Membership shareholder dashboard - know any simple solutions?

I’ve been contacted today by SouthGen, a charitable community benefit society), a charitable community benefit society in Suffolk which is renovating an old hospital brought by community - converting into a coworking space, affordable housing and library.

This is a holding website, and they have a contractor on board to build a Wordpress website where members & community can find out about the project, book coworking space etc.

The reason for contacting, is they want a dashboard for all the shareholders (expect to be circa 70 people) who bought shares in the cooperative to

  • be able to see how there investment is doing - see how much they have, interest earned
  • opt to reinvest
  • opt to draw money out (transfer would be done offline)

They have explored various off the shelf solutions but many are too complex - they are expecting they will need to pay a per user subscription service. They are looking for some advice to any tools, solutions anyone knows about, or if anyone is interested to support them (I don’t think there is any budget though, or at least minimal!)

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Sadly I don’t think something like this does exist :frowning:

Although it is obviously something that should!

I know a while back (April 2016) @siborkin was trying to make something (the latest iteration of something) like this happen called ‘Our Society’ (which support from people at Outlandish so perhaps @harry or simon can tell us more?) , but sadly I don’t think it went anywhere? :frowning:

Simon: am I OK to post the 18pp PDF you sent me about the idea here?

For my own part, it’s been obvious to me we need to create something like this since at least Feb 2011 when I posted this: https://uniteddiversity.coop/crowdfunding-cooperative/

And I believe that had Emily Mackay who started Microgenius (originally a crowdfunding platform just for community shares in energy co-ops, hence the name, a reference to micro generation), handed the platform over to myself instead of selling it to Co-ops UK/ Community Shares Unit that it would’ve since turned into something much like what I outlined above (instead of closing down and just being replaced by this listing https://communityshares.org.uk/share-offers/microgenius - which the old url http://www.microgenius.org.uk/ doesn’t even redirect to).

These days it seems most Community Shares done online are done via Crowdfunder (in partnership with Dave Boyle of https://communityshares.co.uk/ ).

Somewhat frustratingly, the platform that became Crowdfunder (originally Peoplefund.it) was funded by Nesta with the stipulation that it be an open source platform, but in the end only a single undocumented snap shot of the code was ever published, and now even that has disappeared too (it was at https://github.com/keofilms/Peoplefund.it ).

peoplefundit

I had a great meeting with someone involved with PeopleFund.it before they even built the platform and strongly suggested it be a platform for doing community shares as at the time no one was doing it, but alas they didn’t (until many years later) :frowning:

(at the time I was also arguing for it to be made in Drupal(!) but they hand coded it in PHP instead - there is a funny thread where they told me their developers didn’t want to use Drupal as they like PHP and I informed them that Drupal is PHP)

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Thanks for the history @jdaviescoates - I was aware of some but not all of that. I know that Jon Halle at Sharenergy (https://sharenergy.coop) is working on something in this regard, and that André at https://www.coenergy.app is doing something in this space, although I’m concerned that the tech stack he’s building on is proprietary and may be a costly strategic issue in future. At https://platform6.coop we are in ongoing discussion about trying to do something. There is clearly a need and has been for some years now. What’s been lacking so far it seems is the vision from someone with the cash/capacity to actually get the relatively simply tools built and released, ideally without reinventing the wheel, so that ordinary co-ops can adopt and use them.

My personal approach would be to build the functionality as something like an extension to CiviCRM, which could then be relatively easily implemented as part of a Drupal/Wordpress/Joomla website.

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Thanks for the mention @jdaviescoates!

In terms of all things Microgenius / Our Society - this was about providing a dedicated crowdfunding platform for administering the community share raise itself rather than providing a tool for subsequent shareholder management. I am still quite proud of what we did with Microgenius in the time it was running as it helped grow the market for good quality share offers that I believe attracted Ethex and Crowdfunder into the space. I was naturally disappointed that we couldn’t move it into a separate co-operative entity (i.e. the Our Society idea) but we decided it was best that the CSU concentrated on standards rather than try and compete with the crowdfunding platforms that specialise in this type of stuff. I think this has probably been the right move because our Standards work alone has taken up most of our time with our limited resources!

However, I agree that there is probably a more acute need from societies for subsequent shareholder / member management than the actual investment raise as there are a number of platforms groups can use to raise the funds online…

For what it’s worth, I have developed something for the society I am treasurer of (Friends of Stretford Public Hall) with Airtable and looks like it’s going to work really well for us. We have over 800 investors so I have been using the API and integrations to allow members to access their Airtable records and so can provide a “portal” feature which it looks like what Southgen need @annie? I know it’s proprietary etc. but they have a good non-profit discount so works out at about £300-400 per year with the pro version - and it’s really powerful / easy to use so I think it’s good for small community co-ops with limited tech budgets / in-house tech expertise. So until something else comes along, I can recommend it!

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There was an Access based database developed by Radical Routes in the UK specifically for managing share accounts. I can’t remember who developed it but they were touting it around the early community shares sector.

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Thank you! This sounds a good solution @siborkin - would you be able to support SouthGen if they wanted to go down this route? I’m going to share the info here with them - or you could contact directly marta.dyersmith@gmail.com who is building the Wordpress site for them.

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Yes I believe they’ve spoken with coenergy, but it is proprietary which was the issue I believe. Good idea re the CiviCRM - I am sharing this info with Marta who is supporting SouthGen with the Wordpress site - she may want to get in contact directly if thats okay?

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I have to say that I think it was a strategic error to let the Microgenius platform die and not keep that capability in co-operative hands. We now see a lot of revenue going into non-coop pockets and a fragmentation (and hence lower visibility in my view) of cooperative crowdfunding as a result.

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Very happy to talk to Marta/SouthGen.

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Thanks @annie - yep happy to support them if they are keen on this route. I will email Marta now.

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Hi Annie, we currently maintain a system that does all of the above as well as handling the co-op’s share-run each year.

Unfortunately it is a bespoke solution that we do not have the rights for. We could contact the Co-op who owns it and ask if they’d be interested in sharing any knowledge/software if you like, however it would be completely dependent on them.

We are however, happy to offer our expertise we’ve picked up for the system if needed.

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Hi Simon,

Would love to hear from you, please email me on marta.dyersmith@gmail.com

Thank you

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Hi Graham,

Would be really interested hearing your thoughts. Please drop me a line on marta.dyersmith@gmail.com

Thanks

Marta

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