Donnerstag, 28. Februar 2013

In our back yards

ioby focuses on the local

“Ioby, as well as a way to funnel financial transactions, is really a platform for people to bring their best ideas for the neighborhood and get all the resources they need to make [them] happen,” Barnes explained.

Since launching in 2009, ioby has helped 178 projects raise $409,000; over 50 percent of the donors on the platform also volunteer. An average donation on the platform is $35, and the typical funding goal is at just above $6,000. Campaigns run for three months, and ioby boasts an 85 percent success rate.

Ioby takes a relatively hands-off approach with its projects. As long as a project is good for the community and for the environment, and the campaign owner knows how to pull it off, it has a good shot of making it onto the platform. During the campaign, ioby staff members help answer any questions the campaign owners may have. The team follows up on the projects afterwards to track their impact, but isn't involved in their implementation. 

“We check the projects to make sure they happen, but we don’t do the work [project leaders] know how to do best,” Barnes summarized.

Ioby charges a $35 platform use fee for projects that have a goal above $1000, as well as a 5 percent fee for projects that wish to use the platform as a fiscal sponsor. Donations are tax-deductible, and ioby waives the $35 fee for projects with funding goals below $1000. Three percent goes to credit card processing fees.

Erin Barnes, co-founder and Executive Director ioby

The platform offers a unique “flexible finish” feature that allows campaign owners to revise their funding goal up or down, as long as they can prove that the tweak will not compromise the project’s integrity. Campaign owners whose projects do very well over the first few days, for example, can increase the goal amount. Those who are dollars away from meeting their goal but would like to receive the money sooner than the campaign ends can lower the target amount. In either case, ioby asks the owners to submit a new budget plan for review.

The vast majority of donations come from within two miles of a project’s location, which makes sense given ioby's focus on the local. Barnes said where the funding comes from isn’t a big concern for the platform as long as projects are getting the funding and resources they need. What does matter, however, are the ideas behind the projects.