Ioby - Crowdsourced Investment in Change

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    ioby potential

    Farm for Food - Credit ioby flickr photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ioby/

    It’s no secret that funding is drying up around the United States when it comes to civically oriented projects, especially those which might be considered “frivolous” (which has generally been dropping the axe on a number of government funded neighborhood projects). Implementing small-scale solutions for enhanced community, livability seems to be slipping back off the table.  Fortunately for those looking to create better neighborhoods there’s Ioby (pronounced “eye-oh-bee”) which stands for “In our backyard”). Ioby introduces a crowdsourced platform for pulling together funding and volunteers for local projects which help in improving neighborhoods from a community and environmental perspective.  According to the tagline on their website, “Ioby brings environmental projects to life, block by block.”

    Ioby "By the Numbers" - http://ioby.org/about

    Successful projects are then magnified, so they can benefit other neighborhoods—and the positive impact can ripple throughout the city. Ioby is about having a stake in the game, engaging with others while you do so, and seeing and living with the end result

    - Ioby

    I first ran across Ioby in an article by Michael J. Coren over at Co.Exist. He’s billed Ioby as “the Kickstarter for neighborhood improvement.” Coren’s article is great because it shows that Ioby is an opportunity to transition away from the long-held entrenchment of NIMBYism into an era where individuals are empowered to take ownership of their communities. NIMBY stands for “Not In My Backyard” and relates to a general stance where participation in neighborhoods is limited to simply blocking undesirable projects.

    Ioby is currently focused in New York City (see a map of their projects), but there are plans to use the platform as a foundation for change across the world. The platform certainly holds a great deal of promise in that it offers citizens the opportunity to make a direct contribution to their neighborhood thus avoiding much of the bureaucratic red tape which often accompanies government or grant funding.

    The process is simple, an individual simply picks a project which meets Ioby’s criteria, applies to promote and solicit funds for the project and if approved, the project is publicized on the Ioby webpage where potential donors can contribute or volunteer:

    There are no celebrities, no large-scale protests. There are everyday neighbors taking small steps—bringing sunlight, open space, fresh food and greenery into our backyards.

    - Ioby

    According to their website an Ioby project must:

    • Benefit the public.
    • Benefit the environment.
    • Produce tangible, measurable and measured results.
    • Be local.

    Using the site allows the organizer to instantly:

    • Collect tax-deductible donations
    • Get fiscal sponsorship, free of charge
    • Find new volunteers and new donors
    • Receive one-on-one technical assistance
    • Join us for trainings workshops
    • Raise money faster with matching funds

    Video courtesy of Ioby.

    Ioby dramatically simplifies the process of soliciting funds and allows citizens an opportunity to provide their own solutions to problems quickly and effectively.  The “by the numbers” graphic provides an idea of Ioby’s success so far. The video below gives a quick overview of Ioby’s model and mission.

    Get more information on Ioby through the following resources:

    Website – http://ioby.org/

    Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/ioby.org

    Twitter – http://twitter.com/ioby