Major changes for maximum impact

Major changes for maximum impact

Dear Community,

This is my last blog post for 2019, and I want to thank you for all your support this year. As we work to change the face of investment in our country, your outpouring of love for our amazing entrepreneur clients, and of course your investments in them, mean everything to us!

2019 was a year of major change for Jenny Kassan Consulting. For the first time we didn’t do our signature training event, Fund and Fuel Your Dreams, because it felt like we were being called to serve in a different way.

It was time to acknowledge that raising significant investment dollars, for many entrepreneurs, is an undertaking that requires an extremely high level of support—coaching, legal services, support with communications, and help with connecting to the right investors. While a three-day training is a great start, it barely scratches the surface of what is needed to meaningfully support an entrepreneur with fundraising. Plus, now that my book is published, everything we taught at the event is easily accessible without the need to attend a three-day live event.

So, in 2019 we focused our efforts on one-on-one client services, allowing us to address each individual client’s unique goals and challenges and to bring the right resources to the table.

We also put more energy than ever into cultivating the investor side of the equation. With such amazing entrepreneur clients, the obvious next step was to leverage the relationships we already have with “outside-the-box” investors and to encourage connections between investors and our clients. We do this through our WeCapital Community—where we connect our current and former female clients with investors—and also through Angels of Main Street—a community of angel investors that is open to people anywhere in the US regardless of wealth or income.

In its first year, the Angels of Main Street have already moved several hundred thousand dollars into direct investments in mission-driven companies.

In 2020, we will continue 1) to focus on providing highly customized services for entrepreneurs who want to raise investment capital on their own terms and 2) to grow the movement of investors wanting to learn how to move their money into ventures they love.

We hope you’ll stay involved—here’s what you can do:

· Follow us on social media

· Join Angels of Main Street

· Invest on Crowdfund Mainstreet

· Buy and gift my book here

· Refer entrepreneurs to us here

· Continue to read our newsletter and encourage friends to join our mailing list by going to our website

Thank you again for your support and encouragement!

~ Jenny

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Go Ahead, Get Invested! The power of community investing

Go Ahead, Get Invested! The power of community investing

Local businesses are the touchstone of our communities. And in the last decade, social entrepreneurship and community investing have moved from fringe experiments to mainstream ideas. Together, there’s more opportunity than ever for community members to support, participate, and potentially share the benefit of the success of main street businesses. 

In case you missed it, you can watch the video replay from an event we recently attended in Los Angeles called Go Ahead, Get Invested!—an engaging evening of conversation and ideas for action around the power of community investing.  Click here to watch the video replay.

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2019 Social Venture Circle Conference Highlights

2019 Social Venture Circle Conference Highlights

I have been attending Social Venture Circle (fka Social Venture Network) conferences for about 10 years, and they never disappoint. These conferences attract business and finance leaders of all ages to discuss how business and investing can transform our world and hasten the arrival of the “next economy”—one that provides health, happiness, and sustainable prosperity for all.

One of the highlights of the 2019 conference was a conversation between SVC Executive Director Valerie Red-Horse Mohl and Anand Giridharadas, author of Winners Take All.

Anand’s book was difficult for many in the impact investing and social enterprise space to read. Anand called out changemakers for “falling prey to . . . a belief in ‘changing the world’ in ways that tend to keep it the same, in using the tools of hypercapitalism to soften its blows, all while refusing to question the system generating the problems.”

Presentations by Morgan Simon, Diana Marie Lee, Taij Kumarie Moteelall, Hope Lehman, Nathalie Molina Niño, Derek Razo, and many more (including me!) provided glimpses of what a truly just, sustainable, and regenerative economy and financial system would look like.

While it is true that some who call themselves impact investors are doing more harm than good by providing a fig leaf of respectability for rapacious, extractive finance, many speakers at the SVC conference delved into the hard questions and put forth radical ideas—exactly what is needed in this time of growing wealth inequality, economic insecurity, and political disengagement.

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We are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting for

We are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting for

This year’s CoCap (Community Capital Conference) was our best yet, and I walked away feeling very hopeful. One of the main themes was this: we don’t have to wait for a white knight to move capital into what we love. For example:

  • Anyone in California can invest in the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative, an organization that protects land from the speculative market—everyone can buy equity in the co-op for $1,000. Those who cannot make a one-time payment of $1,000 may set up regular payments, with a minimum first payment of $100.
  • Anyone (if you have self-employment income) can work with The Next Egg to set up a low-fee self-directed retirement account from which you can invest your retirement funds into businesses you care about.
  • Anyone can go to Crowdfund Mainstreet and invest as little as $100 in a mission-driven business. This platform offers investments under Regulation Crowdfunding, an investment tool which has only been legal since 2016. According to data gathered by Investibule.co, while 66% of investment crowdfunding campaigns are successful, 77% of women-owned companies and 75% of people of color-owned companies that raise money using investment crowdfunding are successful.

