FAQ

The basics

The Citizens Media® is a communications and fundraising tool that helps members of communities reinvest finance to build equitable, community-based economies that serve each others’ needs and develop connections both locally, and globally.

Your funds not only give people a means to produce the things their community needs, but it creates much needed employment. It brings hope and turns recipients of charity into productive contributors to their own economy.

Administration

Locally connected nonprofits manage funds and ensure accountability.

Cooperation

Success is measured as projects pass on value from funds.

Transformation

Momentum is created as people work togther from where they live.

Activity promotes equality, authenticity and community wellbeing from within.

Analysis

Circulation of currency builds connection and meaningful analysis of funds.

Communication

Interactive content helps people’s needs, values, and skills to be seen and grow.

Trust

Working together to build economic wellbeing leads to abundance and trust.

The Citizens Media® exists because people have been excluded from ways of creating value for themselves, their families, or communities, for too long.

Without opportunity to contribute to local economies, poverty and corruption increase. This leads to migration, dependence on imports and long distribution chains that cost our environment too.

The Citizens Media® works by connecting communication and financial tools, to attract and exchange value that avoids corruption, and increases the impact of funds that you give.

Activity begins as community-based projects – small businesses – share Funding Opportunities: budgeted requests for funds that will allow them to make products needed by the people who live there. This could be anything, such as fruits and vegetables, cloth sanitary pads, clean water, warm clothing, or bricks for housing.

Funding Opportunities are promoted by Citizen Journalists: members of the community who share updates and stories that let you see and hear from the people your funds will impact.

Once a project reaches its funding goal and starts producing, they “Pay It Forward” by selling their products in a currency called Pi™, that’s given to the Citizen Journalists for attracting project funds.

Projects can use Pi™ they get in return for products, to pay workers, or buy things from other projects. The more a project circulates Pi™ in this way, the higher its Impact Indicator: a score that shows how much economic activity it made happen through your funds.

To succeed, people and projects must support each other to create demand and supply chains that serve local needs and develop local skills. They must work together to create economies from within.

How projects get funds

Once a project’s Funding Opportunity goal has been reached, funds are sent directly to the project’s Active Coordinator: a nonprofit or cooperative working in the project’s community. Depending on their location, this process may take up to ten (10) business days.

Active Coordinators assist members of the community in developing viable Funding Opportunities before they go live. They keep the projects you support accountable, and work with the community to fulfil skill and project development needs.

  1. Projects must employ locals, practice sustainable use of resources, and make products needed within their local community.
  2. Projects must act in mutual benefit to their members and other projects on CM.
  3. Information on project pages must be accurate, compliant with copyright laws, and must not include any misleading, indecent, or dishonest content.
  4. Projects are subject to audit at any given time.

On agreeing to Project Rules, you agree to our terms of use, privacy policy, and are agreeing to follow any other rules on the Site.

  1. Only one Funding Opportunity per project can be live at a time. Once your funding goal has been reached, the Opportunity will be closed, and you can start up another.
  2. Each submission will be sent to your Active Coordinator, who will be asked to approve it before it goes live.
  3. Funds are received by your Active Coordinator, who can only release them once your funding goal has been met.
  4. Projects must make reasonable effort to source their needs from environmentally minded, honest, cost-effective suppliers.
  5. By accepting funds through CM, you agree to make all your products available for purchase in Pi™. You understand that failure to sell your projected product yield in Pi™ may prevent you from applying for more funds.

If a project’s current Funding Opportunity fails to attract additional funds for a period of six (6) months before reaching its goal, the Funding Opportunity will be closed. The Active Coordinator then works with the project to:

  1. Find additional funds elsewhere, and/or;
  2. Reduce the project scope.

Funders will be notified of any changes that take place and a report will be posted on the project’s Funding Opportunity page.

How Pi™ works

Pi™ is a currency for exchanging products produced by community-based projects that receive funds through The Citizens Media®. The purpose of Pi™ is to provide equal opportunity for people and their communities to develop sustainable local economies.

Pi™ Supports Local

When things are produced locally, it reduces dependence on imports that travel thousands of miles just to get there.

To be able to sell products for Pi™, projects must make products needed within its community.

Pi™ Builds Connections

The #1 reason for failure in world aid is its distributors’ inability to engage the people they want to serve. Real needs and challenges are misunderstood.

