The work of community organizing is complex, difficult, and vitally important. It is also something that anyone—even those of us without degrees, special training, or loads of experience—can take part in, wherever we live.
The twenty-first century’s most famous community organizer so far might be former president Barack Obama, whose experience in the field helped make it cool for a new generation of changemakers. Saul Alinsky, known to many as the founder of modern community organizing, helped low-income communities across the U.S. band together to improve living conditions in their neighborhoods, offers another example.
But while the luminaries of community organizing deserve their due and have helped move the needle on critical issues, equally important is the community organizing happening in your neighborhood. It may not make front page news, but it’s just as important. It’s local, it’s grassroots, it can bring meaningful change to people on their own terms, and you–yes you–can do it! And ioby is here to help. Continue reading Why asking for donations is community organizing in disguise
It’s a well-known fact that kids rule. They’re curious, energetic, and won’t bore you with small talk. Kids come up with great ideas. They’re often refreshingly (and embarrassingly) honest. They tend to prioritize the best things about living: family, friends, food, fun, and fuzzy little creatures.
With all this zest for life, it makes sense that kids have played a starring role in many great ioby projects: as leaders, co-designers, and participants. Who better to be at the forefront of positive change than the people who stand to benefit from it the longest?
Continue reading Amazing neighborhood projects by, for and all about kids
You could say the concept of crowdfunding is as old as civilization itself—or, at least as old as money. The act of pooling assets to achieve a common goal is nothing new. (Fun fact: did you know the Statue of Liberty was a crowdfunded project?)
In the past 20 years or so, crowdfunding campaigns to launch new businesses, pay for medical expenses, and support charitable missions have become as popular as venture capital meetings and bake sales. The internet has revolutionized individuals’ and organizations’ ability to drum up funding for things people care about, and for that, we thank it. But crowdfunding is not a one-trick pony whose only talent is raising cash. Continue reading Crowdfunding for Advocacy and Organizing
By ioby Co-Founder Erin Barnes
Over the last ten years, I’ve had the privilege of leading ioby’s growth hand-in-hand with my co-founder Brandon Whitney, our Board of Directors and our incredible staff. During this time we’ve served as a platform, a resource, a convener, and a community for more than 15,000 resident leaders across the country. And we’ve shared in their struggles and their victories. We’ve been with them in solidarity as kids learned how to ride bikes, as vegetables grew, as roofs got repaired, as students got new backpacks in September, as libraries went mobile, as hammers and drills were shared, as crosswalks were painted, as murals went up, as tampons were given away, as community histories were spotlighted, and as statues came down. More than 1,500 projects have been implemented, and with every single one, we have always known, “This is important.”
Continue reading The Powerful Work is Local
ioby sets local leaders up for crowdfunding success. Whether you want to raise money and build support to build a better bus stop, bring healthy cooking to high school classrooms, or mount a socially engaged art public installation, we can help you make your neighborhood a better place to live, work, learn, and play.
Crowdfunding is a practical way to bring a good idea to life. Over the last decade, we’ve helped local leaders launch almost 1,500 projects all across the country! It doesn’t take any sort of degree, credentials, or superhuman powers to crowdfund successfully.
But: it does take some knowledge, time, and dedication.
Continue reading Can I crowdfund all by myself?
Community health initiatives can be as diverse as the people they serve.
Even the term itself has broad reach. Community health as a field concerns the health status of certain populations. Community health centers provide services to patients who lack access to traditional doctor’s offices. Community health workers act as liaisons between a specific community and health services, especially where language, culture, or other barriers exist.
Continue reading “Fundraising 101” for your community health project
Don’t get us started about the many benefits a community garden can bring to your neighborhood. From increasing access to fresh produce, to encouraging outdoor exercise and social interaction, to improving air and soil quality, to reducing crime, the list of perks is quite long.
What gets less press are the problems many community gardens face, from theft to toxic soil to culture clashes. That list is fairly long, too!
But before you leave your shovel in the dirt and run off your plot forever, see if you can find some help and hope in our roundup of…
Continue reading Why community gardens fail & how yours can succeed
If you and your neighbors have been working on a project to improve your community, the idea that you should file for nonprofit status has likely come up. That’s understandable, since there are good reasons for some groups to do so.
But for other groups—especially small ones just starting out—incorporating can be an unnecessary, and even counterproductive, expenditure of time and money. In some cases, it can be such a drain that it actually deprives communities of the very services the group is working to provide!
Continue reading Administration, competition, restriction: Why going nonprofit is not always good for grassroots groups
In December, we posted about ways to find out who owns vacant lots in your neighborhood. One reason we thought ioby readers might be interested in this topic is that so many of you lead the charge to turn vacant lots into active amenities like community gardens. So cool!
The first step in this endeavor is usually to find out who owns the land you’re eyeing, which can take some digging. Below, we outline the next steps many ioby Leaders have told us they’ve taken to turn the empty lot on their block into a flourishing green oasis.
Continue reading How to turn a vacant lot into a community garden: A primer
If you walk around any city or town in America, you’ll see them. If you have one in your neighborhood, you’ve certainly wondered how it came to be there. If you’re like many in our ioby community, you imagine all the great things you could do with it.
Why, it’s the ubiquitous vacant lot!
Continue reading “Whose land is this?” How to find out who owns vacant lots in your neighborhood