OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Covid-19 Donation "Craigslist"

Connect companies with other suppliers and fabricators to make needed equipment. (One person has elastic, one person has plastic...)

Photo of Andrea Zelenak
3 4

Written by

A lot of businesses may want to make an impact, but do not not know how. If a business has fabric, they can help. If a business has plastic, they can help. If they have industrial sewing machines, they can help. If we all have a piece of the puzzle, how can we bring this together?

My idea is to create a "craigslist" for connecting resources needed to help those on the front-lines fight COVID-19. Materials, machines, as well as blue prints can be shared and swapped to create needed PPE.


Inspired by a group I'm in on Facebook, a group of Etsy users have not only been sharing materials by mail, but have been connecting plans, resources, suppliers and donation centers to help create needed PPE. 


Small businesses alone can still make an impact. This can be a way for them to track their donations as well to see some type of financial relief in the future because of their donations. 

What is the need are you focusing on?

This idea was focused on creating needed PPE, but can provide resources and plans for other needed essentials such as hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes.

Distilleries can share how they converted to creating hand sanitizer. A plastic company near me converted to creating disinfectant wipes, they can share the plans for that.

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Identifying a gap that needs to be addressed

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

I own a business. I knew I wanted to help, but didn't know how. I know other organizations out there want to help, but don't have the money for retooling or to pay their workers for a large production shift. This way, they can donate whatever they can. My company is all about encouragement. I had all of these encouraging products, and knew people needed encouragement, and didn't know how to give it. After a few weeks, I found an organization making care packages for nurses, and I finally found my role in the crisis.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Maybe-with additional support

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

We will see companies and organizations of every size doing what they can to provide needed PPE. The hardest part will be creating the framework and website to get this done. I would definitely need additional support on this, but know if I get the word out, people will help. To move as quickly as possible, I wouldn't spend more than a week creating the website and UI. After this, the site can be used as much as possible. Ideally, you would be able to filter resources by location, so that local communities work together and prevent excessive travel. This way, companies can connect with each other within the same day of launching.

What is the name of your business or organization?


What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

We design and sell encouraging products so that others can read encouragement wherever they go! During this crisis, we've been donating encouraging buttons to front-line workers, donating over 3,000 hand-made encouraging buttons in total. Our plan was to move to creating fabric masks, but the response and demand has been so great. So many medical professionals have reached out that we don't want to turn any of them away. If our role is encouraging front-line workers in this tough time, we know it's needed.

What is your profession?

Small-Business Owner and Product Designer

Where are you located (country)?

United States

Where are you located (region)?

  • North America

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Customer Experience/Service
  • Entrepreneur/Investor

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 0-10

How old is your business/company?

  • 2-5 years old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Business

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Grassroots/Community Groups

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

At it's basic core, it's a really easy idea to implement. If we wanted to take to the next level and offer financial relief for those involved, we would need to work closely with the government, and would take longer to achieve. Without that, the idea is still needed.

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

I've learned that people want to help. Looking at Etsy sellers and crafters alone, they have made over 6 million masks. If they can pivot, so can everyone else.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Alan Ireland

I had a similar idea. In some places, the food banks operate on a bidding system. The food bank is subsidized by the government, and the bidding process is blind to reduce competition. The platform could be dormant until a pandemic or crisis arrives, and then the government can track which resources change which hands, allowing for a clean pay-what-you-can approach. This money could be tracked for taxation purposes. Without sellers dictating pricing, the system would, in theory, approach a need-based market. Or you could set-up a B-corp and use the board to dictate which connections get made between companies. I'm not sure how the second option would help with the government. Also there are obvious holes in these ideas, but I welcome any education that other users have to offer.

Photo of Isaac Jumba

This is a great build to the idea Alan Vollmer 

View all comments