Pi™ comes into circulation as local Citizen Journalists create content that attracts funds into projects. This generates online content and conversations that bridge understanding, promote ideas and solutions, and can be used to identify meaningful investment opportunities.

Pi™ Is Inclusive

Today’s economy is based on money. Money works so the more you have, the easier it is to make even more, which makes reducing the wealth gap impossible.

Half the world's adults can’t get a bank account and are subject to extortionate fees for borrowing and exchanging currency.

Unlike money, Pi™ can be exchanged through texts on a mobile phone without the need of internet access or a bank account. This means anyone with a mobile can earn Pi™ and use it with minimum risk involved.

Pi™ = Real Value

Money is exchanged like a commodity. How much you have does not reflect the real value you bring to people, or planet. This means equilibrium in the way we use our resources cannot be achieved.

Unlike money, the value of Pi™ is based on the production of actual products. It cannot be manipulated by stock markets, centralized government, or banks.

This means that how much Pi™ someone has directly reflects the value they bring, which is why its circulation is a great way to measure the impact of your funds.

Pi™ Helps Local Economies Grow

Pi™ can only be used to purchase products offered by projects getting funds through The Citizens Media®. This means it has little value outside their communities, which makes it less susceptible to corruption and theft.

Reducing corruption helps to incubate projects and skills. This increases employment, reduces the loss of skilled labour, and helps project economies to grow. Unlike money, the value of Pi™ “trickles-up.” As project activity increases, so will the value of Pi™.

Unlike Pi™, currencies referred to as “crypto” work directly from blockchains. To use them requires access to a computer or smartphone, and a reliable connection to the internet. By contrast, Pi™ is more like cash that can be exchanged through mobile texts. Much like cash in a bank account, Pi™ can be stored and exchanged through a blockchain, but does not require the internet or a computer to transact.

Another key differentiator is that cryptocurrencies tend to get going by selling “Initial Coin Offerings” (ICO’s) to investors. Sales of ICO’s are based on the speculated value of the market they want to create. Much like money, this means their value is speculative too.

The basic exchange will be built using Social Trade Organization’s (STRO) online and mobile banking software: Cyclos.

As activity grows, Pi™ you earn can be saved in a secure online account called a digital wallet, from where you will be able to exchange or withdraw it onto your mobile phone, in much the same way that people treat cash in a bank.

For every CA$1 of funds received by projects within a community, 10 Pi™ are distributed to creators of content – the Citizen Journalists (CJs) – who helped attract funds.

How much Pi™ a Citizen Journalist gets depends on the number of people they bring to project content posted on CM, and whether a funder looked at content they created before giving funds. Statements showing how much, and from where a CJ earned Pi™ are displayed in their profile.

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When content attracts project funds, the Pi™ earned by Citizen Journalists (CJs) is added to their online accounts within thirty (30) days from the moment a Funding Opportunity Goal has been reached.

Note: As activity on CM increases, the amount of time it takes to add Pi™ to accounts will decrease.

Use Pi™ you earn to purchase products in a project’s marketplace. Pi™ can be exchanged through mobile accounts by sending and receiving simple texts.

Note: Production begins when a project can access the funds people give. This process can take less than a minute or up to a few weeks, depending on the project’s location and situation. Once a project gets its funds, it needs time to make products, as outlined in its Funding Opportunity.

Before we send Pi™, you will receive an email requesting information needed to create and secure your mobile account. Your information and account is kept strictly confidential, and is easy to set up.

Projects are not forced to accept Pi™ for products and services, but the more they do so, the greater their chances of building community connection, receiving promotion, and securing more funds. Additional reasons projects will give in Pi™:

  1. The more a project accepts Pi™ for products, the more Pi™ it will have to circulate. Circulating Pi™ increases a project’s Impact Indicator™.
  2. The higher a project's Impact Indicator™, the more The Citizens Media® will promote them, and the more Citizen Journalists are likely to create content that helps attract funds.
  3. Projects can circulate Pi™ by using it to pay project workers, and/or to purchase things from other projects, which reduces the amount of other national currency needed to produce goods and services.
  4. Project Funding Rules state that failure to sell a project’s Funding Opportunity’s projected product yield in Pi™ may prevent a project from applying for more funds.

