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Education or permanent lending? Which would you choose?

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Donors to the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund can choose whether to put their gifts toward borrower education and training or into our permanent fund.

Donors here can choose whether to direct their gifts to borrower education and training, or to our permanent fund.

Lately, people have wanted to talk to me about investing for social impact.

Even our existing investors, mostly individuals or professionals who work for foundations, want a better understanding of how the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund works. They like what people do, with our help, to improve their lives or their businesses.

It makes sense that they’d want to know more. We use their investments in unique ways to help people create opportunity.

Somewhere in the middle of these conversations I mention that donations are key to our success. Our investor friends are caught by surprise. They thought we were just about taking investments!

Education is our "secret sauce"

Even donations here have a unique twist because donors can choose what their dollars provide (besides a charitable tax deduction).

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Donations pay for ROC-NH's annual Community Leadership training series, which teaches members of resident-owned manufactured-home communities the tools and strategies they need to be successful leaders in their communities and beyond.

Some donors choose to put their money into our programs. They “get” the fact that the education, training and technical assistance we provide is the “secret sauce” in our borrowers’  successes. This year, our borrowers received 28,000 hours of training—far, far beyond what conventional lenders can afford to provide.

One example is the annual leadership training we do for people in resident-owned manufactured-home communities. Before last year’s class, only 39% agreed with the statement “I have the skills and knowledge to resolve conflict.” When the same question was asked after the training, 91% agreed.

Permanent fund donations build flexibility

Other donors really like the idea of their money being loaned and re-loaned into the community many times over. Those donors target their donations to our permanent fund. Their dollars, along with the money invested here, fill our lending pool.

Permanent fund gifts help keep our lending flexible enough to shape it to borrowers’ needs, and encourage us to stay creative and tenacious. They also build investor confidence because, in the rare case of a borrower default, the permanent fund takes the hit and our investors are repaid in full.

Two years ago we forecast that we’d need to double our lending to keep up with the N.H. people and businesses who need financing to pursue their dreams and opportunities. So far, that forecast is right on target, and the surging interest in investing has helped us meet that demand.

What we most need now are the donations that pay for the training that will help those borrowers succeed, and the permanent fund donations that help us meet the needs of borrowers and investors alike.

You can choose which purpose you want your donation to serve. Either way, your gifts help us help people help themselves.

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