Fundraising with community currencies

FROM: Michael Linton

What NEED does this meet?
Many non-profit programmes and community groups are short of the funds they need to operate effectively. Many small businesses would like better means to support their community. People want strong well funded community programmes but can't afford to give more than they do.

All three parties - community, business and people - will benefit from the funds raised and the micro-economy generated by this initiative.

What is the APPROACH?
http://www.openmoney.org/cw for the general design,

http://www.communityway.org for the prototype,

http://wildfire.communitycurrency.net for the scenario,

http://www.gmlets.u-net.com/go for background and a template business plan.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
The community will benefit particularly from increased funding for specific programmes, and generally from the economic boost to the local economy coming from the introduction of community currencies.

Projects such as mySociety could use this model to enhance their own funding base and support replication.

What is the COMPETITION?
Regrettably, there are no significantly comparable facilities. The more that can be started the better. Community currencies don't compete, they create collaboration.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
Depending on the degree of local support, a micro-enterprise should need a short term loan of £5,000 - £10,000, which should be fully repaid in 3 - 6 months, making the funds available for other initiatives.

Before this project has a proven track record, it's easier to do than explain to a conventional lender like a bank Hence the need for seed funding.

November 14, 2003 in Giving stuff away | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Charitymas - Offering gifts that mean something

FROM: James Webb

What NEED does this meet?
How often have you given a present to somebody at Christmas only for them to put it at the bottom of a drawer or a cabinet, never to be seen again? How many Christmas presents have you received that you don't know what to do with?

This must happen all the time and millions of pounds must go wasted. Of course the economy gets a boost as every commercial transaction helps create wealth and jobs. But on the other hand British charities are compelled to spend millions of pounds on advertising, usually asking current donors to donate more. Unlike many companies and corporations, charities never have enough to drive forward the projects they are involved with. I like many others feel that a pound donated to charity generates more social capital and makes a bigger difference to someone's life than a pound spent on an unwanted gift.

I have created a blueprint site for my idea at www.charitymas.org.uk.

What is the APPROACH?
Prospective donors visit the website. You will be given a range of choices of what to buy, for example medicines, equipment for schools, buildings, wells etc. When you have decided what you want to buy (or how much you want to spend) you are taken to a secure server where you can make your payment by credit card. The item is purchased and delivered to the chosen beneficiaries.

When payment has been processed you can opt to receive a beautiful certificate documenting your gift either in the mail or via e-mail. You present this certificate as a Christmas gift to family, friends and loved ones.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
There are a number of ways in which people's lives will be made easier and better:

- It's an incredibly quick and incredibly easy way to donate money to charity - Donors can choose exactly what the money goes towards - No more unwanted gifts, every gift bought is wanted badly - No more time wasted in shopping centres vainly scouring for something suitable to buy - Charities don't need to spend money on marketing, the idea will spread around the country via e-mails and word of mouth.

What is the COMPETITION?
There is a site called Goodgifts which I only found out about after developing my own blueprint site. The difference is that they have gifts for over 15 different occasions. There are only four gifts recommended by them for Christmas time and they are completely different to the sort of things this site would offer (we wouldn't deal with Christmas hampers and bikes for the British poor, for example, but humanitarian crises and overseas campaigns for desperate communities in the third world which don't even enjoy basic standards of living).

Charitymas would concentrate exclusively on the Christmas spirit. I hope we would make a greater impression on people by focusing on this part of the cultural calendar, when spending is high but charitable spirit should be higher.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
We require:

- One website complete with online payment facility - Links with a few charities engaged in projects in third world countries - Some PR nous to get the idea talked about on TV/radio and on the internet - Custom printed certificates as proof of the donation, which can double up as a Christmas card

When donors pay us we pay the charity and they do the rest. We are a bridge bringing people and charities together. This is not expensive and not at all difficult, but it will be effective.

