by ioby
February 13, 2017

Have you ever wondered why we use the term “ioby Leader” to describe the people running the projects you see on our website?

If you have, you’re not alone—we get this question all the time! Here’s our thinking:

Why not… creators?

Leading an ioby project is a team effort. Individual initiative is key to making an impact, but leaders lead others! Successful ioby projects are more about getting people together than being a creative genius.  (And in general we’ve found that the more people you have on your fundraising team, the more successful your project will be.)

Why not… users?

While ioby does provide an online platform for neighborhood projects, we don’t think of the people who take advantage of our resources as “users” (the way many websites do), because most of their work takes place offline, in their neighborhoods.

Why not… residents, or community members?

Everyone who lives somewhere is a resident (not all residents are “citizens,” so we also generally avoid that word). Everyone belongs to some kind of community. But a leader is someone who steps up and starts something.

We believe that everyone can contribute to the betterment of their neighborhood in some way, but ioby Leaders are the rarer birds who are driven, connected, and unafraid to ask for help or risk failure. They’re working at the vanguard of positive change.

Why not… participants, or grantees?

In the worlds of philanthropy and city government, it’s common to hear these terms, as well as phrases like “bottom-up” and “community input.” or “stakeholder outreach.” We’re wary of descriptions that paint resident leaders as low-ranking, passive consumers enjoying the fruits of benevolent decision making, or being optional voices in neighborhood planning. ioby projects are not about asking residents to rubber stamp plans that were drawn up without them; they are dynamic and neighbor-led processes that start at the beginning—with identifying problems and solutions—and they call for leadership, not just participation.

 

Starting to see a pattern here?

The term “leader” reinforces the agency, power, and motivation people have and need when they plant something good and see it through. To be a leader, you don’t have to have any special experience or credentials; you just have to lead.

Whether you’re thinking about starting your first project, or are a practiced hand at getting good done, we’re here to help you become a successful ioby Leader (with a capital L). Get started now: tell us your idea.

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