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

Go Green: How to make your community more sustainable

You’ve done it: you’ve gone green at home! You’ve replaced your incandescents with LED light bulbs, you’re eating less meat, and that low-flow showerhead is in effect. High five!

Now that your home is in good green order, you might be wondering what it would mean to go green in your community. What could it look like to make your whole block—or neighborhood, or town—a little more sustainable? And how would you go about it?

For over 10 years, ioby Leaders have been going green in their communities in all kinds of ways. Get inspired by three of their very impressive, highly replicable environmental projects, along with the guiding visions that helped them succeed. (March 8 is International Women’s Day 2019, so we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that these three commendable Leaders are all women!) Continue reading Go Green: How to make your community more sustainable

How to hold a successful social entrepreneurship fundraiser

Are you a new social entrepreneur launching a new social enterprise? If so:

  1. Congratulations! America’s marketplaces could use a lot more businesses that prioritize beneficial outcomes for people (and/or the environment) alongside their profits. At ioby, we champion the growing number of social entrepreneurships using their interests, skills, and drive to start effective social enterprises all over the country.
  2. Are you, by any chance, trying to raise money?

If you are, we’d like to offer one big general suggestion followed by some specific advice from successful social entrepreneurs we’ve supported in the past. Continue reading How to hold a successful social entrepreneurship fundraiser

Awesome Project: We Run Brownsville

Lifelong friends Sheila Barksdale-Gordon and Dionne Grayman tapped into Brownsville’s strength and pride when they organized We Run Brownsville, a womens’ running group aimed at developing healthy habits–like going for group runs, stretching together, and sharing tips. But they’re so much more than a running club. “It’s more of a sisterhood, it’s more a place where women feel safe and feel confident take ownership of their own health,” says Sheila.

As they develop a support network within the running club, they’ve found that women are able to leverage that as they go out and advocate for their community; attending government meetings, and making sure that their voices are heard.

With support from ioby, they’ve raised over $25,000 over the years to help them lace up and hit the field, and grow their community’s agency. Check out their feature in the news to learn more about them.  Continue reading Awesome Project: We Run Brownsville

Ten Year Stories: Barrier Free

ioby was founded in 2008 in order to make it easier for local leaders to gain the funding, knowledge, and resources needed to make positive change on a local level. For the past ten years we’ve worked alongside more than 1,600 passionate, committed community leaders and have watched as small projects have turned into larger initiatives and collaborations have become movements.

In the coming months, we’re taking a look back at the past ten years, and tell some of our favorite stories of positive neighborhood change. We want to know: what kind of things can start with a conversation, a neighborhood meeting, a few dollars raised?

Yancy Villa-Calvo, in Memphis, tells us about how she created a living art installation that responded to the danger that vulnerable communities experience and encourage empathy. Through ioby, she was able to access quick financial support in a way that she wouldn’t have been able to access through a grant, and that let her quickly react to the vitriol that came out of the 2016 election cycle. Read more about Yancy and her Barrier Free installation.  Continue reading Ten Year Stories: Barrier Free