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What is Divvy?
Divvy is an online platform for community organizations to crowdfund clean power systems and other green infrastructure projects.
How does it work?
A passionate community leader (who we call the "Project Initiator") has the idea to build a clean power system or sustainability project. Through Divvy's unique Project Gateway, the Project Initiator is guided through the process of implementing their idea. Some projects are more complex than the average LED-lightbulb replacement (such as a solar project) and these often require the help of local professionals. As part of the Project Gateway (step 2), Divvy helps the Project Initiator connect with these installers to figure out how much money they need to raise. Once the project is planned and designed, the fundraising starts! The Project Initiator can offer rewards for various levels of contribution. More details can be found here.
What kinds of projects can be listed on Divvy?
Any sustainability project is welcome on the platform.
Who can contribute to Divvy projects?
Anyone around the world with a credit card can contribute to Divvy projects. Obviously, members of the direct community should be addressed first.
Are my contributions safe?
Divvy outsources all payment processing to WePay, a safe and secure platform for online transactions. Divvy never has access to your credit card information.
What are the fees?
Project fundraising goals include a fee for the use of the platform. Divvy uses these funds to maintain and update the platform as well as marketing to further grow the portfolio of green projects. Many platforms let you pay for transaction fees on top of their platform fee (Indiegogo, Kickstarter, GoFundMe, etc.). They often have a fixed + percentage fee per transaction, which can lead you to receiving less than the total amount you were raising for!
To prevent this from happening to you, Divvy pays the WePay fee FOR you and charges a single percentage fee that includes everything: 9%. Verified Non-profits get a discounted fee of 6%.
Who can start a Divvy project?
Communities across the United States can enjoy the benefits of implementing sustainability projects. Project initiators come from all sectors, including education, commercial, residential, government, and religious. We are currently limited to US-based Project Initiators due to our payment processing provider.
Who will receive the funds?
Before a project is listed on the platform, the Project Initiator must link their WePay account. The funds raised by the campaign will go into this individual/business/nonprofit account, after which the collected amount can easily be transferred out to the associated bank account.
Ownership of the system?
In the solar industry, some businesses propose to make the full upfront investment to their customers (for example $10,000), and in return they will charge them over the following years (example: $1,000 for the next 15 years -> $15,000 total!). At Divvy, any crowdfunded project will be fully owned by the Project Initiator or the community organization he/she is associated with. 100% of the environmental, educational and financial benefits will go to the community for years to come.
How do I update my contributors?
During the fundraising process and after the project is built, the Project Initiator has the ability to send out updates to the Funders through their user page on the Divvy platform. Click 'manage campaign' on your dashboard to post updates.
What do I need to start a project?
Simply put, you need to build your project page, which includes images, a story, and an optional video. You also must link a payments account to the project. All instructions can be found in the Project Gateway.
Do I have to provide rewards?
Rewards are optional, but are definitely recommended. They can incentivize contributions, especially for those outside of the direct community.
All or nothing vs. flexible?
All contributed funds will be directly transferred. If the project does not raise 100% of the necessary fundraising goal, the Project Initiator or organization may chose to reduce the size of the project or send refunds to the Funders.
Do-it-Yourself vs. Use a Developer projects?
Project initiators have the option to manage the project within their organization or outsource its development to a certified sustainability project development company. Certain project types, like the installation of solar wind power systems, require a developer, whereas others, like exchanging light bulbs or creating a community school garden, can be handled in house. The project initiator must make the decision to 'Do it Yourself' or 'Use a Developer'. If a developer is requested, Divvy will connect the Project Initiator to suitable, certified developers in the area for consultations and site visits. If DIY, the Project Initiator should be capable of handling any design, procurement, installation, and maintenance task to ensure a successful project.
What is the impact of my contribution?
By contributing, you will bring clean energy and sustainability to your community. The organization will receive immediate and lasting financial impacts brought on by the projects. Every dollar you donate, may save the organization multiple dollars . over years to comeMore broadly, clean energy development creates local jobs, reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, and reduces pollution. Projects on schools have the added benefit of enhancing the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum as well as developing community building skills.
Contributions to projects initiated by nonprofits are tax deductible. Each Funder's tax situation is different, and a certified tax professional should be consulted regarding these matters.
What is the minimum contribution for projects?
The minimum contribution is $10.
How long does it take before the project is built?
After complete funding is achieved, final logistic preparations will commence. Some projects are more complicated than others, and it is left to the Project Initiator and Developer to complete the project in a timely manner.
How long is the fundraising period?
In our pilot phase, Divvy projects do not have a fundraising deadline. Later projects will have defined fundraising periods on their project pages.
What happens if the project does not get completely funded?
If the fundraising goal is not achieved within the set period, the Project Initiator (and Developer) can downsize the project to fit the raised funds. If this is not possible, the PI can opt to refund the Funders (transaction fees may apply).
Reward vs. Investment Crowdfunding?
Projects listed on Divvy are not required to offer rewards, though many will do so for various levels of contribution. Rewards can come in a variety of forms, from clothing to gift certificates or other gifts. The Funders receive no equity in the project or listing organization. The contributions are donations, not investments.
When will rewards be distributed?
Timing will vary by project and it is up to the project initiator to manage the distribution. Follow the project updates for more information. Remember to update your current address in your Divvy profile to ensure delivery of rewards by mail.