Catégorie

Education

What is the right financing mix for our project?

Par | Education

One of the most common questions we receive from groups interested in raising community investment is “What is the right amount to be raising in bonds and how will this financing fit with our other sources of funding?”

The long and short of it is, there is no correct financing mix. Every organization that we work with is unique, and therefore, there is no magic one size fits all answer to this question.

However, in this blog we will attempt to give you some high-level ideas and thresholds for project financing. Once we begin to work with your organization and better understand your project and financial situation, we will be able to provide your team with some guidance on how much your organization can raise in community bonds.

We always recommend that this work is done in close cooperation with your finance/accounting team and Board Members, as they will have important insight on the risk tolerance of your organization and its capacity to carry debt.

Types of financing available to nonprofits, charities and co-operatives

When we speak of an organization’s project financing, we will often refer to their capital stack. In simple terms, the capital stack represents the underlying financial structure of an asset or real estate deal. Often, the capital stack is presented as a graphic that shows the different types of capital in a deal stacked above each other, like a cake with many layers.

Types of financing that may appear in a capital stack:

In the case of co-operatives, it’s also possible to issue preferred equity in the form of preferred shares. This cannot be done for charities or non-profits because they cannot be owned.

Finding the right mix for your organization will mean balancing your appetite for risk and your cash flow situation. Ultimately, the goal of your organization should be to align your sources of financing with your project timelines and key cash output milestones, and balance this with finding the lowest cost of capital through a combination of the tools above.

Percentage of total financing

There is no correct percentage of bonds within an organization’s capital stack. It could be as little 5% for a large project or as much as 100%. In the past, most of our clients have raised 10-40% of their total financing in community bonds.

For certain organizations, it may make sense for the bond total to be a larger piece of the puzzle. This is common when an organization needs to access a large sum of capital quickly, and don’t have the time to fundraise, or when traditional lenders are only willing to finance a smaller piece of the project.

“Bonds are such a great tool for community organizations to use when considering a capital raise,” says Mary Warner, Co-Executive Director at Tapestry. “Community bonds allow the organization to set the terms of the financing in a way that works best for them and allows them to reach out to their community in a new way, offering a chance for their supporters to invest in the future of their project, and to directly benefit from a financial return on that investment”.

Total dollar figure

“There are a lot of factors that go into determining how much an organization wants to raise but we have seen many partners accomplish their goals in raising between half a million and five million in their first raise,” says Mary.

Setting an initial goal within this range can help set your organization up for success. This is simply because the concept of bonds will be new to your community, there will be no existing marketing and messaging around your project, and you won’t have had the opportunity to test your community’s appetite for investment yet.

Due to certain fixed costs (ex. Legal, marketing etc) raising less than $500,000 in bonds isn’t generally a cost effective way to raise capital. Typically, the more you raise, the less it will cost per dollar of financing.

Once an organization has successfully completed an initial raise, they will have the opportunity to tap into their existing investor base and issue reinvestment campaigns. They can also build on the message of a successful bond raise and consider raising bonds for different projects in the future.

“We’ve seen this type of sequential bond raise with several partners, including SolarShare and ZooShare,” says Mary. “Building on the success of their initial raises, and foundation of proven ability to raise and manage community investments, has allowed these organizations to expand their projects and further their missions.”

We often see reinvestment campaigns that are much larger than first time raises. This is because, with time, issuers become more comfortable with their investor base, gain a better understanding of their community’s appetite for investment, and have built a solid marketing narrative around the organization, project and offering.

For example, our largest single raise to date has been $16 million, and this was a reinvestment campaign for an organization that has done repeated raises.

If a first-time raise over $5 million dollars is being contemplated, there are many things the organization will have to consider to ensure the raise is successful, including having sufficient staff and marketing support to maintain momentum.

Some organizations may have an easier time with a larger first campaign if they have:

  • Experience running a substantial capital fundraising campaign
  • A large and engaged pool of donors, members or supporters
  • A large project that will gain significant community and/or media attention early on

Deciding which types of financing should be used for different expenditures

Ideally the duration of the liability should match the duration of the asset, to the extent possible. In simple terms, this is why a mortgage would have a 25 year maturity, while a car loan would have a 3-5 year maturity.

In the context of your project, you should be thinking of the underlying asset of your project, and its associated projected cash flow.

Generally, community bonds will work well for funding long-term assets. A line of credit would be better suited to funding a short-term project or addressing a short-term funding need.

Relationship to other funding sources

Typically, if there is a mortgage in place for a project, community bonds will be subordinate to the mortgage. In other words, in the case of a default, the financial institution holding the mortgage will have the first right claim on the asset, followed by the community bond holders.

These details will be negotiated as part of your mortgage deal, and you should inform your financial institution of your intent to raise community bonds. In our experience, traditional financial institutions welcome community bonds as part of the financing mix as they view them as standing in the place of equity, and as an additional capital buffer.

“When considering community bonds as part of your capital stack, if it will be in tandem with a mortgage, it is important to engage the mortgage lender with the idea early on,” says Mary. “We have seen many organizations use both community bonds and a traditional mortgage so it is a possibility but it is important to be clear with the lender or potential lender about your intentions so that you can have firm expectations about how much will be raised and what the timelines for financing are.”

Where do we start?

Figuring out your project financing can be complex, and at Tapestry we understand this very well. We are always happy to speak to your finance/accounting team about how community bonds could fit into your own unique mix.

If your team is interested in pursuing community bonds as a source of financing, we encourage you to reach out to our team and register for our Intro to Community Bonds Workshop.

 

 

Crafting your bond terms: How to find the right rate of return

Par | Education

Finding the right rate of return for your community bonds will be critical to both your campaign success, and ultimately, your project success. Of course, it will be to your benefit to keep your cost of capital as low as possible. But at the same time, you will need to position an attractive investment to engage your community and ensure that you raise the capital you need. 
Headshot of Mary Warner

Finding this balance is our specialty. Through a combination of financial modelling and community consultations, we help the organizations that we support to design bond terms that work for their balance sheet and their community. 

Today we sat down with Mary Warner, the Co-Executive Director of Tapestry, to give you more insight into the process of crafting community bond terms. Below, she answers a few questions that recently came up during one of our Community Bond Workshops that we offer to non-profits, charities and co-operatives.

What is the typical rate of return offered on a community bond? 

“Bond rates that we’ve seen typically range at the low end from 3%, to about 7% at the high end.

We’ve seen bond interest decrease slightly with the pandemic and current economic situation, but issuers do want to provide their investors with a decent rate of return for the risk they are taking on. So, we haven’t seen rates drop as significantly as commercial interest rates. Current rates for community bonds are averaging at about 3.5-5%.

