Community Exchange progress update

The Community Exchange will enable users to trade credits for community-based goods and services

After years of dreaming and planning, we are at long last developing the Community Exchange – a new feature on the Made Open platform where individuals, groups and organisations can trade earned or donated credits for community-based services (aka timebanking) and goods. This includes the ability for users to earn credits from “impact volunteering”, and also pledging money and materials that meet community needs.

The Community Exchange opens up a world of possibilities around how communities and community-based organisations can respond to requests for help and services from the statutory sector; for example.

Here are the headlines:

  • Any user (individual, group or organisation) can add an Offer or a Request to the Community Exchange unless the exchange in restricted (in which case only approved users can).
  • Any user can view the Community Exchange. The Community Exchange stream is a list of Offers and Requests that can be filtered.
  • Users will be able to donate unwanted credits to a Community Pot – which can be passed on by the site admin to more vulnerable users (primarily people who don’t have the ability initially to earn credits).
  • Users will be able to view and manage their transactions via the user dashboard. “Manage Exchanges” will be a list of all a users Offers, Requests and Trades.
  • The CMS will undertake major changes – primarily enabling the site admin to customise their Community Exchange to meet their exact requirements (e.g. turning off goods, creating sub-categories, approving users etc).
  • Site moderators will be able to download a full CSV report of key Community Exchange stats (e.g. Hours added, goods added, credits earned and spent).
  • Verified users will be able to add goods and services to the Community Exchange without the need for moderation.
  • Site admins can set the value of credits relative to hours and money. Our recommendation is that 1 hour = 1 credit = £7.20 (national minimum wage).
  • Admins can set the starting amount of credits for new users and donate credits from the community pot to a user. Users can also donate their credits to any other user.
  • We will introduce a new ‘hybrid’ account for organisations. This works like an individual account but with the same functionality of groups. Users can choose to sign up as either an individual or an organisation.
  • We will refresh the left hand navigation to make sure users are clear about what is within each section (for example: add an offer / add a request buttons will now be self-contained within the Community Exchange area).
  • We will enable users to earn credits for pledging time, money or materials. These credits can either be spendable via the Exchange or used purely as a ‘social score’ on a users profile.
  • All of the following can be turned on/off within the CMS:
    • The ability to allow users to exchange goods.
    • The ability to allow users to exchange services.
    • The ability to allow users to earn credits from “volunteering”.
    • The ability to allow users to earn credits from pledging money.
    • The ability to allow users to earn credits from pledging materials.
  • We will collect demographic data from volunteers at a project level, which can also be downloaded as a CSV file.
  • The site admin can view live volunteering hours including: new members, members interested in volunteering, members involved in volunteering, hours pledged, hours volunteered, volunteering opportunities added.

These new features represent major functionality that will enhance all our existing platforms.

March 20, 2017