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SpaceShare Carpooling & Green Logistics New Years Newsletter

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This month...

SpaceShare takes a different approach than most organizations, which I sometimes describe as "do it ourselves," like knitting a sweater, but instead of a sweater we're trying to create a greener gift-economy transportation system for North America. Our style is to have all the mission-focus of a nonprofit but earn income rather than ask for donations, and to create a space where good-hearted people can take practical actions, in a community, that really make a difference. You're welcome to be part.

Year in Review

SpaceShare is almost bursting at the seams, growing slowly but prepared to make a big jump.

Accomplishments: Much of the growth in 2006 involved quality rather than quantity: larger events; new tools; more press. New technologies are being explored to greatly improve the offerings, adding forums and blogs and even entire websites around the carpool systems. Agaric Web Designs is helping transform our functional but clunky website.

  • Early hopeful sign: we believe there is a grant to build a church/synagogue/mosque/etc. carpool system for an institution in the East Bay. We're hoping this is the first step on an amazing path. Morgan will bring an update with the next newsletter.

Barriers: It's very challenging for people to commit to a green-entrepreneurial project that can't gaurantee a living-wage paycheck. And we're too small to be efficient at what we do. We're almost sure that three to five folks could all make a good living while doing amazing work, but we don't have the capital to hire them. If you connect us with an angel investor OR people willing to absorb the risk of small paychecks at first, SpaceShare will fly, but until then SpaceShare is stuck on a plateau.


  • Conferences: We've added new tools such as forums and Ambassador Programs. They've been beta-tested, and will start getting more use in 2007. For sustainable growth, we need:
    1. Tell conferences about us! In this world of spam, it's hard to get conference organizers to listen for even 30 seconds. But if you're buying a ticket or a registration, they'll listen to you.
    2. Intern - help us finish the greening guide.
  • Festivals: I love the idea of greening festivals, and SpaceShare volunteers get a lot of appreciation at the summer festivals for doing what we do. The hard truth is that festival carpooling has been a drain on the rest of the project in 2006, more energy going in than being returned. We're ready to reach out to many more festivals but only if some new people step up:
    1. Steady volunteers. We especially need one person who goes to many festivals, who learns how to be the person in charge of the booth. Great internship, spend your summer listening to music and saving the planet!
    2. Green Sponsors. We do our work in exchange for sponsorships. Can you connect SpaceShare with a green business that would like a great advertising opportunity; a business that wants to reach the crowds at festivals?
  • Technology: Rather than write grant proposals, we'd prefer to build websites. We fund our carpool systems in part by finding other uses for the web design skills, specialized search engines and community building tools that we've developed for carpooling. For sustainable growth, we need:
    1. Clients. Do you know a nonprofit or company that needs web work done? Have them ask us questions or send us their Request For Proposals.
    2. Volunteers. Want to learn about web design, or apply growing skills? Our own site is rather complex, and we're completely redesigning it in conjunction with Agaric Web Design. A great chance to flesh out a resume and learn about Drupal-based websites.

Imagine a world where every festival, every conference, every church synagogue and mosque, every college encouraged their membership to share and conserve. SpaceShare is a tiny tiny project, with that huge goal nearly in reach. We've shown that it can be done: the tools work, event planners are enthusiastic, travelers are happy, and it will be financially sustainable when there are three employees and able to grow organically at about five. It can be done. But the point isn't to show that it can be done, but to do it, to help thousands of events and colleges and churches -- millions of people. We're a different kind of organization: we're not asking for your money, but for your participation, your thoughts, your connections.

Volunteer Project: Green Events Guide

SpaceShare may be talking to a thousand event organizers in a year. It's time to help them be green in many new ways beyond carpooling. This is a straightforward volunteer role that will help many events, researching and re-designing the "Green Events Guide." I'm hoping to get 2 or 3 people willing to make a 5-hour per week commitment for a couple of months. Together, you'll be able to make a real contribution. Anyone looking for a green New Year's Resolution?

Live in the Philippines or Thailand, Work for SpaceShare

Activism aside, my dream job had long been to find a professional, challenging & worthwhile job, convince them to let me telecommute, then work from a tropical beach.

Marketing SpaceShare might be a great telecommute-from-home job for someone in transition, such as a new parent who wants to stay with their child and remain a part of the professional world. If you want work that can provide a challenge and help save the planet, and you can manage on a small paycheck of a green startup, this may be the perfect opportunity for you.

Or, it might be a great job for an escape artist. Would you want to live on a tropical beach for a year, work a 30-hour week in a professional setting doing good work that will grow your resume, and earn a living wage with a bit of savings when your travels are over? SpaceShare's work can be done anywhere, including amazing places with a low cost of living!

Past volunteers are particularly welcome to check in and let me know if you are interested (I keep telling everyone that volunteers will get oversized karmic paybacks...)

Thank You!!!

Too many people have been involved to name everyone -- SpaceShare doesn't fuel itself on donations, we're people-powered, so I would like to wish an especially happy New Year to key people who made things happen in 2006:

Distant participants from technology intern David Llewellyn in the UK to Carissa Cabrera in Chiang Mai to Benjamin Melancon and Agaric Design, merely on the East Coast. Festival regulars Rachel Kleinman, Abraham Becker, Kelley, Amber and lots of occasional volunteers. And our local interns, from Stacie Auvenshine at the turn of last year, Summer interns Michael Smith and Mary Kohut along with Senior Editor Shaina Johnson, to Morgan Hague beginning our journey to bring carpooling to religious communities in autumn.

Have you considered getting involved? We get hundreds of contacts each year, from volunteer offers to resumes, so if you get lost in the cracks, please be proactive and let us know you're ready to commit and make a difference!

Help us create in 2007!

Blessings & Choices,

6420 Colby St.
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 520-6175

Replacing Cars with Community

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