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mbul.gifAnother Way At A Glance
mbul.gifHow Another Way Works
mbul.gifThe Another Way Opportunity Database
mbul.gifFictionalized Description of Another Way
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Examples Of Another Way In Action

Funders get more bang for their bucks!

For instance, the ABC Corporation plans to give $5,000 to the local Boys & Girls Club. If, instead of writing a check, it can be persuaded to channel the funds through the Another Way database, the results are spectacular. Let's say without Another Way, the Boys and Girls Club would put the money towards a basketball court. The court would emerge with no effort on the Club's part, conveying, by the way, an unrealistic message in the process. In fact it would teach the exact opposite of what happens in the real world we should be preparing these kids to function in. Instead suppose that $5,000 becomes the reward part of an exchange proposal. In the Reward section of the Another Way database, there's now a listing titled "A basketball court for the local Boys and Girls Club." The exchange is one thousand opportunity hours. Now what happens? The club members, their parents, local church groups and any members of the public who would like to help the Boys and Girls Club get the their basketball court, get a chance to do so. All they have to do is choose opportunities that fit their various schedules and interests. Opportunities provided by any number of nonprofits, including the Boys and Girls club itself!

The $5,000 donation gets the basketball court to the Boys and Girls Club just as it would have using the old way-writing a check directly. But with Another Way, the animal shelter, university preschool, community hospital, Meals on Wheels - you get the idea- they all become incidental beneficiaries.

It would work the same way if the new library were trying to raise money. Instead of writing a check to the library fund directly, a number of books equal to the purchasing power of the check could be listed as rewards. That way everyone in the community could participate. They could choose from a list, the kind of book they want to donate. Think of the thrill some people would get seeing their name as donor in the front of a library book. This would connect people and give community spirit a new meaning!

Young children might want some special materials for a classroom project and decide to volunteer to help an organization that protect animals. Again, a funder would get a double bang. The same dollars when translated and funneled through the Opportunity database would benefit both a children's program and an animal program. For an even bigger impact the children might end up taking animals from the local Humane Society to a Nursing Home and benefit the senior residents as well. A triple bang for the same dollars!

The Opportunity Database

The database contains detailed information too costly to obtain without the help of students in the classroom. Information is a byproduct of a community-based learning curricula which enhances learning as its main goal.

How the Opportunity Database Works

For example, Doris, a graduate student, isn't sure she is on the right track. She needs a breather from her studies and figures she might gain new perspective and maybe do something productive at the same time by working in an entirely new area with a nonprofit. She uses a computer at the University library and clicks on the Another Way icon located on the desk top of all the publicly accessed computers in the community. Three images appear titled OPPORTUNITIES, REWARDS and NONPROFITS. Doris clicks on OPPORTUNITIES and is offered four options. She can search by name of organization, by subject matter, by category of volunteer or by specific mission of project. She hasn't the slightest idea what she wants to do so she clicks on category of volunteer.

She can narrow the choice further by clicking on families, groups or individuals. That's something she does know! She chooses individuals. She is then given the choice of working in administration, working with clients or working with tools. She chooses tools, and between working outside or inside she chooses outside. Doris has a lot more choices and finally settles on the Giraffe Project which allows her to work with some retired carpenters to renovate a preschool playground in a public park. This would be absolutely foreign to her life experiences up to now.

She could have found the project several other ways: By first choosing the specific mission option, she would have been presented with a pull down menu with 15-20 choices featuring the types of people or goals served by nonprofits. She could have chosen preschool or parks.

Joe, age 15, is motivated by rewards. He wants a washer and dryer for his mom. Joe accesses the Opportunity database at the local Boys and Girls Club. Instead of clicking OPPORTUNITIES as Doris did, he clicks on REWARDS. He locates APPLIANCES, then WASHER and DRYERS. He finds selections which include photos and evaluations for each machine listed. Kind of a student version of consumers report and a product of the community-based learning discussed earlier. The exchanges range from 10 hours for some used machines, to 60 hours for top-of-the-line new machines. Joe settles on a 20-hour washer and a bargain 15-hour dryer. While he's at it, he decides to check out motorcycles-just for fun. An older beat-up cycle, offered for only 15 hours, catches his eye. It includes a mentor who is offering to work with someone who would like to learn how to repair and maintain cycles. What had been window shopping becomes a real possibility-in fact Joe finds that he is excited. Of course his mom comes first, but now he has something else to look forward to. He is energized!

He closes REWARDS and opens OPPORTUNITIES. Now he's motivated to do whatever it takes to make his personal goals come true.

He thinks he might like to help coach a soccer team. Like Doris, he makes choices which narrow his search little by little. He ends up with ten possibilities. Joe can meet the time and skills requirements for three, and proceeds to check out the nonprofits offering the opportunities.

He closes OPPORTUNITIES and opens NONPROFITS. He searches by the name of each organization and decides to pursue the Eagles. He knows right away that he would feel really good about helping blind kids. Besides, it would be a new and interesting experience. There is no transportation with this opportunity, but the location is close enough so he can ride his bike.

There are plenty of ways someone might start a search by clicking on NONPROFITS. For instance, Mary Richlady used to donate $400,000 a year to her Alma Mater, but has decided to help young people by contributing half that amount to fund Another Way Rewards. She clicks first on the NONPROFITS and searches by SUBJECT MATTER. She types in CHILDREN and narrows the search further until she's finally satisfied with the information supplied by several summer camps, preschool programs, and children's health projects.

Now she clicks on the ACCOUNTING icon. There she is able to access the work done by business students earlier. Information from tax returns and automated calculations allow her to understand and compare the cost-effectiveness of each organization. Mary decides to contribute to the Wish List of a summer camp, two preschool programs, and a children's health project. She is going to purchase the lumber needed for an addition to Camp Spectacular's dinning area, playground equipment for Jolly PreSchool and will pick up the tabs for the director of Happy Infant Care and a research assistant at the Healthy Children's Institute.

Mary knows exactly what her dollars will accomplish. She has become more than a check writer; she has become a vital part of the process. With a warm feeling she makes out a check to Another Way: Attention Opportunity Rewards. It is for the amounts estimated by the nonprofits, but she thinks with her contacts she can get better prices. She directs that any left over dollars fund individual exchange proposals like Joe's appliances; an airline ticket so an elderly man can visit his grandchildren; gas for a teenager's car for a semester, a pizza party for a church group and concert tickets for a retired couple.

Help us help you create an opportunity database for your community. Become a HSF Champion and a local hero! Contact us.

 

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