At ioby, we think that small can actually be pretty big. Some neighbors crowdfund with ioby for large-scale projects that unfold over many years. Others are small, quick, and might even be temporary. But the changes these projects represent are anything but small. In 2019, our neighbors worked hard to bring their great ideas to life, and as they did so they strengthened our collective civic muscle, expanded what is possible for our communities, and reinforced our democracy.

The truth is that it can be tough to make change alone. But at almost every step of the way, ioby is there to support changemakers in getting good done. After all, being there for our neighbors is a key part of who we are and what we do. With ioby’s tailored resources, one-on-one coaching, and ten years' worth of practical fundraising know-how, neighbors can lean on us to help raise the money and support they need to fight for Black women's maternal health, reshape how the history of women, queer, and trans people is told, celebrate and protect our planet, and so much more. 

This past year has been incredible for our neighbors and for ioby. To date, thousands of neighbors have raised over $7 million to make positive change across the country, and brought to life hundreds of projects that make our neighborhoods more sustainable, more just, and more awesome. They show that there’s great power in the simple act of coming together to confront a common problem. In overcoming differences and challenges, our neighbors are forging a new, more inclusive future with ioby. That’s nothing short of transformative.

This Giving Report is a chance to look back and celebrate all the incredible work our communities did together this year. It’s the story of the neighborhood, of kindling the flame of our democracy, and of getting good done.

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People and Places

A sense of place is central to who we are and the work we do at ioby. The neighborhoods and communities where we live, work, and play are special—they’re full of the people and things that make a place feel like home, and they’re often where the interactions happen that lay the foundation for our democracy. Where we decide that someone’s got to do something, where we overcome disagreements and differences, and where we make change.

When neighbors want to make those places stronger, healthier, and more sustainable, they turn to ioby.

Anyone with a great idea anywhere in the country can work with ioby. We also have cities of focus—currently Detroit, Memphis, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh—where we work in neighborhoods with long histories of disinvestment, but that are also defined by a culture of residents organizing to get good done where they live.

One of the ways we can make the greatest impact in our places of focus is by having staff on the ground, our City Action Strategists. They’re especially tuned into their cities (they’ve often started their own ioby projects!) and are trusted members of the community. They work to make face-to-face connections, help organize neighbors and doers, and help build connections between neighbors and with civic partners.

Matt Kelly is a freelance journalist, but he's also a passionate citizen scientist. He was fascinated with the bees at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, where in an area the size of Delaware there are nearly as many unique bee species as there are anywhere east of the Mississippi. But the bees are threatened, not least by the federal government’s action to shrink the park in 2018. So he and his team crowdfunded $28,662 with ioby to study the bees, and chronicle their journey to raise awareness about critical natural habitats.

By the numbers


Projects by type


South Memphis has a long history of community and music. It's the home of legendary record label Stax, as well as the birthplace of famed Afrofuturistic musician Maurice White. Neighbors wanted to honor that history with The South Memphis Future & Funk Community Art Garden, a multi-generational garden project that will turn a vacant lot in the neighborhood into a gathering place, and an opportunity for neighbors to meditate on the meaning of "home" in South Memphis. Neighbors raised $7,720 with ioby to help finalize the garden and to host a community celebration with art and music.  

We recently asked successful ioby leaders what they valued most about ioby.​ As ioby grows, we continue to refine our model based on feedback, develop new tools and trainings to meet our community's needs, and reinvest in the pieces that are proven to work. Here's a bit of what we heard back.

Davidica Little Spotted Horse is clear-eyed about the challenges that her community on the Pine Ridge Reservation faces. “Our county is the second poorest county in the United States. We have an 80% unemployment rate here," she says. "But I totally know that our people and our kids are super resilient and smart. They have hope and an amazing love for the reservation, and for our territory and for our people." So she, her daughters, and her community decided to start the Wa'na Wanhi Lakota Youth Project to create a space for young people struggling with their mental health to heal together, and to strengthen their community along the way. As part of their community action program they crowdfunded $1,050 with ioby to bring donations of items that aren't locally available to the reservation from California to share with the community.


