EDP may offer confidential info as reward for investing

Published 5:36 pm Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership needs $30,000 from private investors this year in order to pay for all of its budgeted expenses. It may try to attract those investors by offering “confidential” information in return.
“Just looking at what we contend with on a daily basis, what are people interested in? Information and access,” said Jody Lassiter, CEO of the EDP at its monthly board meeting this week. “We have it; people want it. So we have tried to utilize as much opportunity to provide exclusive information and access to private investors …”
Lassiter presented the EDP board with a proposed list of new donor levels for private investors in the EDP that starts at a minimum of $2,500 and rises to $25,000 or more.
At the lowest “bronze” level, investors would gain a “recommendation by the EDP team as a preferred service vendor to new and expanding business clients” and “participation by a representative in one ‘Access EDP’ event, a quarterly confidential briefing with EDP executives on current development issues and activities.”
At the “silver” level of at least $5,000, investors would receive “The BOLD Brief, a monthly confidential email briefing with exclusive information about development issues and activities.” The EDP would also share “collateral material” from silver investors with new or expanding business clients, and silver investors could participate in two “Access EDP” confidential meetings.
At the “gold level” of at least $15,000, investors would receive “a face-to-face meeting facilitated by the EDP team with one new/expanding business client which the EDP team has assisted” and the ability to attend three “Access EDP” meetings.
At the platinum level of $25,000 or more, investors would be able to attend all four quarterly “Access EDP” meetings and hold up to three face-to-face meetings with new or expanding businesses.
“This is recommended for the board to review,” Lassiter said.
Traditionally, the levels for EDP investors began at $5,000, which would be the silver level under the proposal. Lassiter said newly hired chief operating officer Hal Goode, a “tried and tested fund-raiser,” recommended a lower threshold for entry of $2,500. Lassiter said it may even be possible to build a lower threshold of benefits at a $1,000 level, but EDP leaders aren’t sure if that’s “aiming too low.”
EDP Chair Ben Nelson said the lower giving level “opens opportunities for private donors that care about economic development for Boyle County at a lower point of entry.”
Nelson said his business, Maple Tree Gallery, “gets hit on for a boatload of stuff and a boatload of good causes.”
“Maple Tree Gallery probably is not going to pony up $5,000, $10,000, $25,000 to help,” he said. “But if we created a lower level (small businesses might say yes).”
Right now, there are “about 25 prospects” from which the EDP plans to ask for contributions before the end of the year, Nelson said.
“If we don’t get out there and do these asks before the end of the year, people’s budgets will be committed and we will have missed the window of opportunity,” he said. “I’m trying to avoid having to go into what I would call an annual fund where I sit on the sidewalk and ask for dollars and donations to help fund this $30,000 gap that’s in this budget.”
Lassiter said each “Access EDP” event would be a “closed-door meeting with the representatives of our private investors to talk about specific initiatives, project activity — it’s a confidential briefing that the EDP executives would provide …
“This is what we’re trying to do to provide information and access to those who wish to support us financially at significant levels.”

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