Do-It-Yourself Finance

Ethical action: Finding opportunities for groups to raise their own finances

Resources other than money can also be mobilized to help build a better future for people and planet. Families, groups and businesses are experimenting with ways of lending money and volunteer labour to help others.

Worcester Energy Barnraisers (WEB) is a community group that uses volunteer labour and skill sharing to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in Worcester, Massachusetts. People assist with “simple fixes” that can dramatically reduce heating costs. In the process of helping organise a local conference about social, environmental, and economic issues, WEB raised money extending the reach of their group by finding new ways of generating funds.

A delicatessen in Great Barrington, Massachusetts came up with a creative way to finance a transfer to larger premises after a bank refused them a loan. Business owner Frank Tortoriello printed his own currency, Deli Dollars that customers could buy for $8 and later redeem for $10 of deli food. It took just one month to raise the $5000 needed for the move.