The Handbook is written primarily for communities that have little or no experience in raising funds for a local or community enterprise. It uses plain English where possible to explain legal concepts and it is a general guide that is not intended to be a substitute for professional financial, business or legal advice.
It also provides a roadmap for practitioners to understand the differences between co-operatives and companies and the current regulatory regime for fundraising for co-operatives.
As the title suggests, the Handbook is about ‘community investment’. It is not designed for large enterprises that are looking for large-scale investments. Multi-million dollar enterprises are likely to require professional advice and management.
Rather, the focus of this Handbook is to help small scale, startup enterprises or existing community organisations to recognise and encourage local support through community investment and engagement and in doing so to access the social and financial capital that is available in communities.
Understanding the available methods and regulatory requirements for fundraising by co-operatives in Australia will demonstrate the potential for co-operatives to use modern social media techniques such as crowdfunding platforms to marshal community investment.