Category Archives: Neighbors making neighborhoods

How to fundraise for your 501(c)(7)

If you spend a lot of time hanging out in the nonprofit world, like the ioby team, you’re likely familiar with the term “501(c)(3).” This is the Internal Revenue Service’s code for tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations like charities and foundations.

While you might not be as familiar with the classification 501(c)(7), chances are good that you’re a member of one. 501(c)(7) organizations are also tax-exempt (generally speaking), but instead of existing to serve charitable goals, they are “organized for pleasure, recreation, and other nonprofitable purposes.” (Hence why they’re often called “social clubs.”) So, while the Red Cross, for example, is a 501(c)(3), the national women’s social group Theta Phi Alpha Fraternity is a 501(c)(7). Crucially, the 501(c)(7) organizations that you’re likely a part of are run for the benefit of members, and do not pursue a profit.

Other types of 501(c)(7) social clubs include:
– Amateur sports clubs
– Supper clubs
– Homeowners or community associations
– Country clubs
– Clubs for hobbyists, like model railroaders and gardeners

What’s crowdfunding got to do with 501(c)(7)s?

Continue reading How to fundraise for your 501(c)(7)

How to throw an amazing block party

In communities across the country, block parties liven up our streets in all but the coldest, darkest months. Some might say that block parties originated in Manhattan during World War I, when residents roped off their block to sing songs and hold a parade in honor of their neighbors who had gone overseas to serve. But we’re pretty sure that even your town has its own special origin story for the neighborhood block party.

Wherever they got their start, block parties are hugely popular the world over, and now come in flavors ranging from kid-centric to faith-based to activism-focused.

ioby, too, has a block party hit to share! Neighbors have crowdfunded with ioby to bring people closer together, invite people to walk more, and just celebrate the beauty of being in a community together. Read on to get inspired by three awesome ioby projects with a block party element: each led by a visionary neighborhood resident, and each representing a different type of block party.

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Want more green space in your community? Here’s where to start

Green space” means lots of different things to different people. If you’re the the Environmental Protection Agency it might be something more formal like a park, or a community garden. To our friends at Strong Towns, green space might simply be the “non-place padding put between buildings to set them back from the street”–in other words, any place you can squeeze some trees, shrubs, and other plant life.

While your community might think of green space differently—or even disagree on exactly what it means—it’s likely that you and many of your neighbors would like to see more of it. Why wouldn’t you?

Green space provides a multitude of environmental benefits, including:

Continue reading Want more green space in your community? Here’s where to start

How to ask for donations and level up your fundraising!

Have a great idea for a neighborhood project but nervous about how to ask for donations? Join the club!

The first-time crowdfunding club, that is.

Since 2008, we’ve supported nearly 2,000 local leaders as they’ve crowdfunded to make positive change right where they live. Did all of these people turn out to be successful grassroots fundraisers? Yes! Did they all love fundraising and know how to ask for donations when they started out? Heck, no!

Few of us wake up each morning excited to pound the pavement for cash. But once you learn a few basics about how to ask for donations—and after you practice a few times—we can all but guarantee that the process will get easier, seem more natural, and even feel gratifying. Read on for some of our best tips!

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10 creative community service ideas

Opportunities to serve our communities are everywhere, and can take many forms. Some of the most popular community service ideas are rooted in volunteering with an existing organization—like a soup kitchen, school, or house of worship. We at ioby think this type of community service is stellar, and we applaud anyone who makes the time to get good done with an organization they love.

But we also know there are some that are moved to act by the unique issues in their own neighborhood, and want to imagine, build, and execute their equally unique community service ideas. That’s why we’ve been helping residents bring their good ideas to life for over 10 years. ioby’s community crowdfunding platform—and the expert fundraising support that goes with it—gives people the tools and information they need to raise the cash, awareness, and buy-in necessary to take the positive change they envision from idea to reality.

Below, we’re happy to share 10 of our (many) favorite ioby projects that illustrate how creative, fun, and impactful resident-led community service ideas can be.

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Get inspired with these 3 successful community gardens

Urban community gardens have been growing strong in the United States since at least the 1890s. That’s when Detroit’s then-mayor Hazen Pingree started a municipal community gardening program in the city’s vacant lots to combat an economic recession that left many industrial laborers, particularly recent immigrants, unemployed and hungry. (These plots became affectionately known as “Pingree’s Potato Patches.”) In the United Kingdom, community gardens’ European cousin, “allotment gardens,” date back even further, to the 1730s.

Continue reading Get inspired with these 3 successful community gardens

Fight food deserts! 5 ways to combat food insecurity in your community

When we think about the fight for racial and economic justice, food doesn’t always surface to the top of the list of things to tackle. But it should! In fact, food insecurity is a key contributor to health disparities. And folks who experience food insecurity are often people with low-income and people of color. Since access to healthy food can influence mental and physical health, job security, and educational outcomes, it’s clear this is something we’ve got to overcome. You can play an important role in fighting food insecurity in your own community.

To help you get oriented in the food maze, here are a couple of working definitions and some how-to inspiration, courtesy of five ioby Leaders who have made it their business to improve the food scene where they live.

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How to raise money for our movements: taking the stigma out of fundraising

By Dana J Schneider

For many of us, talking about money–and by extension, asking for it–is something that we’re seriously uncomfortable with. It makes us anxious, embarrassed, and some of us straight up refuse to do it. That’s understandable. Our approach to money is often informed by our upbringing, our economic background, and often a cultural veil of secrecy, discomfort, and maybe even shame. It certainly doesn’t help that when we think of money, it’s easy to associate it with the way it can be used to further exploitation, oppression, and inequity. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Continue reading How to raise money for our movements: taking the stigma out of fundraising

What is fiscal sponsorship? Everything you need to know

Curious about fiscal sponsorship? Heard the term but not sure how it might apply to your community project? Interested in finding a fiscal sponsor, but not sure where to start?

Friend, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s a practical FAQ about nonprofit fiscal sponsorship in general, and an introduction to ioby’s own fiscal sponsorship services. Continue reading What is fiscal sponsorship? Everything you need to know