As usual, @richard_millington was ahead of the curve with his 2012 blog post about Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) and he’s recently reinforced it’s value as The Most Important Idea In Community Development.
I see ABCD as simply elevating an individual’s or community-wide gifts and struggles to the conscious level and helping community members generously share their gifts with people who would love to have them. I’ve been a fervent practitioner of ABCD for about three years and I’d like to integrate it even better into the Puttytribe – with your help, of course.
I’ve run ABCD activities like a non-commercial gift exchange (example: Offers and Needs Market) in-person many times and they work great. But they seem wicked hard to replicate online or to have set up indefinitely.
I have some questions about how you see a non-commercial gift exchange working in a paid community or just in general in the online space. Even if you don’t have direct experience with this kind of thing, maybe you know someone who does or have seen a community who does this well.
- Have you seen any online communities set up and maintain ABCD initiatives like a non-commercial gift exchange?
- Do you know of platforms that might integrate with WordPress or Discourse and facilitate non-financial transactions in a community?
- How could we make adding, searching, and matching gifts or needs more fun that browsing a Google spreadsheet?
I’m grateful for any general thoughts or questions you feel like I should be asking about this. I’ve also copied and pasted some info about what I’m trying to get going from the Puttytribe Community Challenge Wiki (where any member can propose a collaborative challenge for the community to work on together).
Puttytribe Non-Commercial Gift Exchange Community Challenge Details
Overview: As a community built on generosity and collaboration, it's silly that we don't have an organized way to share our gifts in a non-commercial way. Let's design a process where we can freely offer up our gifts, elevate the most interesting or appealing ones, and exchange what we have to give across the community.
Relevant Quote: "The Economy of Human Connection is about putting the needs of people before the importance of the profit we can make from them. Instead of 'How much money can I make from this, or how much money am I going to save from this?' think, 'Who can I help by doing this or how is this going to bring me closer to my community?'" – Sash Milne
- Emphasize the knowledge of who has access to what, who is doing/can do what, and who knows who (a.k.a. tapping into social capital).
- Direct financial transactions between someone offering a gift and another person receiving it aren't allowed.
- Bartering can be a part of the overall process, but the design doesn't explicitly try to facilitate it.
- The ongoing maintenance and administration of the gift exchange needs to be owned by someone, preferably multiple "someones," so it doesn't break down just as soon as it starts.
- Third party tools to run the gift exchange are OK as long as they don't share private data about Puttytribe members, allow us to easily transfer to another platform (e.g., via an export process), and preferably integrate with WordPress.
- If we don't design the gift exchange to get participants "quick wins" in both giving or getting, a puttypeep will probably never give it a second chance. So the first time experience needs to be positive, actionable, and worth repeating.
Key Outstanding Questions:
- Can a minimum viable gift exchange just be a well-designed Google spreadsheet that people can access from anywhere and update at anytime?
- What percentage of active members will actually use a gift exchange? Conceptually, most people like the idea. Practically speaking, it's much harder to persuade someone to use a gift exchange.