Reaching out to raise the dough
When the COVID crisis began and many merchants were forced to close their doors, Jessica Carpinone, the owner of Bread by Us, wasn’t going to let that dampen her community spirit. Jessica and her team turned their baking efforts into donations to the Parkdale Food Centre. They started with a one-week goal to donate one fresh-baked loaf to each and every family staying in temporary shelters supported by PFC.
To cover the costs, Jessica reached out to the community with a crowdfunding campaign. And the community didn’t let her down. With a goal of $2,000, her campaign raised over $17,000! Over 6 weeks, PFC distributed the donated bread to the most-vulnerable across the City.
And her community-driven efforts haven’t stopped, “We are in our first week of launching our online store, and we’ve given customers an option to pay-it-forward directly on the website with donation options towards the campaign. This will allow us to continue the work of donating bread well into the future.”
The Wellington West BIA wants to help our merchants replicate Bread by Us’ crowdfunding accomplishment with our LOVE.WellingtonWest.ca crowdfunding program. We talked to Jessica to find out more about what contributed to her success.
1. Your crowdfunding campaign raised almost 9 times your goal. What do you think contributed to that overwhelming success?
BbU: “Our customer base is really loyal. They’ve come to appreciate our service, products, and dedication to the community and our staff. Crowdfunding was a tangible way to help us through this interruption. People want to see their favourite small businesses survive this period.
“People see that we are providing a community service. We’ve always fed vulnerable people in the neighbourhood through our “Suspended” program. This crowdfunding campaign was simply an extension of that ethic. People see that we are stepping in to fill the gaps. Our customers want to support that.”
2. What have you done – or plan to do – with the extra money you raised?
BbU: “Most of the funds have already been used to produce bread for the PFC. We will continue to donate bread even as we start to re-open to the public until the funds run out, and hopefully beyond. Since we opened, it has always been our intention to find ways to feed anyone who wants to enjoy our food, regardless of income. We’ll never stop doing that.”
3. Other Wellington West Businesses are considering the Crowdfunding program, do you have any advice to offer?
BbU: “Take some time to write a thoughtful description of your campaign, and promote it through all your communication channels. Don’t be afraid to be honest and forthcoming – tell people about your values, and the why behind what you are doing.
“I’ve learned that people appreciate honest communication. If a crowdfunding campaign is what your business needs right now, be open about that. If your customers love you, and they have the means, they will want to support you through this time. People want to know who you are. We are often taught that business isn’t personal, but many of us understand that this simply isn’t true. Get personal and communicate openly.”