Could an open-source donation work?



By Ed Nicholson

So I’ve got this idea.
I’ve been reading  Here Comes Everybody  by Clay Shirky, and he’s describing how Linus Torvalds envisioned Linux as a a community-developed operating system, using an open-source model.  A collaboration of bright minds and refined skills. Obviously, it was a great vision.
And I’m thinking: Wonder if we could do an "open-source" food donation. Commit a certain amount of food and let the community decide how it should be donated.
Here’s what I’m thinking. Tell me if you think it would work: 

Tyson Foods would commit a truckload of Tyson products (35,000 pounds), to be donated to a Feeding America member food bank. (you can find out which one the 200 food banks serves your area by going here).  You tell us how it should be donated. 

Here are the only requirements:

  • It has to generate awareness. Either for the issue of hunger, or for the people and organizations invovled every day in the fight against hunger.   
  • It has to go to a Feeding America food bank.

Here are factors that would  be strongly considered:

  • Engagement.  Will it compel people to actually do something?
  • Creation of community.  Does it provide a means by which people will continue to stay engaged.
  • Creative use of social networking tools.

Here’s what it wouldn’t need to do:

  • Sell Tyson products.  Honestly.  This wouldn’t be a cause related marketing effort (not that there’s anything wrong with that). We’re sincerely trying to enage as many people as possible in the issue of hunger, and we don’t want to put anyone off by making them feel as though we’re "using" them to sell products.
  • Require a financial commitment to execute (I only have chicken to work with). 


So there you go.  What do you think?  Would people participate? 

photo by  James Cridland, Creative Commons, Flickr  

One Reply to “Could an open-source donation work?”

  1. Judy


    I think that this is an amazing idea and I really do think that it would work.  I think the community would love to be responsible for deciding where the Tyson truck went!

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