The 1% Dublin Difference

Update: 19/07/16

This concept is being updated as “Many Hands” with the following logo…

Many Hands redirects to this page until we figure out how best this concept might be used.


Original Post: 28/10/14

We’d like to have a conversation about whether it could be useful as a city to have another way for people to get involved with improving their Dublin.icon_43181Please use the hashtag #DublinDifferenceBeta on social media to help everyone follow the conversation.

This blog post existed as a draft for ages. Every once in a while it would get reworked only to be resaved as a draft. It’s still not feeling right, but often it’s best to acknowledge something as imperfect and simply put something out there as people’s input will, very often, quickly help an idea be refined – so your feedback and suggestions are extremely welcome as always.

Paid v Volunteer

As a result of some Beta Projects a question arose around whether there needed to be a third option other than people always being fully paid, or people being asked to volunteer a lot (the current defaults).

  1. Dublin City Council wants/expects to pay people fairly.
    • Therefore often as a result a project cannot happen, and nor does anyone get paid. Ie it results in a chicken-and-egg situation.
  2. On the other hand sometimes people don’t expect to be paid, even sometimes don’t want to be paid (there can be various reasons for this), they just want to help their neighbourhood or take part on a project that’s of interest to them.
    • Care needs to be taken that this doesn’t become a slippery slope of over-reliance on volunteerism by Dublin City Council.
    • It can also become an unsustainable model – there’s only so much people can contribute for free, and it’s often a source that tends to disappear when people feel very busy (for example during the Celtic Tiger).

Could an additional third option be useful for Dublin City?

It’s generally clear that people are happy to contribute some of their time to improving their city once it feels…

  1. Fair.
    • That they’re not simply ‘being used’, or large differences in conditions between different people working alongside one another.
  2. Manageable.
    • That they can fit it in within their already very-busy lives.
  3. Worthy.
    • That their effort will actually result in something useful for their street or neighbourhood or city.
  4. Affordable.
    • That people at very least won’t be out of pocket for doing a good deed…ie make sure that the contribution is purely about time.
  5. Recognised.
    • That their efforts won’t go unnoticed.

1% Dublin Difference

We’d like to trial the idea of ‘1% Dublin Difference’, whereby people might contribute up to 1% of their time to making Dublin a better place.

A proposal would note that it was a ‘1% Dublin Difference project’.

  1. Fair.
    • By being specific and clear and calling a role out for exactly what it is – a capped volunteer role.
    • People can see exactly what they’re getting on the tin and can personally decide whether they would like to get involved.
    • If it involves Beta Projects, Beta Fair Time should play a part as necessary.
  2. Manageable.
    • 1% is about 10 minutes per day, 1 hour per week, 2.5 days per year, so possibly of a level that will feel manageable for many people.
  3. Worthy.
    • This will be up to people to decide for themselves.
  4. Affordable.
    • The 1% Beta Fund should be used to ensure this is always the case.
  5. Recognised.
    • This might be as simple as acknowledging all participants whenever the opportunity arises.
    • Volunteer Ireland has mentioned to us that Koreans visiting Ireland will often look for certification afterwards as it’s a part of Korean culture, where volunteering is often officially-certified and forms a standard element of job applications.
    • The Open Works explore the concept of ‘civic proficiency‘.
    • The participants in Designing Dublin (both volunteers and Dublin City Council staff) received a ‘Love Award’ at the end of the project.

When might 1% Dublin Difference be used?

  • Individuals

“I’m going to organise a Street Feast this year, does anyone want to help me?”

  • Community groups:

“Could you help me plant flowers at the end of the street…”

  • Charities:

“Could you call into your elderly neighbour…?”

  • Dublin City Council Beta Projects:

“Would you like to help us trial X…?”

  • Dublin City Council:

“If we give you a hand, would you like to organise a tree leaf collection on your street…?”

How might 1% Dublin Difference work?

Let’s keep it simple to start with. It would be up to people themselves to ‘keep track’ of their 1% and decide whether they wanted to take part in a project. (Of course they might still wish to, but at least they’d have made a conscious decision to do so.)

We’ve also registered for The 1% Difference – see here.


Feedback and Suggestions Please!

Like all aspects of Dublin City Council Beta Projects this is simply a trial…and feedback and suggestions are ALWAYS sought…simply comment below or get in touch!


About Dublin City Council beta

Dublin City Council are trying a new method called DCC Beta Projects...your input, then quick trials 'on the street', then your feedback! We'd LOVE your help!
This entry was posted in 1. Identity, Communication & Ownership, Beta Project macro, General Thoughts & Future Betas, Shane, Strategy. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The 1% Dublin Difference

  1. Paul Byrne says:

    Hi, I love this initiative. Shame it doesn’t seem to be a thing in Tallaght. I wonder if SDCC could adopt a similar plan. Maybe your DIT connection and the TUD coming in January might promt similar concepts

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