November 9, 2003 in Giving stuff away | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Internet charity shop

FROM: Simon Bates

What NEED does this meet?
Charity shops sell second-hand stuff, but its a bit of a lottery as to whether they have anything you want. If you were taken straight to the availability of something via the internet, then there would be a higher chance of you buying a second-hand item that would benefit a charity

What is the APPROACH?
This is not a very wacky idea, more an extension of what is already going on...

ebay and amazon give you the opportunity to sell second-hand stuff on the internet. What about either:

a) Easing the way for a charity to get a slice b) "Giving" the item to a charity to sell.

I put giving in quotes, because you wouldn't actually take it anywhere, you would simply despatch it when it was sold, but the charity would get the cash

What are the BENEFITS to people?
Don't have to seek out a charity shop, charity shops don't have to waste time and staffing sorting and cataloging items

What is the COMPETITION?
Not aware of any

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
You would need to find a way of offsetting the postage costs, this could be by returning it to the seller, or the seller could tick a box waiving the fee (which would mean more money to the charity)

November 7, 2003 in Giving stuff away, Matching System | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

ShareStuff.com

FROM: John Naylor

What NEED does this meet?
One man's junk is another man's treasure. So instead of throwing away those 5 year old stereo speakers, maybe there is someone nearby who would love to take them off your hands for free. We will cut down on waste and give a financial break to those who probably need it the most.

What is the APPROACH?
There is no rocket science here, just a site where the haves can share their old stuff with the have nots. Imagine a free ebay.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
The rich can get rid of what they consider junk and the less rich can save money. We can also cut back slightly on what we send to landfills.

What is the COMPETITION?
I am not sure.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
I built a site last year (goodhousefixing.com) with reusable java components that performs well and is highly scalable. The new site could be built from these components for nothing. All we would need is someone who can pretty up the front end. For about $200 per month (dedicated server) we could be up and running in less than six months.

November 3, 2003 in Connecting People, Giving stuff away, Matching System | Permalink | Comments (2)

Favour Trading

FROM: Chris Preager

What NEED does this meet?
People that could offer something in return, needing something done that they cannot do. For example I am a computer developer with a broken washing machine. Next door there might be a plumber with a broken computer. Almost everyone has skills that are useful.

And it needn't be such a selfish trade. I would be over the moon to pop down the road and fix a child's computer, knowing that that might inspire a plumber to pop down the road and fix an old lady's dripping tap.

What is the APPROACH?
Probably best added to your great UpMyStreet site under postcode, if there are sufficient numbers of people registered. You have a profile under which you post skills if you have them and needs if you have them.

When needs are matched to local skills (eg, within a mile someone can meet a need for a 30 minute or less job), a website message or email is sent to the person with skills and they decide whether or not to respond.

Maybe a ratings system would be good to show people that other people are doing favours.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
Silly little jobs that turn in to a big hassle, like fixing a computer or mending a leaky pipe. If carefully designed, it needn't be just practical ideas either - I am writing a funding proposal for a Bolivian NGO and want someone to sanity-check it, I am returning faulty goods to a company that has dissappeared and trading standards aren't helping. Favours should be explicitly limited to 30 minutes or less, but surely almost everyone would be happy to give that little amount of time and save your neighbour such hassles?

What is the COMPETITION?
I have not been able to find anything remotely similar - your UpMyStreet inspired it.


What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
I couldn't really guess the costs but technically it is all fairly simple to program once you have your postcode geographical bit working well, which you seem to. I suppose it is about 7 web pages to code and 6 DB tables to track skills, requests, matches and responses, and to display results or comments from grateful favour receivers.

Just the design would have to be careful, steering people in the right direction not to abuse people that can't say no or feel pressurised.

(That is why I think requests shouldn't be targetted and matches between need and skill are revealed by the person who has the skill if they want.)

November 3, 2003 in Giving stuff away, Helping Your Community, Matching System | Permalink | Comments (1)

Blood Network

FROM: Nishad

What NEED does this meet?
Some years ago, the government of India banned professional blood donors from selling blood (There are people in India who live by selling their blood. The Government banned this practice as as a vast majority of donors were found to have deseases that could be transmitted through blood). Ever since, there's been a shortage of blood needed for emergencies and for patients undergoing surgeries.

