When you think about what charities and non-profits need, the first thing that probably comes to mind is money.
Money, money, and more money.
But Tanya Woods, the woman behind a socially driven Ottawa tech startup called Kind Village, knows that charities and non-profits sometimes need skilled volunteers, space and equipment, too — and that there are people out there looking to give back in ways that don't always involve their chequebooks.
Individuals and businesses who want to help and have goods or services to offer can sign up to be "kind villagers."
They post what they have to offer — maybe a retired accountant can volunteer bookkeeping services for 20 hours per week, or a big company has some office space it can lend temporarily — and organizations in need can browse to see what's being offered.
"A lot of people feel they don't really know how they can help. And when they ask that question — how can I help? — it's not about how much I can give you in cash, it's about [wanting] to be part of making a change," Woods says.
'There's a lot of difference we can [make by] shifting the focus away from money and thinking about everything else.' -Tanya Woods
Villagers can browse the specific needs of charities and non-profits, too. For example, maybe a food bank needs a working fridge ASAP, or a community centre needs a helping hand on Friday afternoons for a month.
"There's a lot of difference we can [make by] shifting the focus away from money and thinking about everything else, so we focus on that," Woods says. "In-kind giving has incredible power.
"We've been able to get resources and support for organizations in the city that may not have come as quickly or in the way that we've been able to deliver them as easily."
Kind Village has been operating for about five years, mainly with the help of in-kind support and a "little bit of cash," as it's not eligible for many grants, Woods says.
So far its main region of focus has been Ottawa, since that's where it began, but they're beginning to expand into the U.S. and overseas.
Trailblazers is a community connection project that tells stories about people making an impact in the Ottawa area. We received hundreds of submissions and a panel of judges helped select our top 10.