Workers will not want to accept Pi™ unless they have somewhere to spend it. This encourages projects to support each in building demand and supply chains that serve different needs.

When a project wants to sell a product for Pi™ they add it to their Pi™ Marketplace. Projects will be shown how to do this the first time they’re sent funds.

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Project Impact Indicators™ are calculated as the total Implied Value of funds that are “Paid Forward,” divided by the total funds received by a project.

Community Impact Indicators™ are calculated as the Implied Value of funds that are “Paid Forward,” divided by the total funds received by all projects in that community.

Funds are “Paid Forward” by:

  1. Accepting Pi™ for products they make, and;
  2. Giving Pi™ they receive for products to help pay workers, or to purchase things from other projects.

Implied Value is based on CA $1 = 10 Pi™

What does “Implied Value” mean?

The Implied Value of each product sold is its cost of production: unit cost of production, or CPU, multiplied by the number of units sold in Pi™.

Unit cost of product production (CPU): total amount of funds used to produce each unit of product, as determined by the relative mean market value, and projected yield proposed in a project's Funding Opportunities.

Example: In Funding Opportunity below, the project is hoping to get enough funds to make 2000 units of two types of Face Mask.

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  1. Product One has an estimated value of ZA R60 and Product Two, ZA R80.
  2. The total estimated market value of each product is ZA R120,000 and ZA R160,000 respectively. Total: ZA R280,000.
  3. The total amount of funding being asked for in this Funding Opportunity is CA $4,280.
  4. The Implied Value of Product One = (R120,000 / R280,000) * CA $4,280 / 2000 = CA $0.92 per item.
  5. The Implied Value of Product One = (R160,000 / R280,000) * CA $4,280 / 2000 = CA $1.22 per item
  6. CA $1 = 10 Pi™, so the Implied Value in Pi™of Product One in = 9.2 Pi™; Product Two= 12.22 Pi™

The amount of Pi™ products cost will be fixed in accordance with its Implied Value, where CA $1 = 10 Pi™.

The Implied Value of each product sold is its mean cost of production, which is determined by projections made in the project’s Funding Opportunities. In other words, projects get to fix the value they will sell things for Pi™ by stipulating how much additional product/s they will make with the funds they get.

Example: A farmer needs a treadle pump for irrigating land. When applying for funds, they need to predict how much the pump will increase product yields. This information will be used to calculate how much product for how much Pi™ they “promise” to give in return.

As activity increases, the Pi™ Exchange will make it easy for people to barter their Pi™ currency. This means that someone who has Pi™ can make an agreement with someone else to sell Pi™ for a mutually agreed amount of other currency. If someone wants to purchase an item from a participating project, but doesn’t have enough to do so, the project could agree to sell them enough Pi™ to complete the purchase.

Terminology we use

An Active Project is a community project getting funds through the-cm.com. To receive funds through The Citizens Media®, projects must employ locals, practice sustainable use of resources, and make products needed within its community.

Funding Opportunities invite Active Projects to request funds to produce an amount of product/s over a period of time. Once a project has been approved, it can submit as many Funding Opportunities as it wants, but only one may be live at a time.

Example: An Active Project in a rural location in South Africa might have a funding opportunity for a community garden irrigation system that will increase the amount of produce it makes, while a project in Serbia might be a refugee camp with a Funding Opportunity for making warm blankets.

The amount of funds a project seeks to raise in a Funding Opportunity.

Impact Indicators™ represent how much projects have “paid forward” from funds they received. This is achieved by accepting Pi™ for products they make. The more they exchange in Pi™ the higher their Impact Indicator™.

People giving funds to Active Projects.

Corporate and philanthropic sponsors whose money funds project facilitation and platform development needs. Learn More

Nonprofits and cooperatives that are responsible for receiving project funds and managing the accountability of projects. Active Coordinators support projects by working with Project Facilitators: local organizations who have direct contact with members of communities. Learn More

Active Projects are led by those who have adopted or created the vision for a specific project, in collaboration with members of the community where the project is located. Project Leaders maintain accountability of project members and tasks.

Project members are people living in the community who are receiving project funds for completing tasks.

Project Administrators are Project Members who have permission to upload and maintain content about the project on the-cm.com: About, Gallery, Funding Opportunities, and Members.