Typically, the longer the bond term, the higher the interest rate. Another important note, is that when we are referring to interest here, we are speaking of simple interest – where the interest is paid out and does not become part of the principal. Compounding interest (where interest does become part of the principal) is possible in community bonds, but more complex and expensive to issuers. So, for the most part, we see simple interest with community bonds.”

How can we figure out how much we can afford to pay out?

“This is when our financial modelling comes in. The first step is putting together a business model with projections of the next 5-10 years, incorporating your new project.

Then we piece in different options for community bond rates and terms, based on your needs and early assessments of your community. It’s sort of a trial and error process of testing the community bond interest expense and principal repayment. Ultimately, we want to land on a few options that income and cash flow statements can bear.”

Can greater impact mean lower returns?

“That’s a really good question. We have seen in the past that investors may be willing to take a lower return if they feel a strong connection to the project and are passionate about the impact. 

It’s really about finding a balance between the social and environmental return, and the financial return. If the impact is significant and important to the issuer’s community of supporters, you may find that investors are willing to take a slightly lower rate of return. 

If you are a charity, you might also be interested in looking at the ‘giving bond’ model. This is  where investors invest an amount of principal, but instead of receiving interest back as a payment to them every year, the interest is donated back to the charity. The investor does take on the income tax implications of having investment income but they get the benefit of a charitable receipt for the amount of money they donate.

So essentially, it’s equivalent to baking in an annual donation to the charity, and on the flip side, offering the charity an interest free loan. At the end, investors get their full principal investment back.”

We are afraid that we might need a few years to get up and running and generate a profit. Will that be a problem for us in issuing bonds?

“Not necessarily. When we are doing financial models, we want to see that there is the potential to pay back bonds at the end of their term. If your project will take a few years to generate the income necessary, we might want to look at a longer period bond. On the short end, there are 3 year bonds, on the longer side you could be looking at 7-15 years. 

There are also different ways of paying out interest. You might choose to withhold interest payout until year four for example, or to simply pay out all the interest upon maturity. Those are just some of the options we have to manage your cash flow. 

It’s completely normal that in the first year or two you might not generate consistent income until you are steadily up and running. What we want to see in the financial model is that in the longer term, these bonds can be repaid.” 

We would like to have a 10 year bond, but we are worried that investors won’t want to keep their money tied up that long. Any suggestions?

What we’ve seen in the past with other issuers, is that it’s good to offer investors a mix of bond options. So, if we are offering a longer term bond, we might also want to offer a shorter term option. Some investors are able and willing to invest in a 10 year + bond and others will look for a shorter investment.

Having at least two series of bonds with different terms and rates can help with marketing efforts and give options to investors with different motivations. The added benefit of having multiple options is that it can allow you to stagger your principal repayments.

When it comes to a shorter term bond, there is also the option to refinance bonds at maturity. Often, our issuers who issue shorter bonds will choose to issue a new offering statement once their bonds have matured and ask investors to reinvest their funds. We see issuers having very high reinvestment rates. For example, our client SolarShare has found that when bonds reach maturity, about 60-70% of investors choose to reinvest their funds.”

Is there a possibility to repay the principal before the end of the bond term?

“Yes, typically in the offering statement there is a clause that will allow organizations to pay out the principal early. But there is a lot to consider in making this decision. It can sometimes be to the benefit of organization, allowing them to save on interest costs. But it’s also important to consider the relationship you have with your investors. 

It may sour the relationship if investors expected this investment for a period of time and they no longer receive interest payments because you decided to repay the principal early. So yes, there is the possibility but the consideration should not so much be ‘can we?’ but ‘should we?’.

In the case of investor need, the offering statement or the Board can set out the terms of how an “early redemption” takes place.  In some cases it may not be possible, in others you might consider allowing an early redemption if the investor provides a letter stating financial hardship and requesting a redemption prior to maturity.”

We work in a low income neighbourhood and it is important to us that we include our community in this campaign. How can we do that?

“Economic inclusion is a really important topic, and for most of our issuers it’s very important that bonds are accessible to a wide range of their community. We have seen bond minimums set as low as $500 to make this possible.  

We have also had discussions with issuers where they want to maximize community participation by limiting larger size investments.  While the logistics of managing 5 $100,000 bonds may be simpler than managing 500 $1,000 bonds, many issuers we work with have consistently chosen to make community bonds as accessible as they can, setting low minimums for investment and carefully considering larger investments. Community bonds are always about more than financial returns, both for the issuer and the investor.“

How do community consultations help in finding the right rate of return?

“Community consultations give you the opportunity to go to your stakeholders and see what they think of your bond terms and find out what is most attractive. This can help us decide on the options to include in your offering statement. Sometimes you will find that one bond series might resonate better than others. 

You are never going to be able to speak to everyone, but we can help you select a representative group of your community and gain crucial feedback early on to see what is going to be attractive once you start selling.  This also allows you to bring stakeholders together early and start to build enthusiasm and excitement about the project you are working towards.”

Have another question for us to answer? Get in touch at info@tapestrycapital.ca

How do I know if Community Bonds will work for my project?

Par | Education

At Tapestry, this is one of the most common questions we are asked. Organizations are often first introduced to the concept of community bonds by seeing them in action, coming to learn about them as an investor, or because they have been searching for alternative forms of financing. When they approach us, they are curious to learn how bonds can work for their unique set of circumstances. 

While every organization and project is unique, there are five main criteria that typically apply across the board. We always begin by walking organizations through a simple checklist to see if their team and board should invest the time to explore this opportunity in greater detail. In this article, we will walk you through the checklist below, step by step.

The organization is a non-profit, charity or co-operative

Community Bonds are a social finance tool that allow organizations to raise capital from their community of supporters. Just like a regular bond you might purchase – say a Canada Savings Bond – these bonds are repayable, and have a fixed term and a set interest rate. 

There are two main features that differentiate community bonds and traditional bonds. The first is that in addition to a financial return, community bonds generate an environmental and/or social return. The second, is that community bonds can only be issued by non-profits, charities and co-operatives (both for-profit and non-profit).

In Canada, the sale of bonds is regulated at the provincial level by the provincial securities commissions, and at the federal level by the Canada Revenue Agency. These agencies have strict requirements for private companies that want to sell securities to the public, and the process is complex and expensive. 