These are just three examples of how everyone can invest in the next economy—one that is just, sustainable, and creates equitable prosperity for all.

Rather than putting energy into trying to get the big players in the financial markets to stop being extractive and rapacious, let’s use our own money to create the world we want to see. Collectively, we have a lot!

Be a part of the movement to unleash community capital to fund what we want to see in the world.  If you’re interested in learning more about the power of community investing, go to https://www.angelsofmainstreet.com/ to join our movement.    

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Decolonizing Access to Capital

Decolonizing Access to Capital

I am so proud to announce that we will be holding our annual CoCap conference this year on October 20-22 in Oakland and San Francisco, and it promises to be the best one yet!

The first CoCap (Community Capital) conference was held in 2013. It happened because Konda Mason and I attended the nation’s largest impact investing conference, SoCap, and felt there was a need for a community-based, grassroots supplement.

This year CoCap is being organized by BALLE with the support of amazing partners like the Center for Cultural Innovation, Justice Funders, and the Runway Project.

My contribution to the conference will be curating a discussion on Decolonizing Access to Capital. What exactly does that mean? Colonization is when a dominant group or system takes over and exploits and extracts from an existing place or people. Decolonization is the process of restoring and healing what has been taken.

The system of finance and wealth creation has been colonized by the global financial industry that serves the master of maximizing financial wealth for the few as quickly as possible regardless of the impact on communities, workers, consumers, and the earth.

The vast majority of the world’s financial wealth is used for this purpose. In addition to creating extreme wealth inequality, mental and physical sickness, and environmental devastation, this system deprives access to financial capital to all but the most privileged, leaving hundreds of thousands of brilliant social entrepreneurs without the resources they need to realize their vision.

By decolonizing access to capital, we can reclaim financial resources (and other types of capital) to be used in a way that nurtures, sustains, and benefits all life.

I look forward to sharing some amazing stories at CoCap about how access to capital is being decolonized and how we can all participate in the movement to deploy capital in ways that create just and sustainable prosperity for all.

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How to get your fundraising done quickly so you can move on with your life

How to get your fundraising done quickly so you can move on with your life

Here is an exercise we recommend in order to make sure you get your fundraising done within a reasonable amount of time.

1. Imagine you have reached your fundraising goal. You are looking at the list of all your investors and how much each one invested.  What is the lowest amount that someone invested and what is the highest amount?  Try to create a clear picture in your mind of your investor list and the amounts invested.

2. In your imagination, scan the list and estimate what the average investment size per investor is. For example, you may picture that you’ll have some people come in at $5,000, some at $10,000, a few at $25,000, maybe one or two at $50,000, and one at $100,000.  In that case, you may estimate the average per investor to be $20,000.  You can use this tool to decide how much you’ll ask for from each potential investor: https://www.jennykassan.com/blog/7-steps-for-making-the-big-ask/

3. Now, take the total amount you want to raise and divide it by the average per investor. That will tell you the approximate number of investors you’ll have when you reach your goal.  So, if you want to raise $400,000, you’ll end up with around 20 investors.

4. Multiply that number by 10. That is the approximate number of potential investors you’ll need to talk to about your offering.  (This assumes that an average of one out of ten people you talk to will say yes—you may do much better than that, but it’s best to be conservative).  In our example, this would be 200.

5. Divide that number by the number of weeks you would like to devote to reaching your funding goal. This is the number of people you will contact per week about investing.  So, if you’d like to reach your goal within six months, divide 200 by 26 weeks—you need to contact 7-8 people per week.

6. Assume that for each contact you’ll need to spend 30-60 minutes on average. Multiply the number of people you’ll talk to per week by the average number of minutes you think each contact will take.  That is the total number of hours you should schedule into your calendar for contacting potential investors.  Add at least half that many hours to give yourself time to follow up with people who haven’t yet given you a definitive answer.  In the example above, I would assume eight hours per week plus another four for follow up—so a total of 12 hours per week should be spent contacting potential investors.

7. Now block out that time in your calendar for the number of weeks you gave yourself to reach your goal.

If you use this method, you’ll keep your momentum going and get that fundraising done before you know it!

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