When we conceived RepowerYolo, we made two conscious commitments:
1. We will not solicit homeowners. No advertising, cold calls, direct mail or commission sales people.
2. We will reinvest in and support local nonprofit organizations; in other words (excuse the trite phase), repower our community.
The obvious residue of not knocking on doors, cold-calling homeowners, or peppering mail boxes with sales collateral is that we will sell less solar. We can live with that, because we strongly believe markets are conversations and nobody likes to be solicited (sans their permission). And, by eliminating sales/marketing/advertising costs, we significantly reduce the cost of going solar for friends and neighbors.
Furthermore, many an eye has been rolled at our community fundraising efforts: Why are you donating large amounts of money to nonprofits (when you could/should be pocketing the money to send your kids to college)? In simple terms, we believe RepowerYolo is a community program and our commitment to — and support of — local nonprofit organizations is a community dividend.
This community dividend is growing. To date, we have donated upwards of $23,000 to more than 25 local causes on behalf of RepowerYolo homeowners. And, in 2016, we created YoloShines: Every time a homeowner goes solar, we donate $500 in their name to their favorite Yolo County nonprofit.
The first four recipients of YoloShines donations in 2016 are Progress Ranch, Yolo Crisis Nursery, Davis Schools Foundation, and River City Rowing Club. 2016 is off to a great start … the future is bright for both homeowners who go solar and nonprofit organizations that stitch the fabric of our community.