Citizen Journalists are locals living in and around project communities who earn Pi™ for purchasing project products, by creating and promoting online content that attracts project funds.

How the business model works

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The Citizens Media® connects finance, technology, and communication in giving people everywhere a means to build self-sustaining economies from within:

  1. Funds the creation of community-based economies in a way that increases fund impact with minimum risk involved.
  2. Uses mobile currency to birth and connect a secure network of exchange that works to incubate project communities across the globe.
  3. Leverages communication to the max in helping projects and solutions to scale.

We get more done with people’s money and time because we give people and their communities a means to take action and ownership of what they do.

We give changemakers and collaborators valuable marketing exposure, while ensuring transparency and accountability too. We assist the management of projects we invest in with a clear focus on deliverables. We make it fun by engaging creative energy locally and globally.

Creating an account on The Citizens Media® is free. We will not collect any funds without your request. We will not collect any fees without giving you a chance to review and accept them.

Active Coordinators collect a 5% service charge, as does The Citizens Media®. Payment partner service fees are deducted at the source.

The Citizens Media® revenues will be made transparent online. Excess profits will be upcycled by donation to project communities.

To reduce payment fees. Just like banks, payment systems charge service fees per transaction. The Citizens Media® accepts payments through Stripe, who charge 30c per transaction plus 2.9%. As activity increases, rates will reduce, at which point we’ll be able to accept less funds.

The Citizens Media® data analysis opportunities come from online conversations, information collected projects, and the circulation of Pi™. Opportunities include:

  1. Impact Indicators
  2. Big Data Analysis
  3. Project Development Maps

Impact Indicators

Impact Indicators reflect the amount of Pi™ circulated by community-based projects that receive funds through The Citizens Media® . The more Pi™ circulates, the greater the economic exchange and impact made with funds.

Big Data Analysis

As activity increases, data analysis tools are used to extract, analyze and sort unstructured data, such as conversations taking place through mobile texts, comment threads, and forums.

Because of the premise that understanding and mapping the path of context and behaviours relates to our values and goals, Big Data Analysis enables us to identify how we can influence its spread, both locally and elsewhere.

“Understanding doesn’t proceed simply from examining data, it comes from examining data in a particular context. Information is useless until we learn what it means. To understand its meaning, we don’t only need to ask the right question, we also need the appropriate instruments with which to measure that data in a meaningful process of sharing and description.” –Power vs Force by David R. Hawkins, M.D., PhD.

Project Development Maps

Community Project Development Maps will connect project data to provide visual representation that helps members of communities to see what projects need, and how projects can support each other.

Everything else

Select a Project Funding Opportunity in your community that you want to support. Go to the project’s updates, then select “New Post” and start creating.

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Content can include writing, pictures, photos, audio interviews, or videos. Your stories and updates can be anything that inspires you. Here are some ideas:

  1. Why are the products the project is making important?
  2. Who needs or wants to buy its products?
  3. How does the project make the products?
  4. Who started it and why?
  5. Who are the project workers? What motivates them?
  6. Where and how are funds being spent?
  7. How is the project progressing?
  8. What challenges and opportunities does it have?
  9. How will project activities impact people's lives?
  10. Why does this project matter to you?

Anyone can post a question in a project’s forums. Questions are answered by project members and are a great way for them to see what funders do and don’t understand.

When questions are submitted to a project, its members are sent an email, inviting them to answer. When a question has been answered, the person who asked it is notified by email too.

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The Citizens Media® was developed through a series of events, which began in 2006. They were inspired by a desire for meaningful bridges of unity that could alleviate poverty and unite the communities around the founder’s home of Whistler, BC, including the First Nations community of Lil’wat. The events included:

  1. VoteWhistler: A discussion website engaging local citizens in Whistler’s municipal elections in 2008. Read the Whistler Pique news story about the founder here.
  2. The Great Currency Debate: A series of online discussions with alternative currency experts (sponsored by Suncorp).
  3. Impact Economy Summit, 2015: A conference which brought new economy experts and a changemaker from Bergnek, Limpopo together in Whistler, BC.
  4. Numerous conversations with project workers throughout Africa, and a five-week visit to Rosendal-Mautse in the Free State.

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