Charities and non-profits, however, are exempt from these requirements under National Instrument 45-106 s. 2.38, and are able to issue community bonds so long as they can guarantee:

  • They are a non-profit organized exclusively for education, benevolent, fraternal, charitable, religious and recreational purposes
  • No commission or other remuneration will paid in connection with the sale of the security

Co-operatives go through a slightly modified process under the Co-operative Corporation Act, and their regulations vary among provinces. The process, however, remains straightforward and much less onerous than that of a private company.

In order to safeguard the interests of community bond investors, our documentation and process for issuing community bonds always meets the requirements set for co-operatives, regardless of whether we are working with a charity or non-profit. 

The organization is seeking to raise financing for the purchase or renovation of an asset

Technically speaking, there is no legal document stating that community bonds must be used towards the purchase of an asset. However, in our experience of managing over $70 million in community bonds, we have found that having these securities backed by an asset increases investor confidence, and hence the success of the campaign. This is particularly true for organizations that are issuing bonds for the first time and have not built a reputation and rapport with their investor base. 

Asset backed projects are also typically easier to build an inspirational story around. We’ve come to understand that investors like having a brick and mortar outcome – a tangible and physical project that resulted from their investment. While operational expenses are critical, they are rarely inspirational, and do not excite investors in the same way.

In some circumstances, if an organization has run several asset backed campaigns, and proved their ability to meet repayment schedules, they have gone on to raise capital for operational expenses.

CSI Community Bond Campaign History

The organization has a revenue model that allows them to repay their investors over time

While community bonds offer a social and/or environmental outcome, they are also a financial product, and issuers must have the capacity to repay the principal investment and pay out interest on schedule. 

For some organizations, income is generated through the operation of a social enterprise, for example by selling tickets, renting spaces or operating a shop. Others, and particularly those who are purchasing an asset to be used for office and administrative purposes, are able to redirect capital previously earmarked for rent payments. 

In almost all cases, community bonds will be only one piece of a larger financing puzzle. They are often used in tandem with donations, grants, interest free loans and traditional bank financing.

One appealing aspect of community bonds is that the issuer has the ability to set their bond terms in a way that will match their cash flow situation. For example, some organizations may prefer to have a longer term in order to pay off the principal investment or may decide to delay interest payments for a year or two while they get their project off the ground. 

We always work with our clients to find terms that work for their investors and their balance sheet.

The organization has a champion

What is a community champion? They are the natural leader of the project, pushing at every stage to make it come to fruition.

Tonya Surman

Tonya Surman, Founder and CEO of the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI)

In some cases there will be two champions, an internal lead who drives the project management, and a public face of the campaign, who will engage the media and publicly represent the organization.

In either case, a champion is critical to campaign success. Investors want to see a responsible and charismatic face behind their investments. They want to see someone who is passionate about the potential of the project and determined to see it come to life. This excitement is what inspires people to take the next step in learning about the project and investing their money.

The project is meaningful to your community of supporters

Of course, this probably goes without saying. If you want your community to invest, they will need to feel one of two things, or both. 

1) They are doing something positive and productive with their money. They are making a meaningful contribution to society while also making a fair financial return. 

2) They will personally benefit from seeing the project come to life. For example, they will benefit from improved access to services and spaces that meet their needs.  

In order to target the first group, the project needs to have a strong social impact and/or a positive impact on the environment. In order to target the second group, there must be a sizable group of people that stand to see their community (be it geographical or values based) benefit from the project’s development. 

This last criteria is the one that organizations tend to struggle to answer. That’s why we always help organizations interested in this model to dig deeper on this topic and begin to assess who their community truly is and understand what their appetite for investment might be. 

Once an organization has been through this checklist and feels comfortable that they fit within these criteria, the next step in assessing a community bond campaign is to participate in a community bond workshop hosted by Tapestry. 

During the 3-hour, online workshop, you will have the chance to bring together your team and board to learn more about community bonds, see how community bonds have worked for other organizations, understand how investors make decisions, and understand what a campaign budget and resource plan might look like. Upon completion of the workshop, Tapestry provides a readiness assessment to help your team and board make a decision about whether or not community bonds are an appropriate financing tool for your project. 

If you think your organization might have a project that fits these criteria, get in touch with us at info@tapestry.captial.ca

Community Bonds as a pathway to Community Ownership

Par | Education, Policy and Advocacy

Our community spaces are vital – whether they are sports facilities, schools or community centres, these places sit at the heart of our neighbourhoods. They provide physical space for services and are places that unite us.

We know that across the country, community spaces are being lost, and with the impact of the pandemic, this trend is only likely to worsen. We see places that were once vibrant hubs of community activity ending up in the hands of private developers, being pushed out of gentrifying neighbourhoods, or worse, left derelict.

“Too often, outside corporate interests come in and change a neighbourhood and it doesn’t reflect the needs of the community,” says Ryan Collins-Swartz, Co-Executive Director of Tapestry, “the story is all too familiar – the place of worship with low attendance sold to a developer, storefronts in rural communities left empty, a beloved historic theatre being demolished – the list could go on.”

“The amazing thing is that this problem actually presents a huge opportunity,” shares Ryan. “We have the potential to empower communities, redefine public services and reinvigorate local economies through community ownership.”

What is community ownership?

There are many accepted definitions of what community ownership means, but for us at Tapestry, it means a community organization (a co-operative, charity or non-profit) taking legal possession of an asset. These community assets are diverse and represent a wide range of uses from community solar farms to land trusts. The asset may be held for the benefit of the organization itself (ex. Office and program space) or for the wider community (ex. Affordable housing).

We know that community ownership can be a powerful catalyst for social action. Taking control of an asset means that a community organizations can:

  • Protect key services and facilities from being pushed out of neighbourhoods
  • Make major alterations to assets to fit their needs
  • Reverse economic decline of an area and attract investment
  • Instil a renewed sense of pride and confidence in the community
  • Increase future participation through membership, volunteering, attendance, etc.
  • Build credibility with funders, and leverage future financing to grow
  • Encourage, through their success, further innovation within the community

At Tapestry, we have seen the power of community ownership firsthand. The very first project we were involved in began back in 2002, when a group of community members came together with the vision to build a community owned wind project in downtown Toronto. 

Windshare community owned wind project

It was to be the first urban wind turbine in all of North America. “At the time, this was no small feat,” shares Ryan, “our lawyer often jokes that it would have been easier to build a nuclear power station in the city than that turbine.”

But the community was focused and determined, and the sense of pride and ownership was immense. By bringing together almost 600 members, WindShare became a model not only for sustainable energy but for community ownership across Canada.

In the years since, we have seen amazing historic buildings rescued and repurposed for community needs, expanded and revitalized sport facilities, community arts spaces anchored within gentrifying neighbourhoods, and communities shaping their own needs for education. The common thread? The purchases of these assets were all made possible, in part, by engaging community members as investors.

