Community shares

Community shares are a way to raise money to get projects off the ground by offering your community a chance to own shares in your organisation. Community shares are can help raise significant funds for community projects.

But community shares are about more than financial investment. Each person who buys shares gets a vote in how your organisation is run. Community ownership means you gain dedicated investors and advocates who want the project to succeed.

Hundreds of community enterprises across the UK, from football clubs, community renewables, pubs and heritage buildings have already raised millions of pounds of investment from community shares.

Running a community share campaign is a bit like a crowdfunding project, so you'll need access to a group of people who support your idea and put their own money in to make it a reality. That's why Crowdfunder UK have teamed up with the Community Shares Company to combine their expertise and provide a new way for community groups to create and manage their community share offer.

Explore community shares on Crowdfunder UK

How does it all work?

When you issue community shares each person who buys shares gets a vote in how your organisation is run.

Community shares don’t have to be large investments. But regardless of how much someone invests they still have one vote. Investors can’t sell their shares on to third parties so your organisation is always owned by the community it serves.

Investment in community shares doesn’t produce dividends for shareholders but shareholders may get interest payments or their investment might be repaid to them later if the enterprise is doing really well.

Issuing community shares can raise large sums of money, the sorts of amounts you’d normally need to borrow, but the money comes from people who support what you’re doing. There is no debt to manage, just a group of dedicated investors who want to see you succeed.

People who invest in community shares have a vested interest in the business doing well which can unlock extra support - through active customers, vocal supporters or volunteers of the project.

Are community shares right for your organisation?

Does your group need capital?

A community share issue should have a long-term benefit and pay for something that has a substantial, one-off cost, like buying a property or new equipment or paying for major renovations.  

Have you got a great network of supporters?

A community share campaign is like a crowdfunding project, so you’ll need access to a group of people who support your idea. These people need to care about what you’re doing enough to put their own money in to make it happen.

Do you want to be owned by your supporters?

When you issue community shares each person who buys shares gets a vote in how your enterprise is run. You’ll need to be happy about sharing control of your enterprise with your community of investors.

Do you have right legal structure?

To offer community shares your organisation will need to be registered as either a:

  • Community Benefit Society
  • Charitable Community Benefit Society
  • Co-operative.

If you have a different legal structure and decide you want to launch a community share offer you'll need to convert or create one of these structures.

Crowdfunder community shares

Crowdfunder UK have teamed up with the Community Shares Company to provide a new way for community groups to create and manage community share offer.

The easy to use platform automates money collection and built-in tools lets you promote your offer to your supporters. Plus there's expert advice and support to help you every step of the way.

Explore community shares on Crowdfunder UK

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