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Capital raising through your crowd: An insider's look

Crowdfunding is a lot of work. A new series will follow social enterprise Thankyou Payroll as they get ready to launch their campaign, put in the hard yards during, and eagerly await to see if their goal will be met. Read on to find out how Thankyou Payroll’s CEO, Christina Bellis, prepares for their equity crowdfunding campaign.

Launching out of a garage in Port Chalmers seven years ago, Thankyou Payroll has processed almost one billion dollars in pays, and has become a staple business tool for more than 4,400 employers across the country. On average we attract 140 new clients each month, and with a 700 percent client growth over the past 3 years, we're pretty sure we're the fastest-growing payroll intermediary.

The team at Thankyou Payroll riding Hale Bopp and Tomoe. Naturally...

I believe the social good elements of Thankyou Payroll play a huge part in what makes us successful. In these 7 years, we’ve done almost no paid advertising and have had no sales staff. Our growth has been organic and primarily word of mouth — because we have a good product and great ethics.

For the planet, we offset our carbon emissions by planting 470 native trees over the last two years in Thankyou Payroll’s hometown of Port Chalmers. We’ve also engaged a Wellington-based company to help us design an improved carbon footprinting tool across our whole business.

The crew planting natives in Port Chambers.

For the wider community, we put 25c of revenue from every pay processed into our charitable trust. Over the last seven years we’ve donated more than $80,000 in cash and $325,000 in-kind to community organisations like Kaibosh and Tunnel House Supper Club. Our trust aims to support communities to grow their resilience, connectedness and wellbeing. Grants range from $100 to $3000, and we have a unique accountability system - all we ask is that recipients attend a potluck dinner and tell their community about how the grant made an impact. What’s cooler, the recipients then become the ones who decide on the next round of funding - because research and personal experience shows that those who live in the community, know best what that community needs.

And now we’ve gone out to our community, to invest in our future growth through equity crowdfunding.

Equity crowdfunding is a new way to reach potential investors in your crowd. For a social enterprise like us, equity crowdfunding was the perfect fit; our business model is one that considers and supports the community, so it makes sense to offer the wider community a piece of the pie!  We wanted to offer the good people of Aotearoa New Zealand a good business investment, and one that offers both social impact and financial return as reward.

Our equity crowdfunding campaign has just gone live, so prepare for a peek into our crazy lives over the past few weeks…

Anna Guenther is founder and CEO of PledgeMe, and Christina Bellis is CEO of Thankyou Payroll.