This is a humble brag blog.
$6,210,000. That’s how much we’ve helped our clients access in capital for their social enterprises and nonprofit organizations. It sounds easy. Sometimes it is, most of the time it’s not.
This funding has allowed Prospera Partners’ clients to work on their business plans, expansions, and programs through hard work, persistence, and trusting us to help guide them.
We don’t mess around. We don’t chase funding. We are strategic. We make sure our clients are asking for what they need. We seek out funders that align with our client’s values. Funding for our clients has ranged from $50,000 to $1.5 million, for everything from startup funds for brick and mortar businesses to economic development projects that support entrepreneurs to expansion for their businesses or programs.
The truth is, not all of our clients have perfect credit, collateral, or the ability to walk into a bank to ask for a loan, with all their paperwork in order. What they do have, however, is a social impact mission. They didn’t become social entrepreneurs or want to run nonprofit orgs to write business plans or pitch to banks or funders. They would prefer to focus on building their business to fulfill their mission any day. That’s where we step in. We help create strong business plans and strategic plans.
Our process often includes in-depth conversations where we pull out every idea they have, then pull apart those ideas, build on them, and put them into doable plans – all with a social impact lens.
When it comes time to talk about funding, we get creative with our clients, brainstorming all options available, and look for the lending programs that match the client’s mission. Above all, we are supportive, staying with them throughout the process because we see it as a partnership not just another client project. We are there to help celebrate the wins and there on the hard days to offer a listening ear and encouragement for when things might not work out as planned.
We prepare our clients for funding conversations with thoughtful strategies and well-crafted plans. In the case of nonprofits, we are often contracted for long-term strategic planning and implementation which means we know the organization inside and out, backwards and forwards, and can help find funders and build relationships with those funders on behalf of the clients.
We have built trusted relationships with our clients and with funders. We help do matchmaking, because not all funders are alike.
Of course, we love nontraditional funders. Especially the ones interested in funding good work, full stop. We look for funders that are no nonsense, have easy application processes, and above all, want to see impact not measurements. They want to hear stories, not read data points. They want to know the good and bad along the way in the process and they can be there when things fall apart to help pivot. These types of funders can often feel like unicorns, but, once you find one, they are worth cultivating relationships with.
Funding mechanisms we work with:
- Pitch Contests: We find pitch contests that resonate with your social enterprise plans or nonprofit programs. These can often provide monetary awards and technical assistance or consulting services alongside the award.
- Impact Investors: These investors are interested in the social returns on their investments in addition to the profitable ones. They will often lend at lower than market rates, work with social entrepreneurs on their business plans, and can play a mentor or advisory role.
- Foundations: Community foundations, corporate foundations, family foundations all provide grants for nonprofit general operations or programming.
- SBA Lenders: The US Small Business Administration is a government agency that provides lending and support to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Some SBA lenders even focus on Women and Minority Owned Business Enterprises (WMBEs).
- Federal Grants: For some organizations with the capacity, infrastructure, and track record of success, federal grants are a great option. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have programs to support nonprofit organizations, enterprises, and technical assistance providers.
- CDFIs: Community Development Financial Institutions are lenders that use federal funds to invest in the private sector. They are often focused on supporting economically disadvantaged communities, and sometimes provide technical assistance in addition to the loan.
- Credit Unions and Community Lending Programs: We find local programs that partner with local credit unions or other lending programs that focus on growing entrepreneurs that typically cannot access capital.
We’ve been in the economic development and social entrepreneur world for a long time, and that means we have developed relationships over the years, and we know where the supportive and accessible lenders are. We stay on top of the lending trends. We make it our mission to lift up these funders because we need more of them in order for our social entrepreneurs to be successful.
We are here for your social impact ideas – reach out if we can help!