What is the APPROACH?
If we could set up a database of blood donors who are willing to donate at short notice. (Donor's Name, Blood Group. Location, Contact Number, Date Last donated) If someone needs blood, the family can just log on to the network and find donors easily.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
Currently people have to search a great deal to find donors in the right blood group. This adds to the trauma that a family is going through at a time of a medical emergency.

What is the COMPETITION?
There are people out here, in India, volunteers who have phone books full of numbers of donors. If these numbers could be collated on to an easily searchable database, things would become very simple.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
With pro bono help, I don't think it will be very difficult or expensive.

We will have to reach the network down to small towns and villages, where the shortages are even more of a problem. Here, we may need to provide computers and networking at hospital level so that people can access the database easily.

We will also need to set up a system where we can contact people and urge them to donate blood and get listed on the blood network. This is a "Brick and Motar" (If I can call it) operation, which could become phase three of project.

November 3, 2003 in Giving stuff away, Health, International, Matching System, Perhaps Government Remit?, User Created Content | Permalink | Comments (2)

recycling

FROM: Tenzin

What NEED does this meet?
An awful lot of perfectly useable stuff is thrown away by affluent householders (and others such as industry) that could be used by those who have little or no disposable income. Shop and office refurbishment throws away huge amounts of furniture, shelving, light fittings etc that are perfectly re-useable

What is the APPROACH?
It should be possible to set up an internet database that is searchable on a local, basis such as my village/suburb, within 5 miles of etc. which contains a list of good quality but re-useable, or recycleable materials that a disposer is going to throw away. A disposer could (for free) enter details of what they have, with an expiry date, whereby each item appears in the datatbase, and is available until that date, after which the householder will dispose of the item/s in a more normal manner. Those interested in acquiring the item/s could search the database, and with appropriate security measures contact the disposer via e-mail; to arrange a mutually convenient time to view/collect the item. In otherwords a sort of e-Bay, but without bids.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
Those on low income could benefit simply by having acces to such items as furniture, household goods etc, that otherwise they could not afford, also it may well be possible for individuals to set up their own small local companies based on re-using material that otherwise would have been thrown away. It could ease some of the burdens on local councils of the cost of disposing of at least some forms of household waste, and possibly even help some industries reduce the costs of waste disposal. It would also benefit the environment, simply by reducing waste.

What is the COMPETITION?
None as far as I know, though there are schemes in Holland and parts of Germany, which are I beleive operated by local councils, whereby unwanted but reasonable quality household gooods, and even surplus building materials, are colleceted up and available to be viewed and purchased at nominal prices (simply to cover the costs).

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
I haven't the faintest idea, as I have absolutely no skills in programming, and equally little idea on the costs of holding such a database on servers etc. though it need not (I would have thought) be overly expensive, as inputting items to the dtabase would be done by the disposer, and deletion of items would be either automatic (at the end of the exiry period) or by the collector of the item after collection. I simply throw the idea out in the hope that someone can pick it up and put it into operation.

November 1, 2003 in Connecting People, Environmental, Giving stuff away, Helping Your Community, Matching System, Perhaps Government Remit? | Permalink | Comments (2)

Pro Bono Referral System

FROM: Jason Gorman

What NEED does this meet?
Every year more than $2.4 trillion is spent on IT, mostly by large corporations and government agencies who can afford to invest huge sums in new technology that gives them a significant competitive advantage over no-for-profit NGOs. This creates a massive imbalance in the power of these - often quite amoral - organisations over organisations that are trying to do some good in the world. As an IT consultant and trainer I would really like to give some of my time - maybe a couple of weeks every year - to help and advise these organisations and offer them some of the kind of "big IT" advantage that my usual clients are getting from people like myself. Unfortunately, I am just one person and my efforts alone don't go very far to redressing the balance if "Information Power". To make a real difference, a large percentage of people working in IT consulting - and doing very well, thank you very much - must also give some of their time.

