Fri 25 Sep 2020 6:21PM

Chapter Wishbone Project | DISCUSSION

B Ben Public Seen by 124

2-tiered effort to engage chapters and support a more inclusive community perspective.


Over the course of 2020, there have been several discussions on the next steps to support our community growth. I've tried to pull together several proposed ideas, thus the 2-part Wishbone project. Please review the document for the full project summary. This Loomio discussion is a summary below, and aims to introduce this idea, refine it with community support, and open the project for a formal vote. For more background on the topic, please view the SPC Discussion from September 11th which helped to frame the process.

Part 1: Chapter Sharing

A transparent crowdfunded microgrant program for e-NABLE Chapters. Allocated resources would be distributed as need-based non-recurring short-term projects with clear objectives and outcomes. Resources could include funds, equipment donations, and materials.

e-NABLE Chapter Fund Sharing Program Key Features

  • Chapters with defined local needs can ask for funds or resources as needed

  • Chapters and volunteers can donate materials, equipment, and funds to regional chapters in need.

  • Outcomes also serve the wider community through their documentation 

  • Awards can encourage model behaviors and chapter reporting 

  • Chapter requests can be supported or justified by citing specific cases from EWC

  • Open contributions to match requests are encouraged within e-NABLE community for those who are able, including in-kind support of materials and kits.


    We want to support chapters with immediate needs. Our community thrives on interconnections, local  and regional chapter partnerships, and international collaborations. We need a proposal and decision making process that is lighter-weight than Loomio, and an administrative process that is lighter-weight than the one required of non-profits corporations. We need someone to be responsible for designing and administering the system. We need seed funds to begin .

Part 2: Chapter Feedback

An expansive community perspective of chapter activities, achieved through an automated feedback system collecting statistics (a natural complement for the bottom-up Chapter Fund Sharing)

e-NABLE Chapter Feedback Program Key Features

  • Quarterly reports of basic activities and annual reports with deeper insights

  • Integration in the Chapter Map with active chapters 

  • Community-facing insights from the feedback


Relying on chapters to voluntarily provide statistics doesn’t work. As a decentralized community, there has always been a clear lack of overall statistics and engagement from chapters. We have the ability to directly engage with every chapter. Having statistics of overall trends can better help us understand the reach of our community and the impact on others. With statistics we can be aware of community needs without flying in the dark and constantly guessing what’s best.

Background: EnableFund & Enablio

Currently, The EnableFund (Open Collective) is used to fund community projects through a proposal and voting process via Enablio (Loomio). These projects need to benefit the community as a whole, tend to be  ‘top-down’ (research and development or infrastructure-based) vs. bottom-up (locally based), and are typically multi-thousand-dollar projects. Because the EnableFund is administered by a tax-exempt 501(c)3 corporation (Rochester Enable Limited) it has been able to accept tax-deductible donations from corporations and charitable foundations for redistribution to the community.  However, the accounting, reporting, and liability burdens are significant. To minimize these burdens on Rochester Enable Limited’s unpaid and uninsured administrators, the EnableFund works best for larger, well-documented projects. This is why we need a different mechanism for expedited microgrants for small projects and chapters.

How: A Chapter-Centric Pilot

For several reasons, the proposed pilot program focuses on e-NABLE Chapters. Chapters have become significant entities of the e-NABLE movement, organized to suit the needs, abilities, and governance preferences of their members. Chapters often exist within other traditional organizations (schools, hospitals, businesses). They are financially and politically independent, even as they share interdependent resources (like open source designs). We want to build on this pattern. We have a well-organized process for qualifying and mapping, as well as recognizing and celebrating e-NABLE chapters. We would like to support these chapters to guide others with more visibility into their activities. 

Many e-NABLE chapters have developed their own fund-raising practices.  Their leaders are typically motivated volunteers with strong local networks and networking skills.  We know of several that have sponsored other new chapters in developing countries.  We want to learn from them, celebrate their achievements, generalize their best practices, and get their help funding this project. Over the course of Q4, the pilot program aims to open opportunities for iteration and community feedback. See Project Timeline below for details.