“Community finance is a natural fit for community ownership,” explains Ryan, “when a community member invests, they feel they are taking a meaningful stake in the future development of the place in which they live and/or work.”

Community investment not only mobilizes financial capital, but also social capital within a community. “Once a community member is an investor, they really feel they are part of the project. We see them wanting to volunteer, participate and talk about the work of the organization they have invested in. They get really excited!” says Ryan. 

What’s more, there is a significant public appetite for making these types of impact investments. 

What are Community Bonds?

All too often, communities have a great idea but they don’t have the money they need to bring their visions to life. Community bonds can help complete the financing puzzle for these projects, alongside other important types of financing such as grants, mortgages, and donations. 

Community bonds are a social finance tool, similar in many ways to a traditional bond. They are an interest bearing loan from an investor, which has a set rate of return and a fixed term. The major difference is that in addition to offering a financial return, they also offer a social or environmental return.

What are community bonds

What makes community bonds so unique is that they allow capital to flow back into the local economy, rather than to a bank. Investors get a double benefit – the financial return and a stake in shaping their own community. 

“We believe that communities should control their own destiny. And community bonds are a financial tool that give communities the agency to decide what develops and how their community transforms,” says Ryan. 

Economic Inclusion

Community organizations issuing bonds have the ability to customize the terms of their investment offering so that they fit the needs of their project and their community. “We have seen community bonds priced for as low as $250 to be as inclusive as possible,” says Ryan, “still, in disadvantaged communities, organizations often have to extend their notion of community beyond the physical boundaries of their neighbourhood.” 

Community bonds have been very popular among community foundations who have earmarked funds for impact investing and local businesses looking to make a social impact, and there is a growing community of impact investors across Canada that want to make a return while also doing good. 

The future of Community Investment and Community Ownership Community Investment Kingston

We need to be learning from past successes and supporting innovative financing in order for this model to flourish.  Local governments can play a huge role in helping communities to regenerate their areas by supporting community ownership.

We are encouraged by the steps that some municipalities have been taking to this end, particularly with covid recovery at the top of the agenda. The City of Kingston, for example, recently launched an initiative to explore how community investment might contribute to initiatives that support vital community needs

We invite local governments, community leaders and community organizations to engage with us on community ownership as a model for post-COVID recovery. If you are interested in learning more or have a project in mind, please get in touch at info@tapestrycapital.ca

covid volunteers

Raising Community Bonds amid Pandemic Restrictions

Par | Education

To say this past year has been tough would be a massive understatement. We’ve all been stretched to our limits balancing childcare, social isolation and economic challenges, just to name a few. 

But we are a resilient bunch. Across Canada, communities and social purpose organizations have been rallying together to provide critical social services. Non-profits and charities, in particular, have worked tirelessly to fill the void by providing food, mental health support, housing, and so much more. 

covid volunteers

At Tapestry, we are always on the hunt for good news, and now that we’re a full year into the pandemic, we feel we are all well overdue for some.

So what’s been the silver lining of the pandemic?

The pandemic, as difficult as it has been, has undeniably prompted a dramatic shift towards collectivism. Movements to support local and community initiatives have triggered the attention of the masses. We’ve all seen the hashtags to #supportlocal, had an old friend ring up out of the blue, or offered to collect groceries for a neighbour. These are all signs that despite social distancing, social cohesion appears stronger than it has in recent years. 

The same has been true in the world of finance. Now, more than ever, we are seeing that investors aren’t just interested in a financial return. They also want a tangible social outcome, and a positive impact that’s visible in their own community.  

Even amid lockdowns and widespread restrictions, the past year was a great success in community financing. In 2020 alone, Tapestry supported raising $18.3 million in community investment for Canadian non-profits, co-ops, and charities. This investment is creating spaces for marginalized youth, producing clean energy, and supporting the growth of social purpose organizations.

Now that’s not to say that COVID hasn’t created new hurdles for Tapestry and our clients. It has. But like everyone, we are learning to adapt, and in the process becoming more productive and efficient. 

We thought we would take this opportunity, on the anniversary of the pandemic, to share some of the lessons we’ve learned from a year of lockdowns and restrictions.

A chance to redefine community

As a result of the pandemic, we’ve all been forced online like never before. Our clients, in particular, have had to double-down on their digital tactics. Where in-person events used to be the modus operandi for meeting potential investors and selling community bonds, Zoom calls are the new norm. 

We are lucky to be working in a sector that is nimble and flexible. Our clients were quick to adapt, and made the move online seamlessly. And in doing so, they found some unexpected benefits. 

Going digital, has meant much greater reach. Events no longer have geographic restrictions and can be accessed by potential investors all across Canada. This has hugely increased the pool of impact investors for our clients. 

Online events are also more accessible. There is no longer the need to arrange transportation or child-care. Anyone can join in so long as they have an internet connection and a few minutes to listen. The other plus? Putting together an online event is much more time efficient, and there is the added benefit that content can be recorded and repurposed.

SKETCH Working Arts just completed their bond sales campaign, raising $1.4 million – all during the pandemic. “Interestingly, 80% of their investors were new to the organization,” shares Satyameet (Sattu) Singh, one of Tapestry’s Campaign Managers. “Pushing digital strategies can really help non-profits expand their presence to new supporters.”

This has made us, and our clients, think more deeply about who our communities truly are. Are they a group of individuals living in the same region? Or is it a much broader community of beliefs? With digital connectivity tools abound, the opportunity exists to bring online and offline communities together as never before.

Take advantage of the amazing tools at hand

We have had to pivot in the way we work with our clients, and the ways in which our clients interact with their potential bond investors. One major change has been an even greater shift to making use of online tools. And there are so many great ones! 

With team members working from home, team management platforms have become ever more important. We are big fans of Trello, which allows our clients’ teams to follow along on their campaign progress, interact, and respond to other teammates all on one interface. “It’s highly interactive and keeps everyone on that same page. It also reduces the need for a lot of back and forth on email – saving all of us time,” says Sattu

With investor leads coming in from a multitude of digital streams, the importance of tracking incoming traffic is also critical. We train our clients to use a great customer relationship management (CRM) tool called Pipedrive. “We help our clients to integrate Pipedrive with as many entry points as possible, so that no potential investor lead is lost,” says Sattu. “Once a lead is in Pipedrive, we work with our clients to make sure that they are providing the necessary content and touch points to move that lead along to becoming an investor in their project.”

