The Spark that ignited Voogle

Background – Living Life Counselling had a challenge

I am honoured to serve on the Board of Living Life, a counselling charity in Bray, Ireland. We were facing a major challenge that had been exacerbated by the pandemic – how to raise funds in a new way?

The counselling charity model involves 100 volunteer counsellors who provide low cost counselling to the unemployed and low-waged, who then donate what they can afford – the rest of the funds come from grants and other financial supports which funds the clinical and admin staff.

My journey

As a previous client of counselling, I wanted to help – but I had no counselling accreditations – but I was lucky – they needed my skills on the board. So 10 years later, when we needed funds to face the backlash of the pandemic, I started thinking what we could do that was different, yet scalable.

Beautiful Wicklow

Adam Grant, Give & Take & Freecycle

I was walking in the Wicklow mountains listening to Give and Take, by Adam Grant on Audible –  – and I was inspired when I heard the description of Free Cycle. To quote from their website; “It’s a grassroots and entirely non-profit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and neighbourhoods. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.”

What if people don’t have skills to Volunteer?

So what could be done? – if we could mobilise lots of people to do good for their nominated charity or cause

This brought me back to my own earlier predicament – how can they help if they don’t have counselling skills or qualifications to be able to volunteer. At first I was thinking that people could sell unwanted stuff, and donate the proceeds. This was an extension of the freecycle concept. That wasn’t enough!

Voogle Virtuous cycle

Creating a Virtuous Circle

I was going round and round in circles, each idea crazier than the last.

And then it hit me – what if they could do something that someone wanted, and that person instead of paying them, donated to the persons nominated charity.

So the Volunteer (let’s call them the Voogler), does a job for someone, who instead of paying them, donates the equivalent payment to the volunteer’s nominated charity.

What next?

So once the idea was born, next I had to figure out a way to do this… This will be explained in the next blog post!

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