Once you are sure your idea meets each of the following criteria, just fill out our easy application.
1. Local. ioby’s focus is on neighborhoods. Regardless of whether you (or your organization) have a larger focus, your project needs to be aimed at the local level. For us, this means that your neighbors or other citizens can see or understand the social and environmental impact of your project in the immediate area.
2. Environmental. ioby takes a very broad view of what it means to be environmental. But we’re still going to check to make sure your project does at least one of the following:
- Creates or protects open spaces in or near urban areas for conservation or recreation (fixes up vacant lots, installs playground equipment in run-down parks, plants trees or flowers, builds a community garden)
- Provides environmental education (teaches kids or community members about what they can do to better the environment, makes a mural or art project that explains something about the environment)
- Improves access to healthy, green goods and services (brings farmers markets to low-income neighborhoods)
- Conserves energy (creates or expands clean transportation, improves energy efficiency)
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions, such as CO2, NOX, or CH4, that contribute to global climate change (plants trees, builds green roofs, helps people use renewable energy, employs green building techniques)
- Removes nationally recognized pollutants (CO2, SOX, NOX, Pb, etc) from the air, water, soil, or buildings (retrofits diesel engines, constructs stream buffers, replaces pavement with living ground covers, safely removes mold or lead from the walls and paint of old buildings, uses bioremediation to clean up a site)
- Diverts waste from landfills (starts a recycling program, turns trash into useful products, turns trash into energy)
- Something else! You know your neighborhood best. We want to support ideas we haven’t thought of yet, too.
3. Benefits the Public. ioby exists to serve our communities and the local environment; generally speaking, that should be the goal of your idea, too. Your idea should be aimed at the public good, rather than private benefit.
4. Makes No Profit. A key principle of our model is that your project is looking for a donation, not an investment. Ideas that generate a profit are not accepted because we want all of the projects that receive donations to provide public benefits, not private gains. (Not to mention that we guarantee to donors that donations to projects are tax-deductible.) While it is common, you do not need to be associated with a non-profit organization.
5. Site-Specific. Part of our mission it to encourage community engagement directly with the local environment. Your idea should be for a particular place, a public space, or at a specific site so that people can understand (and even come see) where you’ll be making an impact. If your idea involves changing minds or opinions only, consider revising your project so that the result is not only a changed mind but also a changed environment. (For example, teach kids about healthy eating habits and ecosystems by bringing them directly into community garden to do hands-on work.)
6. Direct. Because we want to see positive change, ioby supports ideas that are action-oriented with direct results. We want to let people fund or volunteer for projects that have immediate results as well as long-term impacts. (For example, let donors fund the purchase of the daffodils and mulch directly rather than funding the fliers that announce to the community that the annual daffodil-planting day is coming up. Use ioby.org as a tool to get volunteers and participants to your Daffodil Day instead of printing advertising materials.)
7. Simple. Keep the idea simple and straightforward. Be sure you can state the environmental problem and your solution in a way that makes it clear you know how to achieve your results. Consider breaking up an idea with multiple steps or components into separate, simpler projects. This will increase your chances of being funded and attracting volunteers.
8. Smart Budget. ioby has a "flexible finish" policy, so if you're close to reaching your funding target, but need the money right away, we'll disburse to you. Similarly, if you're absolutely killing it as a fundraiser, we'll let you raise more than your targeted amount. That said, funds are only dispersed to you when the project funded to the point that we know your project will be successful. So, plan your budget reasonably. We find that projects under $3,000 are funded faster than more expensive ones.
Or, if you're ready,