ioby Support Center

Introduction: Start Here!

Updated Aug 17, 2021

What is ioby?

ioby is a crowdfunding website, but we’re more than that. We’re growing a movement of community-led positive change and we want you to be a part of it. 

ioby gives local changemakers the tools and resources they need to build a real, lasting impact from the ground up. Our crowdfunding platform helps connect leaders (like you!) with support to raise the money they need from their communities to make our neighborhoods safer, greener, more livable and more fun. 

ioby stands for “in our backyards,” but it also stands for taking care of each other, for civic muscle, and for trusting our neighbors to know what’s best for the neighborhood.

We work all across the country, but we have particular cities of focus: Memphis, Cleveland, Detroit, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. We have honed in on these cities because there is tremendous power in the work that their residents are doing, but also because our work is informed by the history of disinvestment within certain neighborhoods. Our City Action Strategists are community organizers who provide on-the-ground support to residents in our focus cities and allow us to boost leaders as they work to make positive change.

Anyone from anywhere in the US can work with ioby to fundraise and build support for your neighborhood project. All we require is that the project is local to where you live, work, or play and that it has a public or community benefit. Learn more about criteria for crowdfunding at ioby.org/eligibility.

So you want to crowdfund...

If you care about your neighborhood and have a community of friends, family, and neighbors who care about it too, you already have everything you need to make change. In fact, you very well might already be a changemaker!

Making change isn’t always about having an important title, or being really famous, or having a lot of money. In fact, some of the biggest change happens when lots of everyday people decide that the status quo won’t do and commit to using whatever power they have, over whatever corner of the world they live in, to make change. Whether you’re dreaming of a very big project or something just for your block, there’s work to do.

You don’t always need funds to make change. There are lots of projects that you could bring to life without needing a penny. But other times, you might need some money to bring that great idea to life. That’s where crowdfunding with ioby comes in.

Crowdfunding is simply the process of raising the funds you need for something by a group of people. At ioby, that means leaning on your neighbors and community to raise money to bring projects to life that strengthen your neighborhood and bring a clear public benefit to the community. Small gifts make a big impact together.

People have been fundraising for community projects for years and years—the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty was, in part, crowdfunded! Crowdfunding online is simply a new tool for an old strategy.

No matter how experienced you are, crowdfunding can be a powerful tool to raise the funds you need and rally your community to support your idea—and we can help you do that.

There isn’t just one way to run a fundraising campaign, and there is no perfect campaign. Each project, and each community, is different. You’ll need to take stock of what specific needs and opportunities exist in your neighborhood to craft a winning campaign for you. Instead, think of this guide as having the key ingredients to a successful campaign. You’ll need elements of each step to craft your perfect campaign, but each step will likely look a little different depending on your needs. Follow this road map, adjust along the way with your teammates as you see necessary, and you’ll be on your way to making positive change in your community.

Why Crowdfund?

If you care about your neighborhood and have a community of friends, family, and neighbors who care about it too, you already have everything you need to make change. In fact, you very well might already be a changemaker

You have lots of different options when it comes to fundraising, each with different benefits and drawbacks. We believe in crowdfunding because it’s a proven tactic to raise funds, but it also comes with a whole range of other benefits. After all, your project is so much more than just money raised—it’s also about connecting with your neighbors to get their support and enjoy the benefits of your project together.

When you crowdfund with ioby, you raise more than just money. You also deepen your connection with your neighbors as you explain your project and invite them to play a meaningful role in bringing it to life. As you raise money, you raise support from your neighbors and learn about their needs. You get an extra pair of hands and an opportunity to shape your project to make sure it meets the needs of the community.

Money is important too, and crowdfunding offers you a flexible way to get the money you need—unlike a grant, you can crowdfund for almost anything, and the only strings attached are the promises and commitments you make to your community. That means you’re only restricted to what your community wants and needs, not what a grantmaker requires of you. When you do seek out a grant, having the support of your community can go a long way to demonstrate that there is a need for that grant or that local government support.

As you start to make a change and flex the civic muscles it takes to do good, you help others around you also flex their muscles. Your ability to work with your community, with nonprofits, with government agencies, and with others grows, and the ripple of your impact grows bigger and bigger. Crowdfunding is special not because of the money, but because of you.

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