Our clients are also all set up to sell community bonds directly to investors online. We provide our clients with a clean and streamlined campaign website, which gives investors access to a simple investment platform to make their purchase quick and easy. 

“All of these tools mean that campaigns can be optimized quickly, and can reduce resource requirements significantly,” says Sattu. “Nowadays we can have a campaign up and running in about 2 months, and we are working really hard to reduce costs and make community financing available to a wider array of organizations.”

We can’t meet in person but we can still make meaningful connections

It’s true that we live in an age where we can easily connect online, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the connections we make over the internet are the same as in-person meetings. “We need to be very aware of this,” say Sattu “being online, we need to take extra care to read the room, gauge interest and build trust.” 

“This may mean adding in additional touch points for potential investors, to ensure that they feel informed” shares Sattu. “We encourage our clients not to just rely on email but to pick up the phone.”

“We also suggest that our clients ask their potential investors what form of communication they prefer,” says Sattu, “we want potential investors to feel comfortable.”

Let’s rebuild this post-pandemic economy to be more sustainable

We know that Covid-19 is changing society in complex ways. We also know that there will be winners and losers in this pandemic, and that those who are most adversely impacted are also those with the fewest resources to cope. 

As we focus on the post-pandemic recovery, we should all be thinking hard about the economy we want to see on the other side. Is it the old norm that concentrates wealth in the hands of a few? Or are we interested in creating a more inclusive and sustainable system?

If you are interested in the greater conversation on this ‘Next Economy’, check out our friends at the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), who are doing amazing work on intentionally building a more equitable system. CSI Next Economy

We know that innovative forms of financing will be integral to building the next economy. We envision financing that 1) involves and rewards communities, 2) funds meaningful and quantifiable impact, and 3) creates financial sustainability and power for non-profits and charities that provide such critical services to society. 

“We promote this idea at both the government level but also on a grassroots level,” says Sattu thoughtfully, “we encourage non-profits where appropriate and possible, to consider seeking investment from their own community, to feed wealth back into that community, and to change the cycle of grant dependence.”

If you are a non-profit, charity or co-operative interested in financing a project with the support of your community, reach out to us at info@tapestrycapital.ca.

Abbey Dawn SolarShare Project

What comes after the Raise? Investor Stewardship and why it’s Important

Par | Education

Community bonds can help you scale-up your non-profit, charity or co-op, and take ownership of important assets that you need to achieve your mission. They can also help you to strengthen and deepen meaningful ties to your community.

When a community member invests in your project, they are becoming part of your dream and vision. They are also putting trust in you to carry out your project efficiently and run your operations in a manner that will ensure that investors are repaid.  

You might think that a community bond campaign ends when all the funds are raised. But at Tapestry, we have seen that our most successful clients are those that steward their investors from their first interaction with the organization all the way through to when their bonds mature, and beyond.

So, what does Investor Stewardship mean?

Effective investor stewardship means managing your investors and caring for their needs. You can look after your investors by staying in regular contact with them, giving them news and information about your organization and the project they are supporting, and providing reassurance that your bond campaign and project are running according to plan. In our opinion, the key elements of investor stewardship are:

Investor onboarding: First impressions are everything. This may be an investor’s first transaction with the organization and if you want to instill trust, this is the most important starting point. Information about the investment and organization should be presented clearly and provided on time, someone should always be available to field questions via email or phone, and there should be immediate follow-up once the investment is received.

E-newsletter: A monthly e-newsletter is one the most effective ways to keep in touch with your investors. In your newsletter you can share details about your investment campaign, project updates and highlights, and even industry news.

Social media: Social media provides a more informal channel to give your investors updates about what is happening within your community. Social media also allows investors and influencers to engage with your news and content, and share within their own network.

Seek input: Community bond investors often want to go beyond putting their money in an organization. Occasionally seeking their guidance or input via surveys or at events can help strengthen your relationship by making them feel that they are a meaningful part of your mission.

Professional Investment Management: Ensuring that investors are paid interest or dividends on time and in a professional manner is critical. You will also want to ensure that they receive the necessary tax forms at the appropriate time of the year, and that you can give statements and updates on their investment whenever they request them.

CSI Founder Bricks

The Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) created Founders Bricks for their investors.

There are also many creative ways that you can acknowledge and thank your investors. Some organizations may choose to give investors naming rights of spaces which they are building, as is often done in a capital fundraising campaign, while others might choose to send a small gift.

SKETCH Working Arts recently completed a $1.4 million community bond raise, to purchase their admin and studio space. Over the holiday season, in order to thank investors, SKETCH distributed coffee and brownies to everyone that made an investment.

Small gestures like this don’t have to be costly. In the case of SKETCH, they had the coffee donated and the brownies were baked by volunteers in their community kitchen. This was a low cost but memorable acknowledgement of the role that their investors are playing in bringing their vision to life.

Why is investor stewardship so important?

Your investors will be powerful spokespeople for your project, your investment opportunity, and your mission. If they have a positive investment experience, are able to trust in you, and have access to investment and project details, they will share this opportunity with others in their network.

“Word of mouth is actually the single most important source of new investment,” shares Jennifer Bryan, our Senior Campaign Manager at Tapestry. “In addition to generating new investment, stewarding investors throughout the life of their bond can mean that when their bond matures, they choose to reinvest in any new investment opportunities the organization has.”

Abbey Dawn SolarShare Project

Investors touring SolarShare’s Abbey Dawn installation (pre-covid). This is their 37th project.

SolarShare is a community power co-operative that sells bonds to finance community-owned solar projects. “They have over a 70% reinvestment rate, meaning that when bonds mature, 70% of investors will choose to put their money back in,” says Jennifer. “This pool of dedicated investors meant that SolarShare could scale extremely rapidly.”

To give you an idea of just how quickly they scaled, from 2011 to 2015 they raised $10 million total in investment. Last year, in 2020 alone, they raised $16 million in 9 months. SolarShare started with just one solar project and now has 49 solar projects across Ontario.

The Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) also has a fantastic growth story,” says Jen. Their first bond campaign in 2010 raised $2 million to help them purchase their first building in downtown Toronto. Four years later, in 2014, they were able to turn around and re-approach investors to raise another $4.3 million to purchase a second building.

“What is truly incredible,” shares Jen, “is that in 2020, amidst a global pandemic, CSI was able to raise another $1.9 million in community bonds in just 41 days.” The speed at which their bonds sold out is a testament to the trust that investors have in CSI.

CSI Growth

How can Tapestry help?

Building a community bond campaign means forging lasting relationships with your investors. Building these relationships takes time. “We often find that organizations don’t have the bandwidth to dedicate resources and time to stewarding investors, and this is why we are here to help,” says Jen.

