Collaboration with non-profits

  increased sustainability is our advantage

Wer sind relevante Wettbewerber?

In general we try to go out of the competition scheme. In a gift-economy competition doesn’t make sense. We try to make partners with actors and networks that have similar target groups, goals and contents. This is not easy and requires a lot of work and we would like to create a “diplomat” role that just pushes the collaboration and can be represented in other projects.
GEN and the FIC (the biggest community directories) already agreed to share their database of community projects with us.

One main competitor we have, NuMundo, has a profit oriented business model:
They are focusing on projects in Latin America and travelers from North America. They are not so open to share their data with us, although they are interested in a collaboration, but our business models are not compatible at the moment. We do share similar values and respect our different approaches. We also share good relationships. Maybe we will converge in the future.

Another competitor is the WWOOF-project (Worldwide opportunities on organic farms).
Founded in 1971, WWOOF is a loose network of national organizations that facilitate placement of volunteers on organic farms. Australia with 2.600 hosts has the most host farms and enterprises, followed by New Zealand with 2.340 and United States with 2.052 hosts. The UK has 688 WWOOF hosts. While there are WWOOF hosts in 99 countries around the world, no central list or organization encompasses all WWOOF hosts. As there is no single international WWOOF membership, all recognized country organizations strive to maintain similar standards, and work together to promote the aims of WWOOF.

The host provides food, accommodation, and opportunities to learn, in exchange for assistance with farming or gardening activities. The membership in a national WWOOF network has an annual fee, paying this you receive a paper list with addresses after some weeks. Sometimes there is a small description of the farms and what you can do. In many cases you have absolutely no idea what is going to happen, but of course you can call the hosts if they have a phone.
Because of this there are many conflicts in the network and a high amount of the revenues are spent on traveling costs for mediators to go to the farms and solve the conflicts with the hosts.

Our advantage here is that we have a free accessible modern website with a global directory. We focus on communities and permaculture instead of organic farms. So we have social and even stronger ecological values. With the other volunteers reviews on the detailed ecobasa profiles you can get a good image of the communities. Even if the community did not provide any information about their place, volunteers can add it to their ecobasa profile later. If there is a conflict, we have trained mediators that can work online and for donations we can also send them.

Eurotopia Book
This little book is printed every 2 years in Germany by a small team, you can buy it online and get it after some weeks. There are many European communities with good descriptions and data. Also there are some inspiring tips and articles. There is no special purpose for these addresses and data, probably the people know what to do with it. They don’t advertise and the book is only known to people who are in the scene already. The quality of the database is the best one available because it is updated regularly by the team by hand writing letters.
They don’t want to share their data with us, because they are afraid of loosing profit.

There is just one gift-economy network but without sustainability or community focus:

Our combination of a sustainability network using gift-economy is unique and there are no direct competitors.

Wie stark ist der Wettbewerb im Markt?

It is present, because it is part of the culture that we grew up in and mainly still live in.
Money is scarce, so if people make a living with a project, they don't want to lose this opportunity. (Eurotopia)
In our field of radical sustainability people are aware that it is not sustainable to have competition, so we do find common grounds in our values and approaches and there is constant motivation to get together and collaborate.
Together with actors in our area we try to identify strengths and weaknesses and try to create an ecosystem where we can share win-win relationships, like in a gift-economy.
So in our market and culture, competition is quite weak and almost not existing.
With gift-economy projects it is never really a problem, because they live in the same spirit.
Community Directories are usually run by a lot of people and there are different opinions and attitudes.
We were not allowed to ask for donations on the GEN conference this year, because they were afraid that they would get less donations.
So again, money creates competition, because it is artificially scarce.

Was ist Ihr Wettbewerbsvorteil?

Our combination of matching sustainable lifestyles within a gift-economy frame is unique. We address specific interests and problems in our customer segments with this unique and sustainable solution that creates surplus. There are just community directories without further interaction possibilities.
There are some elements in GEN and NuMundo that have been copied from ecobasa recently.
Our customers value our radical sustainability above other projects and networks, because sustainability is of extreme importance to them and they can see the values and benefits of gift-economy.
We are transparent and open. These values and practices give us a high reputation.
We want to work with professionals in the team.
All the community networks work a lot with volunteers, underpaid jobs and poor management. Often resulting in an unprofessional perception.
We think donors are much more motivated to pay experienced professionals and if they show work with high customer value, they should receive higher compensation.

- Our software is open-source and well documented. Our product development is not depending on single people that are socially complicated.
- lean website, modulated around the users’ needs
- fast reaction towards needs and wishes of users
- independent from any requirements from funding institutions, sponsors etc. -> we can just focus on users

Welche Rolle spielt Nachhaltigkeit auf dem relevanten Markt des Gründungsvorhabens?

Sustainability is the highest value in our market. It is the main focus of interest of our target groups and all their living and learning practices go in the direction of reaching higher sustainability in their lives.
They already made significant changes and sacrifices in their lives to reach higher sustainability.
It is our main selling point to connect these people with each other so they can improve their sustainability with each others resources, skills, knowledge and experiences. Only like this they can get even more sustainable - in the most sustainable way that we can think of.

Welcher Wettbewerbsvorteil könnte durch die zusätzliche Berücksichtigung einzelner Nachhaltigkeitsprinzipien (siehe dazu unter Erläuterungen) erreicht werden? Ist dieser Vorteil lang anhaltend?

We already focus on all aspects of sustainability and even more than is explained here. We try to cover the aspects of environmental, social, economical and spiritual sustainability as well.
They are at the core of our project and target groups and will be of long term advantage, because they and we are sustainable.
We try to be very efficient with our time, because everybody is volunteering so far. We use Sociocracy 3.0 to stay and become more effective in our governance, so we can focus on the things we do to make a change.
We are transparent with all donations and expenses to everybody. We discuss our needs openly and decide collectively how to distribute the money.
Team and network members as well as event participants have been reducing their living costs through the project and learning sustainable practices in the network. They became advocates and trainers themselves, depending on their level of involvement.

Mehr Informationen gibt es auf, dem Portal für die Grüne Gründerszene!