URBANA, Ill. - Crowdfunding is a powerful fundraising tool individuals and organizations can leverage to access capital to finance business start-ups and expand existing businesses. An innovative alternative to traditional business loans, crowdfunding provides creative solutions for communities to raise funds to save the local grocery store, build a community garden, support a music festival, or finance a commercial, downtown real estate project.

The best part about crowdfunding is that it does not have to be repaid.

Find out if crowdfunding is the right option for your small business or community project in a free session hosted by University of Illinois Extension on April 22 at 11 a.m. (CT). Register in advance at: go.illinois.edu/WhyCrowdFund.

"During the course of the pandemic, personal saving rates in the U.S. have soared from 11% of personal income to 20.5%,” says Pam Schallhorn, program presenter and Illinois Extension regional specialist in community and economic development. “What better time to start a crowdfunding campaign and give people the opportunity to invest in projects they feel good about while building much-needed community amenities and resources.”

In this session, community leaders, non-profits, entrepreneurs, artists, and community volunteers will learn about three common types of crowdfunding and gain practical strategies on how to plan, organize, and market a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Schallhorn brings over two decades of commercial lending experience to her role with Illinois Extension and served as director of the Small Business Development Center in Rockford, IL. Her teaching and research interests include entrepreneurial development, creative economies, reversing workforce out-migration, and building cultural awareness. Schallhorn holds a master’s degree in political studies and a bachelor’s degree in finance.

If you have questions or need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, contact Schallhorn at pscha2@illinois.edu. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting your access needs.

WRITERPam Schallhorn, Regional Community and Economic Development Specialist, Illinois Extension

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and communities to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.

PHOTO ACCESS: The event graphic in this article is available to download for media use through April 22, 2021.