“We see ourselves as a temporary part of your team, providing the additional resources to make sure that your investors receive the attention they need. We can provide advice, tools and templates to help you on your way. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here,” says Jennifer, “we have done this so many times now that our process and methods are well formulated.”

Are you interested in using community bonds for your project? Get in touch.

Cathy Mann

How to raise donations and investments at the same time

Par | Education

Charities are one of three types of organizations in Canada that can make use of community bonds to raise investment from their supporters. What makes charities unique from the other two groups – co-ops and non-profits – is that they also have the ability to seek donations and offer tax-receipts to donors.

As community bonds and philanthropy are so different, yet both important types of financing, we are often asked if the two can work hand-in-hand for charities.

We sat down with Cathy Mann, founder of the Fundraising Lab, to tell you that yes, it can be done and there may be benefits to combining these two types of funding that you haven’t realized yet.

Cathy has over 20 years of experience teaching fundraising in college and university, and over 25 years of experience working as a front-line fundraiser and consultant. Cathy developed the Fundraising Lab to share fundraising skills and her best advice to help more charities achieve their mission.

Cathy Mann Fundraising Lab
Community bonds are an exciting tool for Charities

Community bonds are a social finance tool, similar in many ways to a traditional bond. They are an interest bearing loan from an investor, which has a set rate of return and a fixed term. The major difference is that in addition to offering a modest financial return, they also offer a social or environmental return.

What are community bonds

Most charities will be familiar with traditional fundraising and building relationships with donors. They will also be familiar with donor fatigue and the struggles that can come with trying to align capital fundraising with project timelines. What community bonds do is create a new vehicle for accessing funds that might not otherwise have been possible to tap in to. 

“Impact investing is such a hot topic right now,” shares Cathy, “there are a lot of institutional funders out there that don’t have a place to put the money they have earmarked for impact investment. Community bonds create a new avenue for these investors to make a return while also ensuring that money is doing good in the community.”

And it’s not just institutional investors who are searching for community bond investments. In fact, in a community bond campaign the majority of investors are your average retail investor interested in making an impact, or someone who is already a supporter of the issuing organization. 

“I think community bonds are a really interesting form of financing” says Cathy, “but that doesn’t mean they are for everyone.”

“I don’t want to be a Debby Downer,” she laughs, “but there is a checklist of conditions for charities interested in this tool.” Most importantly, the charity must have a revenue model that will allow them to repay investors over time. The second important condition is that the charity be raising the financing for the purchase or renovation of an asset, most likely real estate.

Community bond checklist
Financing to match project timelines 

One element of community bonds that is often appealing is that they allow charities to access a lump sum of financing upfront. “With a typical capital campaign, donations come in as pledges, and those pledges are paid out over the course of 3-5 years,” explains Cathy. “This is something that many charities engaging in a capital campaign for the first time don’t realize.” Adding bonds into the financing mix can potentially help with project rollout, as these funds are available upfront.

Are charities ready for social finance?

“Some charities are better positioned to take on debt than others, and feel more comfortable,” shares Cathy. “My clients haven’t had a lot of experience in this area solely because most don’t own property, and without property, there is nothing to secure a loan. So many charities just don’t have a lot of experience with taking on financing.”

But that may be changing now with the emergence of community bonds. Charities are becoming more and more inventive with social enterprise models, there is growing government support in this area, and with rising rents across Canada, the business case for owning vs. renting is often there.

“I hope this model of financing becomes more prevalent,” says Cathy. “I think seeing somebody else do it first is going to make a big difference.”

What if Donors only want to be Investors moving forward?

Most recently, Cathy has been working with a charity called SKETCH Working Arts on their capital campaign Project Home. This $1.52 million fundraising campaign happens to be running alongside a $1.4 million community bond campaign that we at Tapestry are supporting with.

In total, SKETCH will be raising $4 million to purchase their studio and admin space, where they support homeless and marginalized youth through mentoring and development in the arts.

SKETCH is a great example of a charity that has been successful in running these two types of campaigns in tandem, and managing both investors and donors at the same time.

“I think there is a legitimate fear that some donors may choose only to invest,” says Cathy, “and this may be the case for some, but what we have learned from SKETCH is that many donors just want to remain donors, or want to donate AND to invest.” 

SKETCH donors and investors

At Tapestry, we’ve also seen that community bonds can re-engage lapsed donors. “Some may have stopped giving years back but are now interested in supporting the organization in a different way,” shares Jennifer Bryan, our Senior Campaign Manager.

The key according to Cathy, is that you need to make sure you have a good plan for both your fundraising campaign and community bond campaign before you begin on either element. “What is really critical is to speak to your donor base when you are in the planning phase to see what their reactions are and which way they will lean,” she says. 

“In our experience, community bonds have actually extended the reach of our community,” says Dale Roy, Marketing and Resource Development Associate at SKETCH. “Community bonds allowed us to tap into a new group of people we never realized were out there. We hope that our investors will continue to support our work even once this project is complete.”

The Giving Bond

“The SKETCH creation of the Giving Bond has been amazing,” says Cathy. SKETCH is the first organization in Canada to utilize this form of a community bond. How it works: an investor purchases the bond, they receive their full principal back at the end of the term and the interest is donated to SKETCH. The investor then receives a tax receipt for the donation.

Charity giving bond

In a sense, the Giving Bond allows investors to make a donation, and gives the charity an interest free loan. “Lots of organizations just get tripped up by the notion of making the interest payments. So for many organizations, it might be easier for them to consider if it can be viewed as an interest free loan,” says Cathy.

The keys to success

One of the main reasons that SKETCH has succeeded, in Cathy’s opinion, is that they had a donor base that would support this kind of initiative. “They have great relationships with their supporters and a sizable group of people that they could reach out to from the get go.”

They also had experience with major gift fundraising, which was a great starting point for them. This meant that they already had a lot of the necessary infrastructure in place. They were able to take these existing tools and knowledge and pivot to effectively communicate with investors, whom require different messaging from donors. 

“The other thing is that people love Rudy,” Cathy says with a big smile. Rudy Ruttimann is the Executive Director of SKETCH and the lead on Project Home. “She is a force to be reckoned with.”

“She was just so determined that this was going to succeed, that people got caught up with that enthusiasm, and believed in it because she believed in it so strongly.” Of course, Rudy also has an amazing team supporting her, to whom Cathy gives her kudos. It was SKETCH’s volunteer financial consultant, Michael Sacke, who initially put forward the idea of alternative financing, and he was a champion for the idea of community bonds from the start.