Project Team

Ben Rubin - Media Coordination Project 

Mažvydas Sverdiolas - Lead Development Volunteer

Jon Schull - Finance Oversight Volunteer

Teri Sanor - Community Organizer Volunteer


‘Active’ chapters would be defined as those recently providing basic statistics. Chapters commonly follow their own organizational guidelines which includes some reporting. An automated system can send out quarterly emails to chapter leaders with unique links to a simple form. The data collected can significantly inform the overall picture of our community and provide guidance to younger chapters.


Almost the entire process can be completely automated, and continue at the beginning of every quarter. The report forms would be sent out to chapters that have been part of the community for +6 months.  A page on the hub can allow admins to initiate the reporting process and/or to see the data coming in. The form itself can be created on the Hub as a passive reminder that the hub exists. We can decide if we want to require chapters to be members of the hub in order to fill it out. The data from the forms would be automatically added to a spreadsheet that would be shared internally. We would have a single spreadsheet with “YEAR Q#“ tabs/pages of data for historical analysis in one place. Every week the automated script could send out reminders. If a chapter fails to respond in the given timeframe, a chapter’s ‘active’ status would be removed from the map until they respond (see Mazvy’s penalty examples). These reports would allow us to not only gather statistics, but also prune out chapters that are no longer active and wouldn’t be there to help those in need or even provide basic information.

Project Timeline

September 2020

  • Propose the system, open discussion with the community on Loomio.

  • Establish the team.

October 2020

  • Document the process.

  • Create a separate fund for microgrants, transparently moderated by volunteers. 

    • Transactions distributed via international platform (Paypal?).

  • Consider seed fund via small grant proposal in Loomio.

  • Pilot process and explore internal campaigns. 

  • Establish guides for chapter statistics collecting that improve impact 

    • (delivered devices, recipient volunteer feedback, local stories published)

  • Deploy basic chapter feedback form (4 week period for chapters to fill out the forms)

November 2020

  • Consider process for non-chapter affiliated volunteers to participate

  • Targeted follow-up for chapter feedback form

December 2020

  • Chapter map activity adjustments based on October feedback form.

  • Establish quarterly insights resulting from microgrant process.

    • (regional, national, and international)

  • Deploy annual chapter feedback form.


  1. Who is eligible to request funds?

    • With a chapter-centric pilot, chapter leaders would be eligible to participate. Since the platform will exist on the Hub, registration will be required. We have an underutilized space for chapter leaders and a member category for chapter leaders to self identify when they register. 

  2. How do people request funds? How will the community know?

    • In an identified Hub space, chapter leaders could post their request in the stream, perhaps following a template. Utilizing the pinned post in the community forum, we could employ a bot to dynamically update activity from our fund sharing to the wider community.

  3. Who decides if funds are provided? How?

    • Similar to Loomio, a required number of votes, a winning percentage, and an optional ‘block’ could be employed. The Hub features a polling tool in the menu.

  4. What is the money transaction process?

    • With our global community, a widely-accepted platform with benefits for international currencies, a low transaction rate, and micropayment options would be ideal. One option is Paypal, which offers organizational discounts.

  5. What are the fund recipient’s responsibilities?

    • Similar to Loomio, contingencies could be flexible for each request and may be negotiated during a discussion phase before or during voting. Reporting outcomes could also have a standard template. A chapter’s ability to document how the money was invested and the impact would be critical.

  6. How are transactions logged and accounted for?

    • A spreadsheet could be maintained by a designated volunteer(s) with regular oversight from the SPC or perhaps EnableFund representative. Automated reporting could also be involved.

  7. Where does the money come from?

    • While we may want to consider seed money to begin, the project is aimed to allow chapters to support each other, and to encourage volunteers around the world to contribute to projects they are inspired by and would like to follow.

Areas for Consideration

  • How do we define eligible participants?

    • Volunteers with badges?

    • Can ‘virtual’ chapters be formed with non-local alliances?

  • Mapping 

    • A layer for inactive chapters?

    • Can Volunteer Badges be mapped?

    • What about those who are not relying on 3D printing to contribute: individuals, spaces without teams, and other teams?

  • Can feedback forms be available in multiple languages? Translation of responses?



Ben Mon 28 Sep 2020 8:04PM

One consideration I had over the weekend was to amend the first part to 'Chapter Sharing' - I've taken out the word 'fund'. Chapters and volunteers might have equpiment or materials they could share as well as funds. If a member donated a printer, the project could be used to find a good home for it as well as collect funds for shipping.

