We feel honored to hear from you! We are inspired by the passion you've expressed in your desire to co-create an Hour Exchange in your community. Each new Exchange is a cause for celebration as we move from a deficit based cash economy to our true wealth community currency based on giving and receiving out of abundance. We will help you, happily, by sharing all the steps, stories and models that are known to us. Where to begin? Listed below are suggested first steps for organizing a new Hour Exchange. We provide free access to Time and Talents, the software that supports hOurworld. Check out the software demos with the links above. If you have questions about Time and Talents, please contact Stephen(at)hourworld.org.
Read through the steps below, take action and if your group decides to co-create an exchange contact us. We'd be delighted to provide ongoing support for your new community exchange!
RECRUIT YOUR "KITCHEN CABINET" / LEADERSHIP TEAM:
As you begin get ten to twelve committed people together to talk about growing your exchange. Be thoughtful about the skills of your group. The magic recipe includes: happy networkers, someone who loves computers, people who like to do events and fundraisers, someone with social service or nonprofit experience, a bookkeeper, someone with good marketing ideas, maybe someone who likes to write grants, and a couple of folks who are very personable on the phone.
ESTABLISH A GROUP VISION:
Put on the coffee or pull out the wine and dedicate a few hours to Dreaming and Visioning how your Exchange would stimulate the sharing of ideas, cultivate friendships and respond to your community's needs. What is the greatest concern in your community now? Is it unemployment? Transportation? Medical care? Food security? What population comes immediately to mind for membership? Would that be elders? Young families? Everyone? It's what works best for your neighbors. Why not ask them?
LOCATE AN OFFICE SPACE:
Eventually you will want to find a site to donate (accountants call this "in-kind") an office and meeting space, a phone and computer. Having a workplace gives you a foundation from which to build your network. It can be a place of worship, a social service agency, an empty storefront, or the back of a business. It's important to be conscious in this decision. Be sure wherever you land represents inclusivity, somewhere welcoming, without bias, and given willingly because the donor believes in this good work. Where you are meeting is a statement of the values of your program.
WATCH THE SOFTWARE OVERVIEWS:
RAISING STARTUP FUNDS
Now or later: Many exchanges ask their members for a small annual donation like $25. This accomplishes two things:
You may want to investigate hosting a crowd-funding campaign (learn more here: KickStarter indiegogo ioby).
- a personal investment by the group which will deepen the bond between everyone and,
- funds for a public marketing for the program to stimulate interest within your community and other costs.
This movement is about complementary currencies. We believe that real wealth is found in the currency of community; while the cash economy has its role, it will never replace the power that members of a community have when they join their voices and spirits together to solve our common problems.
We look forward to continuing a dialogue with you, supporting your good work and helping your world connect to hOurworld.
Linda Hogan, Terry Daniels, Stephen Beckett and the hOurworld team.