Some advice to charities interested in Community Bonds

“Prepare for some nail biting,” she says with a grin. “It’s not for the faint of heart. There will certainly be moments of doubt, and ups and downs, but in the end it can really pay off. This is something really cutting edge and exciting, and people want to be part of that.”

Are you interested in using community bonds to raise investment for your charity? Get in touch at info@tapestrycapital.ca.

Can Community Bonds be held in Tax-Advantaged Accounts? 

Par | Education, Policy and Advocacy

Community bonds are a social finance tool that allow non-profits, charities and co-operatives to raise investment from their community of supporters. Like a regular bond, they are an interest bearing loan that is repaid at maturity. Similarly, they have a fixed term and a set interest rate.

The key difference is that they produce both a financial and social return for investors.

Community bonds are most often used to raise capital financing for the purchase or renovation of a fixed asset, such as real estate or major equipment. At Tapestry, we’ve worked on community bond raises for everything from solar energy projects, to co-working spaces, to schools, and we are learning about new and exciting projects every week. 

As community bonds become more commonplace, their demand has increased significantly. In 2020, Tapestry supported issuers in raising $18.3 million in investment. 

One of the questions which we are frequently asked is, “Can community bonds be held in tax-advantaged accounts?” 

To answer that question, we spoke to Erica Glueck, our Senior Manager of Investments at Tapestry. 

 

What are tax-advantaged accounts?

Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) and Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) are two types of tax-advantaged accounts that were created by the Canadian Government as a means to support Canadians in saving for their retirement. 

“You can think of TFSAs and RRSPs as a basket”, says Erica. “You can pick what to put in that basket from an array of financial products – guaranteed investment certificates (GICs), cash, stocks and bonds.”

 

So if bonds are allowed in tax-advantages accounts, are community bonds as well?

Headshot

Erica Glueck, Senior Manager of Investments at Tapestry Community Capital

“The short answer is, ‘it depends’”, says Erica. “The organization that is issuing the bonds will have to meet certain conditions in order to make this a possibility for their investors.” 

First, the organization must be raising bonds that are secured against a traditional mortgage loan or a capital asset. “So if the organization is purchasing a building, or renovating a building they already own, this is a first great step,” she explains. 

The second step is finding willing financial institutions to be custodians for these bonds in a registered plan. 

Community bonds are what we call exempt market securities – or in plain English – they cannot be bought and sold on the public market.

The exemptions that allow for non-profits, charities and co-ops to raise investment in this way also make clear that they cannot have ‘dealers’ who are being paid to sell bonds on behalf of the issuing organization.

“This can sometimes be a challenge,” says Erica, “because there is no incentive for a brokerage or financial institution to support investors in getting their bonds held in a tax-advantaged account.”

But fear not, there are several great financial institutions who are already custodians for community bonds. Questrade, Caldwell Securities and Concentra are a few that we are aware of. 

In order to get these financial institutions on board, the issuing organization will need an Opinion Letter from a tax lawyer or an accountant. 

Erica explains, “The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) decides what can be deemed a qualified investment for these accounts. Bond debt that is secured against a mortgaged property is one way they can meet the necessary criteria. The safest way though, is to have a chartered accountant or lawyer interpret the Income Tax Act as it pertains to your project and investment opportunity.”

It’s important to know that ultimately the decision is at the discretion of financial institutions, and that this is something that Tapestry and the Issuer can’t control.

 

What are the benefits of having community bonds eligible for tax-advantaged accounts?

Lots of Canadians max out their contributions to their RRSPs and TFSA’s not only to save for retirement, but to reduce the taxes that they need to pay on those funds. This means that a lot of wealth within Canada is in these accounts.

An individual might not have a lot of cash available, but may have a significant amount saved in one of these accounts. 

Retirement savings“Because there are restrictions on withdrawals from these types of accounts,” says Erica, “most of the money remains locked in place there – making it difficult, for say Bob Smith, to withdraw $2,000 to invest in a community bond.”

“If Bob can suddenly hold that bond in his TFSA or RRSP,” she explains, “there is no need to withdraw that capital.” Enabling community bonds to be held in these accounts unlocks more potential investment. 

“It’s a good way to leverage someone’s savings plan, rather than making them go through the extra effort of drumming up additional savings to invest in an organization they believe in.”

How important is it that community bonds are TFSA and RRSP eligible?

“It’s definitely worthwhile to explore,” says Erica, “but I don’t think it’s a make-or-break situation if the Issuer’s bonds are not a qualified investment.”

Of Tapestry’s clients, only around 10 percent of investments are held in these accounts. “Especially if clients have a lower minimum entry point – say $500 or $1,000 – the need for this vehicle is definitely less.”

Community bonds are great because they can be priced to be so widely accessible, democratizing the impact investment arena,” she says emphatically.

“We are seeing a growing number of younger investors with community bonds, and many investors are at a point in their lives where they aren’t taking advantage of these tax-advantaged accounts yet, but are in a financial situation where they can invest $1,000 in an organization they believe in.”

 

What types of organizations should consider making their bonds RRSP and TFSA eligible?

“We always recommend to clients that they consider this option if they feel their community would have significant funds saved in tax-advantaged accounts”, says Erica. “The best way to assess this is through simply speaking to your potential investors before you launch your bond campaign.”

 

“It can be a bit of a process to establish, but if investors are really keen on having this option, it can pay off in the long run,” Erica advises. 

It is important to note that there are some additional costs with going this route, so issuers should be prepared for this. For example, it’s necessary to obtain a new opinion letter for every year that the bond is held.

 

Any last thoughts on the subject?

“I’d just say that financial markets need to start paying attention to these investors.”

“More and more, we are seeing that people are not just interested in making a financial return, but want to know that their money is doing something good. Just because financial institutions aren’t as familiar with these investment products, it doesn’t mean they are necessarily bad or risky investments to be making.”

“The more people want to buy and hold these investments in registered accounts, the more the industry will need to pay attention to investor needs and streamline the process to make it possible.”

Woman working on a laptop

The Best Tool to Manage your Community Investors

Par | Education

In the age of Google, there are many manual-entry methods available for calculating interest payments. Whether it’s spreadsheets or giant accounting books, you know as well as we do that they aren’t sustainable, cost a lot of human-power (and with that, the potential for human error!), and aren’t scalable. That’s why at Tapestry, our Investment Management Services are backed by a powerful little engine we adoringly call Atticus.

Why Atticus?

We could tell you that our software was inspired by the literary character Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. He certainly represents all that we believe in – justice, morality, fairness. But to tell you that would be a small fib.