Part 1: Chapter Sharing

A transparent crowdfunded microgrant program for e-NABLE Chapters. Allocated resources would be distributed as need-based non-recurring short-term projects with clear objectives and outcomes. Resources could include funds, equipment donations, and materials.

e-NABLE Chapter Fund Sharing Program Key Features

  • Chapters with defined local needs can ask for funds or resources as needed

  • Chapters and volunteers can donate materials, equipment, and funds to regional chapters in need.


Bob Rieger Mon 28 Sep 2020 9:27PM

A worthy initiative, Ben....thanks! It will only be as successful as the ability to raise funds for micro grants.....and that rests entirely upon the willingness of the community to provide a financial response. Good luck, and best wishes!


Ben Mon 28 Sep 2020 9:54PM

It's true. As a means to kickstart this project, I am willing to contribute seed money from my earnings through the Media Coordination Project. I don't make much, but it's certainly enough to 'put my money where my mouth is'. I think it's fair to set the standard with the right intentions. For those who benefit from this community, it is an opportunity to share, redistribute, and honor the valuable contributions of volunteers within this network. I will donate my September paycheck into the fund as a cornerstone, which is $1500. For September, I will have worked as a volunteer to get this project started. I hope this inspires others to appreciate the potential of this project, to be respectful with their requests, and join in to share what they can for fellow developing chapters.


Bob Rieger Mon 28 Sep 2020 10:02PM

Ben, your donation offer is most gracious and generous, but my personal opinion is a far more modest donation would be sufficient and appropriate. Your compensation from e-NABLE is not great, and you already work far more than what would be considered a fair wage. If this initiative is to be successful, we need a broad base of smaller donations....for example, if 1,000 of our volunteers out of an estimated 8,000 worldwide donated just $10 each we would have a $10,000 pot to provide funding. The key here is a broad, modest base of support. Just my opinion.


Poll Created Fri 9 Oct 2020 6:32PM

Chapter Wishbone Project | PROPOSAL Closed Sat 24 Oct 2020 3:02AM

Please see the discussion section for project breakdown.

After two weeks open for discussion, we've moved into the formal voting phase of this project after making minor adjustments based on comments. I am open to make further clarifications and edits during this next phase as well if they help clarify the project goals.

From previous comments, if approved I will offer to match funds from other contributors to help seed the project (up to $1500) and encourage community participation. Sharing materials and services may be more accessible for many volunteers and chapters, so if you have extra equipment you can consider posting surplus that you can afford to share.

A summary of all transactions can be included in the newsletter as well as on the project page.

There are specific details which are not well defined in this proposal. If you find one of these blurry details, please point it out and lets define the path forward together. To collect more feedback and move forward I will need your help! Thanks for your time!


Results Option % of points Voters
Abstain 0.0% 0  
Disagree 0.0% 0  
Block 0.0% 0  

19 of 165 people have participated (11%)


Teri Sanor
Fri 9 Oct 2020 6:32PM

Enable is such an appealing concept that it attracts volunteers from all over the world to make prosthetics. There are some people such as device recipient families who want to help the chapter with shipping and supply costs. There are some people or chapters who can do fundraising for this and some who need funds.. The Wishbone site would give a place for inflow and outflow of smaller amounts of money and supplies to help those market, develope, make and distribute prosthetics..


Jon Schull
Fri 9 Oct 2020 6:32PM

Let’s try this!


Michelle Massie
Fri 9 Oct 2020 6:32PM

Hi Ben...I am particularly interested in this project. How do you create a chapter? What are the guidelines?

How do chapters get in touch with each other?

When I joined, it was to find out how to start a chapter in Albuquerque.  I still don't know.  Is there a network?  Whenever I try to get in touch with Maria I can't. Who are the point people for chapters?

I need these answers before I can vote on your proposal.


Skip Meetze
Fri 9 Oct 2020 6:32PM

e-NABLE volunteer success is improved with availability of support. There is a learning curve, so chapters are an excellent way for volunteers get up the curve expeditiously, and 3D printing will require support forever. There are startup pains for chapters, so that chapters mentoring other chapters is always beneficial. I see this proposal being of value in helping volunteers and chapters mentor and otherwise help each other to be successful.


Zeynep Karagöz
Fri 9 Oct 2020 6:32PM

I believe in the community

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