How do I buy shares?
From 1 March, you can invest online through our Crowdfunder page. This site, factsandheart.org will redirect to our Crowdfunder page from that date
Or, you can make offline payments by sending a cheque in any major currency made out to New Internationalist Co-op Ltd and posting it to New Internationalist, The Old Music Hall, 106-108 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1JE, United Kingdom.
If you live in Canada or the US you can post your cheque to our North American Office: New Internationalist, 2446 Bank Street, Suite 653, Ottawa, Ontario, K1V 1A8.
Before you invest, please make sure you read the community share offer document and business plan.
Why become a co-operative?
As a result of this community share offer, New Internationalist will become a global media co-operative, co-owned by you and thousands of others across the world.
In many ways, this is a natural progression for us. Our journalism has always been a reflection of who are and how we are run. You could say that we know how to democratize a newsroom like no-one else – we did it 37 years ago when we started to operate as a workers’ co-op.
Our stories have always focused on equality and bold, bright ideas for ways to change things for the better. We felt it was time that we did something big ourselves, something that reflects our ethos and pioneers an exciting new path for media ownership.
Do I have to be a New Internationalist magazine subscriber to buy shares?
Not at all. You just have to believe that the world needs more global journalism with facts and heart, delivered by independent media organizations that can be relied on to produce honest, trustworthy media.
How will the funding be used?
The investment will be used to transform our business and return New Internationalist to surplus within the next three years. It will allow us to scale up our digital journalism, relaunch our magazine, grow our book-publishing and mail-order business and expand our events programme.
While it will mean we can increase our impact – breaking out of the echo chamber and getting progressive ideas to a wider audience than ever before – the share offer capital will also protect us into the future. That’s because we will spend 25% of money raised on income-generating arms of the business to subsidize our mission.
What happens if we overfund?
There is no maximum limit. If we are able raise more, we can run other projects that will increase our reach and further secure our future. For example, if we reached £750,000 ($940,000), we could expand our events programme to include an engaged-journalism summer school, increase the impact of our book publishing, develop our website infrastructure more quickly, boost marketing efforts across the board and increase editorial staff time.
Anything beyond that total will be used as working capital to support our cash flow over the year.
Why can’t I invest less than £50?
£50 felt like the right amount because this is not a donation or a subscription but an investment – and the chance to become the co-owner of a media organization. We didn’t want to exclude anyone from the chance to own us, but the lower we set it, the higher the numbers of people we would need to invest in order to reach our all-or-nothing target.
What do I get in return?
In return for investing, you will become a co-owner of New Internationalist. We have adopted a new legal structure, which makes you custodians of our mission and the core values that drive our journalism.
You will also be invited to join the Common Council, an ongoing forum for engaging with editors, our content and direction, to help us fulfil our mission. (see ‘How will New Internationalist be governed?’)
Can I make any money?
As a social investment, the main return is the outputs of the organization where you’ve put your money. So in our case, your return is a thriving New Internationalist publishing articles with a unique international perspective, eye-opening long-form investigations and stunning videos.
But it may also be possible to offer a financial return, if New Internationalist is in a sufficiently profitable position in the future.
In the short term, we anticipate that any surplus will be reinvested to increase the impact of our work, but the Board of Directors will have the power to pay a small rate of interest on the shares if they have sufficient surpluses to be able to afford to do so. We predict that this will happen in six years’ time (see ‘Do I get my money back’)
Do I get my money back?
Community shares are withdrawable shares. That means that the Board can allow people to take their money out at a small rate each year, if we generate enough income to allow it (or have other people who would like to become co-owners too).
In this time of rapid change, with the publishing industry in a state of flux, it will not be possible to allow withdrawals for a minimum of three years. We need to use your money to focus on getting ourselves on the soundest footing possible.
We will consider withdrawals – and interest – once New Internationalist has built up uncommitted reserves of £500,000. According to our projections, this should happen by 2023.
At this point, the Board will open up discussions with the Common Council to set realistic rates of interest and/or repayments.
Why do people get involved?
Our community share offer is different from a conventional public share offer because rather than profit being the primary motivating factor, the focus of the investment is often on the social benefits that investor capital will make possible. It’s about investing in the kind of world you would like to live in.
The idea is that you join a community of people with shared values. In our case, that’s a global network of people that value consistent and truthful reporting and media that brings people together.
So as well as being an inspiring way to democratize the media, this share offer will bring our community of stakeholders closer and give us a pool of committed supporters who will help us reach our goals.
What’s the worst that can happen
We love New Internationalist as much as you do – this is our pitch and our bid for transformation. But we make no promises. If we do not attract the income we need to become profitable – not enough subscribers, paying web members, ethical shoppers or book sales – then the value of the shares will fall and may be lost in the event of the business having to scale down or ultimately cease trading.
You won’t be liable if we go under, but the money you invested will be lost. You have no right to compensation from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, or recourse to an ombudsman, because community share offers are exempt from the regulations governing public share offers.
How will New Internationalist be governed?
When our supporters invest, they become the joint custodians of our mission, charged with keeping us on track. From this point on, New Internationalist can never deviate from its founding principles without the agreement of its investors.
The most important document defining what we do is our Editorial Charter. This defines why and how we do our journalism. At present, the workers can change that if they want. From the share offer forward, the Charter is something we own together.
For any changes to the mission or Charter, we need 75% of the worker members to agree it AND 75% of you, our investors, to agree to it too. You get to be a steward of New Internationalist, with a voice on what we write about, how we write it and why we write it.
In addition, investors will be able to join our Common Council. This will be tasked with shaping meaningful engagement into the future, exploring ways to achieve real democracy that take account of the logistical challenges presented by our truly global supporter base.
If I'm a shareholder, do I have to go to meetings?
As a shareholder you will be invited to General Meetings but you are not obliged to attend them. All shareholders will get financial updates should they choose to receive them. For shareholders who want a more active role, the Common Council – which all investors are invited to attend – will create new ways to be involved.
Can I sell my shares to someone else?
No. Community shares can only be transferred to someone else upon death. Shares can only be withdrawn as per the terms laid out by the Board.
How can you issue shares if you are non-profit organization?
We will continue to be a non-profit organization after our share offer. Community shares are specifically designed for non-profits, and can only be issued by co-operative and community benefit societies. Unlike ordinary shares, they are non-transferable and do not increase in value. See ‘What are community shares?’ for more details.
What is a Commmunity Share Offer?
A community share offer is an invitation to invest in a business that serves a social purpose.
You can learn more in the next section, what are community shares?
Can I buy shares for someone else?
Yes. Anyone can pay for the shares, but the share holder must agree. So the share holder either needs to fill in the online form and use your credit card, or fill in the paper form and sign it and send it with your cheque.
What does non-profit mean? Won’t you make any money?
We always plan to make a profit. But rather than taking any money personally as directors, we plough any surplus back into achieving our mission — to publish socially-conscious journalism and writing.