…because Atticus is really named after a dog. And not just any dog, but the pride and joy of Tapestry’s former Community Investment Manager, Greg Goubko.

Our software, which Greg customized, refined and improved over the years became something of a child to him. Like his dog, Atticus became his loyal, intelligent and reliable companion. And so, it seems fitting that he leave a mark of his legacy with this special name.

And now, why use Atticus?

Forget Your Spreadsheets and Calculators

Atticus is a powerful database and accounting system at its core. It was custom-designed and built to aid in raising and managing community bonds. Atticus’ brain has the ability to calculate complex or simple bond configurations. We don’t waste time scrolling through sheets of data in Excel. And you shouldn’t either.

Trust in Data

Your data is safe with Atticus. Our system is secure and reliable. Our data is encrypted and stored right here in Canada. Our data is backed up nightly, weekly, and monthly all throughout the year. We comply with internal policies when accessing data and we never, ever transmit information unless necessitated by law.

Atticus Tracks Our Progress and Workflows

Raising a bond is exciting; it’s where the magical moments for your community happen. Managing a bond is where the practical deliverables need to be met. Atticus helps us keep on top of the thousands of bonds we currently manage. The system was designed to align with our workflows and ensure we don’t ever miss a step in the care of investments.

Reports

We’re able to create customized reports to do some hard analysis work. Whether it is a big-picture overview of an organization and its investors, or its getting to the granular details of daily transactions and calculations – if you ask Atticus about a number, it can answer it pretty quickly.

Communication

Atticus built with the ability to integrate seamlessly with third-party email services. It allows us to work in things like transactional emails to investors with the click of a button. Investors are alerted automatically when they purchase a community bond.

How does a community bond campaign work?

Par | Education

Community Bonds are a proven social finance instrument that allow people of average means to transform from occasional donors into citizen investors, giving them the opportunity to align their money with their values. Once we have worked with your organization to determine that a Community Bond is a good fit, your organization will be ready to launch a Community Bond campaign!

The Tapestry Process will guide your organization from workshop to successful campaign in 12 months. This ensures that the campaign will be managed effectively, and every step needed to have the campaign be a success is put in place:

The Tapestry Process

  1. Structure
  2. Raise
  3. Manage

A clear process takes the guess work out of developing a community bond, and helps you  focus your energy on actually bringing the project to life, knowing that the required funding will be secured.

Community Bond - Planning and Feasibility
Planning and Feasibility (Typically 3 months)

Before we begin a Community Bond campaign with our clients, we have a range of services that allow us to prepare our clients for a successful campaign, and ensure that the intended project is a good fit for a community bond. Among these services, the Planning and Feasibility phase is one of the most crucial. This pre-campaign process allows us to test if a project will be successful. Some of the factors we look for include:

  1. Is this a project the community would be excited about?
  2. Is the project well defined?
  3. How much of the funds can be raise through the Community Bond?
  4. How will revenue be generated to repay the bonds?
  5. What bond price and interest rate will be attractive to the community of investor

Upfront work helps to avoid unpleasant surprises well into the campaign, and guides the structuring of the community bond.

Tapestry’s role

Even before the Feasibility Assessment, Tapestry offers a Community Bond Accelerator workshop where we conduct an initial assessment of the project idea. If we determine that the idea is viable, we’ll invite you to participate in the Planning and Feasibility phase. This includes:

  • Investor Research
  • Financial Feasibility
  • Resource Planning

One of the major deliverables that is produced from this phase, is a financial model that can be presented to investors, and clearly outlines the bond repayment plan. We bring our years of experience to help you determine if a Community Bond fits your project and forecasts the resource demands on your organization.

Community Bond - StructureStructuring the Bond (Typically 3 months)

Structuring the bond refers to all of the communications and resources that have to be brought together or created to issue a bond. On the most basic level, this refers to the bond prospectus or offering statement. This document provides potential investors with all the information they need to know about the organization and the bond before making an investment decision.

Once this work is complete, a strategy and tools focussed on effectively educating the community on the project, and selling the bond have to be developed. This can include a marketing and communications strategy, campaign website, and a variety of marketing collateral.

Finally, resources should be considered to communicate with investors for the life of the bond following the completion of the campaign. A bond campaign does not end once the raise is over–investors are interested in the project, and receive interest payments over the life of the bond. In addition, the capital investment is typically repaid at the end of the bond term. As such, some mechanism for tracking, communicating with, and paying investors on a regular basis needs to be put in place.

Tapestry’s role

Our structure module can more accurately be described as the structure and infrastructure module. It is during this time that we leverage all of the information that we gathered from your organization through the planning and feasibility module, to build the perfect bond campaign for your community!

This includes the development of a business plan, creation of an offering statement and investment package, required legal work, development of a campaign website and marketing strategy, and configuration of our investor management platform Atticus.  We help design campaigns that have all of the elements to attract community investors, corporate investors, institutional investors.

Community Bond - Raise

Raising the Investment (6 months)

Once your Community Bond is structured, it is time to raise the required capital to finance your community project! It’s at this time that your organization will engage in activities to both educate your community about the project and sell community bonds.

The most successful community bond campaigns have had a combination of both citizen investors, and institutional investors (often in the form of foundations).

It will take a strategy of ongoing and timely engagement to keep the momentum of your Community Bond campaign going, and to ensure that the full raise can be achieved.

Tapestry’s role:

Tapestry provides both the resources and expertise to supplement the experience already present on your organization’s team. We work alongside your organization to manage the community bond campaign and bond investors by: ensuring that key events are held; managing the distribution of important communication materials to investors; and closely monitoring milestones for the life of the campaign. With our assistance, your organization will be able to turn your passive supporters into active investors.

Community Bond - Manage

Community Bond Management (Ongoing)

The time allotted for a campaign raise is fixed, and once it has concluded, your focus will shift to managing investors for the life of the bond.  Investor management includes: investor onboarding, monthly/annual reporting, interest distributions, tax documention, and redemptions at maturity.

This step should not be overlooked. Aside from the legal requirements, it is important because happy investors are more inclined to reinvest in future projects!

Tapestry’s role

We help support communication with the Community Bond investors for the life of the bond. We’re able to do this effectively through the use of our proprietary investor management platform, Atticus. With our processes and through Atticus, we have been able to raise and manage $61 million dollars from 4400 investors.

What’s Next?

Community Bonds can be effectively leveraged for a variety of projects. While the process can seem daunting, the support of a partner like Tapestry makes it simple to manage.

Do you think you have a project that would be a good fit? Click the link below to contact us and start your project or attend our next Community Bond 101 webinar.

Get in Touch

X