Author: Bristol Energy Cooperative
In a time of Facebook, BP and Bezos, we’re seeing the wealth gap explode whilst the climate crisis unfolds. We’re seeing Earth’s resources plundered and profit prioritised over survival.
Energy giants like Shell and Exxon are seeing their profits skyrocket, while people can’t afford to heat their homes or even turn their oven on.
At Bristol Energy Cooperative we’re turning this trend on its head. We’re the non-profit, community-owned enterprise on a mission to increase low carbon energy support and bring the benefits to the Bristol community.
The energy that we produce is crowdfunded and sold cheaply to community buildings, with profits funnelled into carefully chosen community benefit projects.
Since 2011, we’ve raised £15 million, installed 10MWp of community-owned solar and battery assets, and directed over £350,000 to local projects that benefit the community.
For example, we recently installed of one of the largest community owned rooftop solar PV arrays in the UK Located at The Bottle Yard 2 Studios, this array means Bristol’s film industry will be able to fire up their lights and cameras at a much cheaper rate and with a far lower carbon footprint.
None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for the investments made by our 1,500+ members, each of whom want to help tackle the climate emergency and create a fairer society.
That’s why our latest share offer is open for anyone to invest in clean community-owned energy.
This time round we're looking to raise £1 million of community funds. You can invest between £100 and £100,000, with a projected return of 5%.
Our energy projects provide financial, social and environmental returns. They tackle the climate crisis head on and build a net zero future for generations to come.
Let’s put power back into the hands of the community. Find out more and invest: https://bristolenergy.coop/share-offer-2023/
Top tips for running Share Offers
To celebrate Community Energy Fortnight 2023, and as this is our 9th share offer, we’ve got some top tips to share with other coops who may be considering running a similar share offer:
- Produce content, including graphics and videos that is emotive, topical and personable. Community energy is about people!
- Tell the story of your organisation and the projects you’ve delivered and plan to deliver. How do these things benefit local people and organisations?
- People like specific, tangible projects, so even if your share offer is raising funds for your organisation as a whole, focus on specific projects that will be made possible with the funds raised.
- Adopt the position of an influencer. Most people don’t understand how and why energy policy affects them. Inform and educate your audience.
- Community energy can be a dry topic if you let it be. Excite your audience and potential investors. What sets community energy apart? How does it offer hope? Why is it effective?
- Build your audience over time. If you only do communications activities when you run share offers, you’ll make things hard for yourself. If you’re thinking about running a share offer in 6 months, start posting to social media, creating content, and building your mailing list now.
- Use the influence of others. If you only promote things from your own channels, hitting your share offer target could be tough. Identify influential people and organisations who might be supportive of what you’re trying to do and can share the opportunity to invest with their networks.
- If you don’t have expertise in-house, engage an agency who has experience with paid and organic social media use. It may require more up-front expenditure, but should comfortably pay for itself with money raised.
- Ahead of launch, produce a digital strategy for your share offer, set targets, and make sure you’re measuring results wherever possible. Check in weekly and discuss what is or isn’t working. How can you adapt the messaging you’re using? Is there a certain style of content that is performing more strongly?
- Keep your team up to date, and celebrate successes along the way. This helps to maintain momentum and makes everyone feel part of the share offer campaign.
Community energy has the power to inspire us all. With creative communications, a willingness to test new approaches, and a passion for spreading the word to many more people, your share offer will get off to a flying start!
Find out more about Bristol Energy Cooperative: https://bristolenergy.coop/