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We Raised $19,500 to Double Our Community

Our community just raised $19,500 in 0% interest loans! Here is how we'll invest that to double our community.

Our mission is to help Indiana become carbon neutral ASAP.

We take a holistic, systems approach and experiment with high leverage projects like:

We sell verified carbon offsets as a fundraiser. Most organizations that sell offsets are for-profit:

For-Profit Startups vs. Non-Profit Startups

Here's how many grow for-profit startups:

  • Come up with an idea
  • Create a team
  • Get seed funding ($25K-$100K) from incubators like Y Combinator, Techstars, etc.
  • Build a prototype
  • Get a few customers
  • Get more seed funding ($250K-$500K) from AngelList, etc.
  • Get multiple rounds of venture capital to scale ($1M-$100M)

There are thousands of incubators that help startups get going and millions of angel investors that provide that first $250-$500K.

The community and pipeline for for-profit startup companies is massive. That's a great thing.

The community and pipeline for non-profit startup companies is... almost non-existent. That's a bad thing.

But it's starting to change, and Carbon Neutral Indiana is apart of that change..

Enter Kiva:

Kiva enables anyone to make 0% interest loans to social entrepreneurs.

For example, maybe a widow in India needs $200 to buy a sewing machine.

Astonishingly, 97% of loan recipients on Kiva pay back the loan.

So in addition to making normal donations, you can also loan money, empowering entrepreneurs in unusual or challenging circumstances.

Entrepreneurs like non-profit founders!

Recent CNI Member Meetings

A few weeks ago, we hosted meetings for our members and had 100 RSVPs. Here is the video. If you haven't seen it you oughta.

(For context, Hoosier Environmental Council has been around for 37 years, has a $1M budget, and has 17 staff doing good work. They had 350 attendees at their recent annual event.)

At the member meetings, we discussed how we've experimented with marketing techniques like distributing door hangers in Bloomington and Indianapolis. Here's a photo of Rebecca Stoops, Jonah Schrum, and me:

We've distributed about 1,700 so far, and they've caused six people to become carbon neutral. That's about 1: 280.

One of those people is Vera Flocke:

"My name is Vera Flocke, and I'm an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Indiana University...

I’ve heard a lot about carbon offsetting over the years... Usually it seems opaque though... I like that [CNI is] local and transparent. Now that I’m carbon neutral I feel much better about living in Indiana!


(Read Vera's full climate story here.)

But guess what? There are a lot more people like Vera out there, waiting to learn just two things:

  1. It's easy to measure your carbon trash (it only takes a 15 minute phone call) and
  2. It's affordable to clean it up (about $15 per person)

How can we be so sure?

According to researchers at Yale University, over 50% of Hoosiers are "worried" about climate.

And according to researchers at University of Chicago, 23% of Americans are willing to contribute $40/mo to climate. That's about the cost for the average household to clean up its "carbon trash."

Door hangers take a lot of time!

So what if we mailed postcards?

And what if -- to lessen their environmental impact -- we used 100% recycled paper, planted ten trees for each one used, and made the mailings themselves carbon neutral?

Enter Alli Williams...

Alli Williams is carbon neutral up in Valparaiso, IN, and she designed the postcards:

It costs about $0.34 to print and mail one to a household. So we raised a $9,500 loan on Kiva. And Dr. Anne Greist made a separate $10,000 loan.

$19,500 will enable us to send postcards to about 57,000 households. This should result in:

  • Helping 340 households measure their carbon footprints
  • 170 new carbon neutral households
  • "Cleaning up" 6,000 tons of carbon trash
  • Averting $1.3M in social damages
  • Installing 100 yard signs seen by 500,000 drivers daily

To be environmentally positive with this project we:

  • Printed on 100% recycled paper (which costs 44% more)
  • Are planting ten trees for each one used
  • Are making the mailings carbon neutral

Learn more about the postcards here, including seeing a video of Alli Williams explain the design process.

We can even use Every Door Direct Mail by the USPS to target specific neighborhoods in central Indiana, like Broad Ripple, Meridian Kessler, and others:

But even this is just the beginning.

Once we spin off as an independent 501c3, we can do what's called a "direct public offering" with a platform like Wefunder, and raise $100K-$250K or more for growth.

Thank You to Our Investors:

CNI community:

Others on Kiva:

  • Tamar, a nurse in Seattle
  • Richard, a Professor in Canada
  • Jill, a veterinarian in Wisconsin
  • Aluna, a counselor in Florida
  • Kari, a nurse in Missouri
  • Trent in Washington DC
  • William in New York
  • Diane
  • Jordan
  • Jessica
  • Nisha
  • Martin
  • Alexander
  • Olena
  • Jon
  • A few anonymous people

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