How will Seedstock help non-profits thrive?
Just as exciting as the way in which Seedstock will help build a stronger, more vibrant and sustainable local economy are the immense benefits the currency will have for non-profit community organisations and projects, particularly those working to promote local food and food security, health and wellness, and a vibrant creative community.
How it works is simple: in any money system, whoever gets to spend new money first gets a huge advantage, called seigneurage. In the money game we know and love, this privilege is enjoyed by the banking sector. In the Seedstock money game, it goes to the non-profit sector!
Seedstock comes into being when a local business commits to accepting Seedstock as at least partial payment for its goods or services. The business then gets to issue a certain amount of Seedstock and contribute most of it to a non-profit community group or project of its choice – maybe even yours!
Spend it ‘round or change it up
What should you do with the Seedstock contributions your group receives?
The answer: just about anything you could do with conventional cash! For instance:
- Buy goods and services from participating local businesses
- Reward staff and volunteers
- Undertake those projects that you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t had the funds for – until now!
One of the most powerful things your non-profit can do is exchange Seedstock for Canadian Dollars with members of the public who want to support your cause. We call this “making change”. By giving your group the cash it needs to cover things like rent, utilities, staff wages and other hard costs, and receiving Seedstock in return, your supporters effectively get to spend the same dollar twice – once to support your cause, and again at local businesses! Meanwhile, your organisation plays a very important role in bringing Seedstock into wider circulation so that it can have the greatest possible benefits for the local economy. By changing their money, they are helping change their world in more ways than one!
Fundraising has never been easier
Seedstock makes it easier than ever to raise funds locally. Business owners are happy to contribute Seedstock because this is money that they get to create, and because they know that Seedstock is money that goes ‘round and will ultimately come back to support their business. Likewise, members of the public who support your cause will happily purchase Seedstock for cash because Seedstock can be used just like cash for everyday purchases in their community.
- Attract new supporters: Because supporters can make financial contributions without losing spending power simply by buying Seedstock from your non-profit, philanthropy will become accessible to more people and on a greater scale than ever before!
- Build stronger relationships with existing supporters: By offering Seedstock in exchange for cash donations from existing supporters, you will enable them to give much more and much more frequently than they might otherwise be able to afford.
Project Watershed (projectwatershed.ca) is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to promote community stewardship of Comox Valley watersheds through education, information and action. It was also an early beneficiary of the Comox Valley Community Way currency (whose model is the main inspiration for Seedstock) launched in the region in 2009.
Shortly after the currency’s launch, Project Watershed secured $14,000 in Community Way donations from regional businesses. According to Project Watershed’s Caila Holbrook, the non-profit exchanged cw$2000 of the money for Canadian Dollars among its supporters, and spent another cw$8000 locally on such things as:
- Printing educational materials and signs
- Revamping its website
- Commissioning a modern, professional logo
- Hiring a local band and catering service for a fundraising event
- Reimbursing board members’ expenses
Caila says that one advantage of being an early non-profit adopter of Community Way Dollars is the recognition that Project Watershed garnered from local businesses for actively using the community money, resulting ineven more Community Way donations from Comox Valley businesses being earmarked for Project Watershed. In fact, because Project Watershed has been so successful, it is now hosting regular workshops for other non-profits who want to learn more about how to utilise community currency as an effective fundraising tool – workshop fees payable in Community Way Dollars, of course!
“As any non-profit knows, raising $10,000 is not usually a simple matter,” says Caila Holbrook. “Writing grant applications is time-consuming and doesn’t always get results, while fundraising events can be expensive to put on and take a huge amount of organisational effort. By contrast, our initial cw$10,000 donations came to us with almost no effort on our part, and it was simply a matter of deciding how to spend them.”
Caila’s tip for other non-profits: “Don’t be afraid to ask local businesses whether they would accept payment in community money, even if they aren’t official participants. Oftentimes, they’ll say yes. That’s how we spent about half of our Community Way Dollars – simply by asking if we could.”