Do you own an Upper Valley business that is suffering due to the effects of the pandemic and could use a little help from your friends? TLC 4WARD Upper Valley is here for you.

The Local Crowd (TLC) 4WARD Upper Valley is a community-based crowdfunding platform designed to address the local economic impact of the pandemic response on the local businesses that are the backbone of our community. A partnership between The Local Crowd, and Vital Communities, TLC 4WARD encourages community members to pay it forward so that your business will still be here on the other side of this crisis. TLC 4WARD Upper Valley provides and easy-to-use online platform that collects donations from the community to support the businesses they love.

Two ways for businesses to participate: 

  1. Create your own crowdfunding campaign, similar to a GoFundMe campaign. The Local Crowd can provide training modules, technical support, and Vital Communities will help promote your efforts. These types of campaigns offer multiple donation amounts and corresponding  “rewards” (tokens of appreciation) which you would be responsible for. This site can also be used as a place to sell gift cards or other products. All contributions flow directly into your bank account (less the 3%+/- credit card fees) as the donations are made. You will need a Stripe or similar account. Email tlc@vitalcommunities.org if you have questions. Apply to build and run a TLC 4WARD campaign of your own.
  2. Be part of a multi-business campaign created by Vital Communities. We’ll create and host 12 geography and sector-based umbrella campaigns that can collect donations for many businesses, each identified as a individual story with an image and text that you provide and that contributors and specifically support. For example, we’ll unite White River Junction businesses into one campaign and have a campaign for area restaurants. This is a lighter lift for smaller businesses and potentially easier for the community to fund all of the businesses they love in one easy, secure transaction. Donation amount is determined by the donor. No Rewards are expected, and you can use your story to promote your curbside service, gift card opportunities, or your online store. Mascoma Bank will handle dispersing the donations by ACH (less the 3% credit card fee) to the participating businesses (see dispersal terms below). Fill out application to be part of a multi-business campaign.

Please consult with your tax advisor regarding the tax implications of your election to participate.  Nothing in this communication is intended to constitute legal or tax advice.

General Eligibilty:

Open to Local First member businesses impacted by the pandemic. Local First membership is now free for all locally-owned businesses and organizations (see criteria below) with an “Economic Recovery Membership”. Join Local First now!

  • Local First membership is open to businesses and organizations in the 69-town service area of Vital Communities that meet the following criteria:
  • Registered in the state of New Hampshire or Vermont, with no corporate or national headquarters outside the respective state
  • All marketing, rent, and other business expenses paid without the assistance from, or payment to a corporate headquarters
  • Able to make independent decisions regarding name and appearance, as well as all purchasing, supply and distribution practices
  • The owner is (or majority of owners) a local resident who lives within Vermont and New Hampshire for more than half the year
  • If the business has multiple outlets/branches, the majority shall be located in New Hampshire and Vermont
  • Locally owned franchises are eligible if franchisee has exercised independent decisions regarding name and appearance of business.

Expectations:

Vital Communities has no variance power over the donations collected through TLC 4WARD.

Businesses are required to withdraw from the program and notify Vital Communities if they permanently close.

 

Solo Business Campaign:
Vital Communities and The Local Crowd are providing the TLC platform as a free service to Local First members. The business is responsible for creating and building your campaign on the TLC site. We can provide instructional modules to help you create and launch a successful campaign. There is modest assistance available from the TLC folks if you hit snags or have tech questions.  You will be responsible for fulfilling the rewards. Expect to spend 8 hours building the campaign (creating text, adding photos, adding rewards, connecting Stripe, etc) and lots of hours promoting it to your networks. Email with questions and apply here to build a solo campaign for your business.

Joint Multi-Business Campaign:
Vital Communities will build and promote this initiative, but your help sharing with your customers and networks will be critical. To participate:

Disbursement of donations for the joint campaigns: Due to the technical limitations of the platform, only a single bank account can be connected to a campaign. Vital Communities as the campaign creator for the multi-business campaigns and will collect and disburse the donations to each participating business as follows:

ACH funds transfer (preferred, thanks to Mascoma Bank’s offer to waive Cash Management fees for this project)

  • Bi-weekly transfers if a business has received more than $100 in donations less credit card fees. Less than $100 in donations less credit card fees will be transferred monthly

Payout by Check:

  • Monthly for amounts over $500
  • Quarterly for amounts between $100 and $499
  • If dollar amount is below $100, then business get the funds when the project closes

 

Questions? Please contact Nancy LaRowe at nancy@vitalcommunities.org or call 802-291-9100 x106.

 

Photo credit: Molly Drummond