite of services designed for local communities to engage them, educate them about the 4th sector, and provide financial capital through the TLC crowdfunding platform.
READ OUR NSF RESEARCH ABSTRACT
The project engaged four communities in a pilot study designed to engage and educate key leaders, energize advocacy for fourth-sector growth, and catalyze fourth-sector social enterprises by offering capital access through crowdfunding. The validation of this grass-roots scalable educational and participatory incubator enabled communities to support local for-benefit businesses who improved the quality of life in their communities, created jobs, and contributed to the economy, leading to expansion of this model across the nation and globally.
You can read about our research with the National Science Foundation or learn more in this short video:
ABOUT TLC COOPERATIVE
WHY A COOPERATIVE?
The TLC Cooperative will provide a solution to the paucity of market-driven finance tools available to rural areas. Rural residents have a long history of relying on cooperatives to provide services that would otherwise be unavailable to them due to their small populations. Finance cooperatives have been serving rural customers since the Farm Credit System formed in 1916. Today there are 8,334 credit unions in the United States with services such as savings accounts, consumer loans, home mortgages, credit cards, ATMs, retirement accounts and certificates of deposit. The TLC Cooperative will add the service of crowdfunding to the offerings already available, giving members a modern, digitized option for business and organizational finance.
RURAL AMERICA IS RIPE WITH POTENTIAL, STARVING FOR CAPITAL
Rural economic development can be tough. Research tells us that rural areas lag behind urban areas in economic growth, employment growth, entrepreneurship and innovation.
Add to that the pandemic-caused financial crisis. History tells us that rural communities take longer to recover from recession than their urban counterparts—and many never recover fully.
New tools are needed to support recovery and long-term resilience. The new nonprofit TLC Cooperative is one such tool. It provides a source of nondilutive financial capital through rewards-based crowdfunding. It also offers related services such as education, support and community-building practices that strengthen local networks and relationships between businesses, customers, nonprofits, and rural residents.