Today, millions of people share photos, links and funny jokes on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. These networks show us that the internet is an enormously powerful tool. It can and should be used for a more substantive purpose. GiftFlow gives people a platform to share what they need and what they can give. From an hour of volunteer time to a lawnmower, users on GiftFlow post their 'Needs' and 'Gifts'. So far these have ranged from a need for yoga classes to the gift of an 'extremely dedicated conversation'.
Our mission is to create local networks of giving that include both individuals and local organizations. We believe that using GiftFlow will enable people to save money, reduce waste and build community. Instead of engaging in monetary transactions or barters, our users 'pay it forward' in a circle of reciprocity. The general idea was best described by Lewis Hyde in his book The Gift :
"Circular giving differs from reciprocal giving in several ways. First, when the gift moves in a circle, no one ever receives it from the same person she gives it to...When the gift moves in a circle its motion is beyond the control of the personal ego, and so each bearer must be part of the group and each donation is an act of social faith."
Giving something away on GiftFlow both prevents waste and overconsumption. Users can avoid adding to the landfill while also saving each other money. Communication is all that is required. As a GiftFlow user, by posting what you need and what you have to give away, you contribute to a growing database of gifts and needs. Each post creates the possibility for a successful gift. Each gift prevents waste, reduces consumption and most importantly, earns the gratitude of the recipient.
Our team continues to grow. We are based in New Haven, CT but people use GiftFlow all over the country. We are a non-profit and welcome the gifts and contributions of anyone who might be interested. We hope that the online community of GiftFlow creates an offline community of mutual interdependence and support.
Also, here is an article about us in GOOD magazine: http://www.good.is/post/giftflow-when-collaborative-consumption-isn-t-enough-try-collaborative-production/
Register at GiftFlow.org with something you'd like to offer and receive from the world-wide community!