What is the APPROACH?
I propose a system for putting the best IT consultants in touch with the worthiest causes that would allow organisations like Greenpeace, Oxfam, Amnesty International and many, many other worthy causes to find top quality systems advice, training and even development (like this web site, for example). Not only would the systemn hold details of thousands of senior IT consultants in the UK and abroad, but it would also keep details of when these people are available and what causes are closest to their hearts - helping people to find a good match and then schedule small consulting projects or training courses more effectively.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
With better advice and training, NGOs could be better placed in the "information food chain" to effectively compete against global corporations and be heard above the noise of information overload that IT generates. Just as it has in industry and commerce, better use of IT could help NGOs make their money - and their message - go further and maybe do just that little bit of extra good. C'mon, guys! We've earned our money and now its time to give something back.

What is the COMPETITION?
For lawyers, maybe. For IT professionals - not that I know of (we're a pretty selfish bunch...)

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
Effort and cost would depend on how sophisticated the system was. A simple consultant's database, with the ability to browse and search for consultants by technology/skills/experience, location and availability would probably not cost more than a few thousand pounds to build. But this could be a bootstrap proposition. Maybe the first consultants to offer their services for free wouyld be the ones who designed and implemented the system. Maybe it should be funded by donations from IT consultants (?) Even if the software development was undertaken by well-meaning folk in the industry, there would still be the cost of hosting etc. Also, the idea only works if enough GOOD consultants and enough WORTHY causes take it up, so their will need to be some kind of campaign to make the right people aware that the system exists.

November 1, 2003 in Connecting People, Giving stuff away, Matching System, NGO Tools | Permalink | Comments (3)

Free PCs for Schools

FROM: Mike Hart

What NEED does this meet?
ICT costs in schools are cut by companies and other organisations donating their old PC's to schools.

What is the APPROACH?
A web site which would allow schools and businesses in the same locale to contact each other. This would be to enable bussinesses to donate to a local school still usable computers, which they were going to throw away. It would also allow schools to either download, or buy, for the cost of manufacture and shipping, CD's of OSS, such as Linux and OpenOffice.org. The provision of OSS software would be to help prevent licence issues.

The web site would also allow organisations who are willing to help schools set up open source system and LTSP systems and/or help train staff in their use and maintainace to find and be found by schools.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
It will help cut the cost of IT faccilities in schools, there by making those facilities availible to a wider audience. It will also mean that schools can stretch their IT budget further, allowing them to purchase products and services they might otherwise be unable to afford.

What is the COMPETITION?
I do not know of any competing ideas. My idea must win because ICT is one of the most important subjects taught in schools today and the biggest restriction it faces is the cost of faccilities.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
I'm not totally sure of the cost, as I'd only just started lookking at the options and possabilities when I heard about your site.

November 1, 2003 in Education, Giving stuff away, Matching System | Permalink | Comments (20)

AdoptAGeek.org - helping geeks serve the local community

FROM: Patrick Lewin

What NEED does this meet?
This idea came about as I am a programmer/web designer and have quite a few friends working in the charity sector.

I noticed that although there are places where charities can get computer equipment 2nd hand (normally for free), there aren\'t any obvious ways to get cheap / free technical help on how to use the things to do stuff!

So the website would link computer experts (many of whom tend to be genorous with giving their time and expertise if only they knew how) with charity and other nonprofit enterprises in their local area.

The website itself would be envisaged as a non-profit \"date matching\" type service and would include such spurious but fun features such as \"Geek of the Week\", focussing in on one person and what they\'ve managed to achieve. It would also have a forums area to allow geeks to share experiences and provide tech.

What is the APPROACH?
I\'m not aware of such a website resource, or at least not one that has been successfully \"marketed\". So, if done right it would be a unique resource.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
As stated in the NEED: section above, I have worked with numerous charities and have seen the need for a accessible, computer knowledgable people in the cash-strapped charity sector. Needless to say, schools and community centres could benefit too.

What is the COMPETITION?
As mentioned above, I\'m not aware of a similar service or at least one that has caught on.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
It could be handled by one website designer as a full-time project for about three-six months, ideally with input from a graphic designer to help with look\'n\'feel. After that, the ongoing maintenance cost would only be subject to bandwidth charges (i.e. how many people are using the site).

The website could be released in embryonic form much earlier than the release date of course.

November 1, 2003 in Connecting People, Giving stuff away, Helping Your Community, Matching System, NGO Tools | Permalink | Comments (5)