The Beauty of Community Crowdsourcing October 16, 2015 12:01

WNCAL Community Crowdsourcing

This post was originally made on June 1st 2015. 

As a young non-profit we have no access to real funding yet. Real funding opportunities come after a non-profit has been consistently operating for 2-3 years. But the work still needs to get done. In our case, people need to be fed, clothed, housed, kept safe, advocated for and all of it needs to be organized and administrated. The lack of formal funding opportunities often leaves us hitting the pavement or pleading online for donations. Those donations are sometimes financial and sometimes material. Sometimes it takes a good long time to get a job done this way. 

Sometimes it's worth the wait. 

I recently discovered if I ask our community for something very specific, like a board, a box of nails, an appliance, etc., community members step up and do their part. It feels like we're learning to really and truly care for each other, to make sure our neighbors needs are met. It's beautiful. 

Over the weekend and into Monday I was able to raise enough funds and physical donations to take care of two cases that we've had for about 60 days each. I shared the needs on all the Facebook groups that I personally belong to. I shared them on Twitter. I shared them on Google plus, and even Pinterest (because you just never know). In both cases the goals were met in very little time when the shares were made on the West Asheville Exchange FB group (WAX the Infamous). It was amazing to be a witness to it happening. Not only did we meet our goals, we got new volunteers to help us do the work that needs to be done to keep people safe in their homes. 

If I had continued waiting and hoping instead of reaching out, more people would have been lining up for help in the meantime, and the collective community needs ever-growing, homes becoming more dangerous, people more poor, resulting in homes and lives being lost. If we can each always remember to reach out, whether it's to give, or to take, or to give a hand, we will find the cycle of self sufficiency within the community become solid and healthy.

If you can't do something to help someone, tell someone who can. If you can help only a little, ask a friend or neighbor to join you, and together you can do more. If we are mindful of our surroundings, including the people in them, we will be able to see those who are coming up short and need a hand. When we see them we must help them, or show them where or to whom to go to. As long as we never turn deliberately away, but face what is in our own community, as a real and common truth that needs our attention, we can only succeed in building a better place for ourselves...and each other. 

It's already working. In just the past few days, together we have helped a lot of people who have been asking for help for along time. We did it. We did that in a few days time. Their suffering can end because we did a thing. We talked to each other. We worked together and made plans and put those into action. Let us continue in this way. 

Thank you, all, for all you do! We cannot do this without you. 



WAX probably should have its own Zip Code. 

Robin Vabolis
Founder & Director
WNC Advocacy League

Have a look around the site to see the many different ways you can give in our community!