It’s New Economy Week, and PCI Fellow Michael Shuman is sharing 24 Ways to Invest Locally. Each day this week, Post Carbon Institute will roll out four ways you can—right now—begin to move your money from Wall Street to Main Street, and help build a vibrant, more resilient economy in your community.
These tools are elaborated in Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity, one of three Community Resilience Guides from Chelsea Green and Post Carbon Institute. Michael Shuman is currently leading all-day workshops on these ideas around North America.
All 24 Ways to Invest Locally are available as one post here. Be sure to check the Resources page for more ways to build community resilience, and the Groups page to connect with people in your area.
(5) Donate Locally – Your charitable giving can do “double duty” by targeting it to local nonprofits that support local business. The Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation has helped set up foundations across the country so that charitable giving can support the establishment and expansion of local coops.
(6) Pre-Purchase Local Goods and Services – In most U.S. states, preselling is not regarded as a security, so businesses can raise capital without attorneys by convincing their most loyal customers to make purchases in advance. And even in those states where it may be a security, well-established businesses still can use this technique. Hence, Awaken Café raised most of the $100,000 it needed to open a new store by preselling coffee. Credibles is a pre-selling web site for small food businesses seeking to expand.
(7) Sponsor Local Businesses – Last year, web sites like Kickstarter and IndieGogo raised more than $100 million for small businesses and projects. Even though all you get for your money is a t-shirt or token of appreciation, you know that thousands of small contributors like yourself are helping to get a big idea off the ground. Note that it’s important to scan these sites for businesses in your own community (most peer-to-peer internet finance is nonlocal). A new generation of web sites, like Lucky Ant) and Community Funded, specifically facilitate local sponsorships.
(8) Tap Internet Lending Sites – Kiva facilitates peer-to-peer lending to microentrepreneurs, mostly in the global South but increasingly in U.S. inner cities, though as a dot-org it only pays back principal. Prosper and the Lending Club, both dot-coms, also pay interest (now averaging close to 10% per year). As a community, you might encourage your businesses to use these sites for loans and your investors to scour them for local business investment opportunities. Alternatively, you might take advantage of P2P lending sites that focus on community finance, such as Solar Mosaic) and Community Sourced Capital.
Check back every day this week for for more ways to invest in your local economy.