We Reaching for the Stars with a Self-Funding Campaign and Raised $50k
UPDATE 8/1/23. We reached for the stars and we managed to touch them! After doubling our goals for our “July Challenge” campaign, we reached our challenge goal of $50,000 before midnight on July 31, 2023! A big thank you to all our new members! Read on to learn about why we doubled our goals for self-reliance and independence.
We’re announcing the launch of an exciting, month-long campaign today with a question:
What if we could finance ourselves 100% through memberships and revenue?
This is our collective challenge this July: can we unite together enough to double our July membership goals to $50,000, and double our email list, to keep total control of our co-op?
The timing is perfect. July 1 is the UN International Day of Co-ops, which gives us a unique opportunity to celebrate the power of collective action and the cooperative movement. On this day, we not only honor the achievements of cooperative enterprises worldwide but also embrace the spirit of collaboration and self-reliance.
Why We’re Doubling Our Goals for July
In the world of tech startups and venture capital, the pursuit of success – particularly with a website – often relies on external funding. But even with co-op friendly funders and grantmakers, the pursuit and maintenance of those investors takes precious attention away from our core goals of helping artisans.
What if we could chart a different path—one that empowers us to shape our own destiny and build a sustainable foundation by rallying together?
In our previously shared Funding Plan, we anticipated needing to raise $250k for our year-one operating expenses. In that plan, we assumed that the vast majority of this large dollar amount would come from investors or loans as a necessity, and once we began creating revenue, we would begin to pay off those loans and investments.
But today, armed with a new financial model produced by the talents of our in-house artisans and already at 75% (as of this writing) of our two-month capital campaign goal of $25,000, we believe there could be another – better – way.
Achieving our $50,000 goal will cover our minimum anticipated expenses until we start earning revenue. Without a large, lump-sum investment, we will do more of our marketing as creative grassroots campaigns and delay hiring until we can organically afford to pay living wages.
We’ll be relying on our passionate team of organizers and members, who are all incentivized by our points & tiers system. And that team can stay laser-focused on building a successful website for revenue, not for investor whims and bank justifications. Revenue means sales for artisans and the co-op, and aligns our values.
By relying wholly on membership funds, we can prioritize our members’ needs and goals first, maintain our independence, retain full control over our vision, and stay true to our mission.
Although a self-funded co-op website may seem brave and ambitious, it is actually the old-fashioned way. Until recently and for over a hundred years, this is how all co-ops were started: entirely from their own members pooling their funds and talents. With artisans and their followers, family, friends, and fans, we have a vast pool to activate, and our success to date shows that we’re on the right path.
That’s why we’re raising the stakes and aiming for $50,000 by July 31st. We want to transcend modern investment models and firmly root Artisans Cooperative’s funding plan in the values of the broader cooperative movement: solidarity, cooperation, and sustainable growth through collective action and collaboration.
To make this ambitious endeavor a reality, we have two requests:
- Become a founding member today if you haven’t already.
- Join our 31-day challenge — it will be fun and there will be prizes!
Join the 31-Day “Grow the Co-op” Campaign
The campaign consists of 31 challenges from July 1-31:
- Each of the challenges should take no more than about a half-hour to complete – some as little as 5 minutes.
- The challenges will be given as a complete list up-front and can be completed in any order and in your own timeframe.
- The challenges include a mix of introvert and extrovert activities to help the co-op and artisans thrive, plus a weekly, self-care “recharge” activity!
Prizes will be given for completion of challenges:
- Grand Prize: If you complete all 31 challenges you will receive a digital copy of a special e-book created by our community with the theme “Make It / Own It” – and the opportunity to contribute to the book yourself! Expect drawings, poems, recipes, illustrations, craft guides, drops of wisdom, co-op history, and more! In addition, you’ll also receive the digital prize package from the Consolation Prize.
- Consolation Prize: If you complete at least 10 challenges, you will receive a prize package of digital fundraiser goodies created by our artisans. This will include such things as cross-stitch patterns, digital wallpaper featuring Brook our chicken mascot, coloring pages, and more!
- Bonus Referrals Prize: If you successfully refer 2 new members you will get an exclusive invitation to a virtual workshop tour series this autumn. You can “meet the makers,” take a tour of their workshops, and have the opportunity for Q&A with artisans practicing their crafts.
- Plus Member Points! And of course – members earn points for the time spent on the challenges! Join as a member right away and earn your membership with our ready-to-go menu of member activities.
Anyone can join the campaign and do any number of the activities. Each participant will track their own activities with a copy of the challenge checklist. To claim their prizes, participants can either submit their completed checklists via email (email@example.com) which includes a space for self-reporting on each activity, or use our convenient Jotform. We must receive the claims no later than Friday, August 4, 2023 to be eligible. See below for official contest rules.
Let’s Rewrite the Rules
United in purpose, we are eager to show the world what we can do when we work together.
This one-month challenge inside our two-month capital campaign is about more than just raising funds. It is also about amplifying a movement and setting up our marketplace launch for success. Let’s do this, together!
Official Contest Rules
- The co-op must receive a completed, truthful, and accurate challenge checklist in our email inbox by Friday, August 4, 2023 to qualify for all prizes. Send lists to firstname.lastname@example.org. Challenge checklists will be emailed automatically once participants sign-up with their email list on this form page (check your spam folder if you don’t see it within a few hours). The participant’s email address must be provided in the checklist order to transmit the digital prizes.
- The “Make It / Own It” grand prize e-book will be provided digitally after the contest is over (by the end of summer) to contestants who completed all 31 challenges, according to their completed checklist submission. Artisans Cooperative reserves the right to not publish every page submission received, in its sole editorial discretion. The book will also most likely be available for purchase as a fundraiser item after the campaign is over.
- The Consolation prize will consist of a package of several digital rewards created by our artisans with a co-op theme. It will be awarded upon submission of all checklists that have completed at least 10 challenges.
- The Referrals prize is in addition to the checklist-submission prize. An invitation to a virtual workshop tour, which will include at least 3 live video tours of maker workshops and the chance to ask Q&A with the maker, will be awarded after the second new member joins listing the referrer’s name and email on their membership application. Referral awards need not have completed any number of prizes to be eligible for the virtual workshop tour invitation, but they still must submit the completed challenge list, no matter how many challenges were performed. Referrals must join the co-op by August 31, 2023 to be eligible for the referrer’s prize award, and the workshop tours will be scheduled afterwards in the autumn of 2023.
About Artisans Cooperative
We are growing an online handmade marketplace for an inclusive network of creatives: a co-op alternative to Etsy.
Shop the marketplace!