Residents in Kansas City, Kansas, looked around and saw that walking—a pretty basic activity—was a bit of a challenge in the neighborhood. There were missing sidewalks, big cracks, and uneven surfaces. "Walking in the middle of the street is dangerous, but kids were doing it. Why?" Shannon Criss, one of the project leaders, said. So a group of neighbors, community organizations, and local university members came together to crowdfund $8,734 for a survey that helps them build the case for investment from the local government.

What makes ioby different?

A lot of hard work and thought goes into every crowdfunding campaign on ioby, often before a page even goes live to start collecting donations. From the idea stage, to crowdfunding, straight through to strategizing to bring a project to life, ioby is there to support neighborhood leaders.


“All you have to do is Google ‘Black maternal health,’ and you’ll see that too many Black women are dying in childbirth,” Syreeta Gordon says, and she’s right. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that Black mothers die at a rate 3.3 times higher than white mothers, and of those deaths 3 in 5 are preventable. While there is a broader, systemic crisis at play, Syreeta wanted to jump into action and do what she could to fight for health and justice. She crowdfunded $1,493 with ioby to begin to train doulas of color to provide access to the learning, resources, and care that Black mothers need for a healthy and safe pregnancy.

The changemaker's toolbox

It isn't always easy to make change. Sometimes, inviting neighbors to step up and lead a project can be a big ask. We get that. But making change, and even swimming against the current when you need to, gets a little easier with folks cheering you on. That's a big part of our job at ioby, and the resources we continue to develop play a big role in that.

With offerings like webinars, toolkits, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities, neighbors build their organizing chops and get the skills they need to successfully complete their own project. The tips and best practices shared in our resources are often shaped by other successful leaders who step up to pass on their own expertise. It's a unique way to build a knowledge bank and keep the movement going.

Toolkits: Spotlight on community health

Health is about more than doctors and medicine. It's also about access to healthy foods, places to play and exercise, looking out for one another, and so much more. Much of health happens not in doctors offices, but in the places we call home. But tackling public health at the neighborhood level can feel like a tall order. So this year, we reached out to the experts—ioby leaders—and put together a practical guide based on best practices they learned while bringing to life their own public health projects. The toolkit features in-depth case studies, step-by-step guides, and much more to help everyday neighbors boost public health in their communities.


Our webinars are a unique opportunity for neighbors far and wide to interact and learn from one another. Leaders who have successfully crowdfunded get an opportunity to pay it forward and offer advice, and other leaders can ask questions and get practical tips from folks who've been in their shoes. In 2019 we hosted webinars on reusing vacant lots, organizing for gender justice, creative storytelling for fundraising, and more.

Peer-to-peer learning

Our peer-to-peer resources, like the Learn from a Leader series and Recipes for Change, are a library of in-depth case studies built from lived experiences. Through these resources, project leaders can lean on a community of experts who have walked in their shoes, and learn the skills they need for a successful project.

In your corner

Most people don't wake up in the morning excited to ask friends, family, neighbors, and strangers for money, and one of the top reasons that people who we work with are initially hesitant to fundraise is a fear of making their fundraising asks. But fundraising is a skill that, like any other skill, requires practice, attention to known best practices, and expert guidance to learn. That’s where ioby’s Leader Success Team comes in.

More than just a friendly customer service and support team, ioby’s Leader Success Strategists are seasoned experts in grassroots fundraising and movement-building. Together, they’ve worked with thousands of local leaders to rally their neighbors, built detailed and realistic budgets, and helped think through countless fundraising activities to raise the money neighbors need to bring their ideas to life.

ioby doesn’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to fundraising. We know that when each group of neighbors crowdfunds, they bring different experiences, strengths, and needs to the table. So our Success Strategists always start by listening. They learn what the team is bringing to the campaign, and what they are hoping to achieve. Then, they help set a fundraising strategy, and identify where teams may need additional coaching or resources.

Whatever the challenge, the Leader Success Team is available to talk through the strategy, provide key resources as needed, and assist in the execution. It’s this personalized approach, moving at the speed of trust, that sets ioby apart from others in the civic crowdfunding space.


ioby can help make it happen. 

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