SamenDoen is a community currency in Bergen op Zoom en Tholen in The Netherlands. At the heart of this project is a fully electronic currency. Transactions can be carried out through payment terminals and near field communication (NFC) cards, a mobile app, or online.
SamenDoen incentivises people with points to consume nearby, actively participate in the neighbourhood, and keep the community a clean and a safe place to live. The incentive scheme in SamenDoen combines commercial and public purposes in its model, which is distinctive for this project.
SamenDoen is launched in February 2014 by as public private partnership that includes the Municipality of Tholen, social housing corporation Stadlander and Qoin. It combines incentives for behavioural change form (semi) public institutions, loyalty for retailers, donations to local charities and peer-to-peer transactions. SamenDoen has been supported by the PROGRESS programme.
SamenDoen seeks to improve levels of service and care on a local level improving possibilities for vulnerable groups to enter the labour market and the promotion of liveability in neighbourhoods.
SamenDoen aims to make citizens of all ages understand and accept that they have a shared responsibility and to provide them with tools to find ways and feel encouraged to make a real contribution to their neighbourhood and community. Everyone can participate in the programme and is actively invited to do so. Nevertheless, the scheme is specially designed to motivate citizens who are not already engaged in volunteer work and/or that are socially isolated.
Target groups are people in need of social and family care, school drop-outs, unemployed people, vital and non-vital elderly, and others; they are stimulated to support one another and to become active members of their community.
Tholen and Bergen op Zoom are municipalities in the southwest of the Netherlands. Tholen is a rural area consisting of two formerly islands and nine villages. Tholen has a population of about 25.000 inhabitants. The municipality of Bergen op Zoom is located about 10 km away from Tholen and has a population of more than 66.000 inhabitants.
Organisation and History
SamenDoen is a co-creation process led by Qoin involving local residents, independent retailers, institutions and governments, local associations and non-profit organisations. SamenDoen started as a public private partnership that included the Municipality of Tholen, social housing corporation Stadlander, and the community currency agency Qoin. Smaller partners included elderly care organisations, district care organisations, local shops, local clubs and charities.
Currently SamenDoen is run by a social enterprise. The current organisation (December 2016) has a staff of 4 FTE, and an office in Bergen op Zoom.
Users and stakeholders
In SamenDoen 4 groups are recognised:
1) Local authorities and institutions: housing associations, care and welfare, schools, etc.
2) Affiliated retailers.
4) Local clubs and charities.
a) The system in numbers
In 2016, SamenDoen partners rewarded citizens in total 79 thousand times. Both Institutions and shops issued in total 3.6 million points. In December 2016 there were 7500 active cards, 38 shops and 22 local charities. In total 30 thousand euro was donated to the local charities.
b) Function and Unit of Account
The principle function of the currency is to act as a local medium of exchange, more exact: as loyalty mechanism, as public incentive, as peer-to-peer currency and as donation mechanism. The unit of account in SamenDoen is ‘punten’ (points). One point has the value of 1 eurocent. The smallest denomination is 1 point.
c) Issuance – Backing
The points are backed by euro on a trust account.
The heart of SamenDoen is a fully electronic social currency to encourage citizens to become active in their community and simultaneously support the local economy. This social currency circulates as points that exist only in digital form only, not as a voucher or token. The points are stored in an online environment (similar to online banking), transactions are carried out through payment terminals and NFC cards, mobile app, or web. SamenDoen runs on QoinWare to administer the e-currency scheme.
e) Taxation and Compliance
All professional organisations involved follow normal tax rules. Taxes are paid over extra turnover, just as usual. The peer-to-peer transactions are free under Dutch tax rules up to € 3.000 yearly.
f) Funding – Business Model
SamenDoen has received funding from the PROGRESS programme, a financial instrument supporting the development and coordination of EU policy in the areas of employment, social inclusion and social protection, working conditions, anti-discrimination and gender equality.
Since the end of the project (September 2016), SamenDoen is financed by the stakeholders: the municipality, the housing corporation, care organisations and shops. Citizens do never pay for being active.
How does it work in practice?
The concept of SamenDoen is a combination of four components: 1) a public reward programme from institutions like the municipality, housing associations, healthcare institutions, schools etc.; 2) a loyalty programme from local and independent retailers; 3) a sharing economy initiative between citizens, and 4) a donation scheme for local charities.
1) The public reward programme: rewarding participants for good behaviour by local authorities and institutions for performing specific tasks that improve the liveability of neighbourhoods and strengthening the local community. Rewarded activities may be very diverse: participate in a community clean-up day, paying the rent on time, provide assistance to the elderly or informal care to people in need. This ‘carrot-approach’ provides an additional stimulus to help participants rediscovering their abilities and potential and to regain self-esteem and confidence. The first electronic public reward programme was NU-spaarpas in Rotterdam.
2) The loyalty programme. This programme has many similarities with Air Miles or Nectar. Consumers earn points by purchasing at affiliated retailers. For every purchase in Euro, consumers receive an amount of points ranging from 1% to 10% of the value spent (depending on the retailer). This system provides retailers with new customers and engages existing ones to buy more or do more expensive purchases. Points can be redeemed at the same affiliated retailers for purchases, gifts or discounts. By supporting the preservation of local SMEs SamenDoen aims to enhance the liveability and safety of neighbourhoods as well as local employment.
3) The sharing economy initiative between citizens: the points can be transferred at peer-to- peer level for mutual help, neighbourly help and social care. Participants can, for example, pay their peers with points for small maintenance work, household work, assistance for tax declaration, giving a ride, etc. This strengthens the links between residents, self-reliance and social cohesion.
4) The support scheme for local charities: while saving points for themselves, participants automatically save a self chosen percentage for a local social association of their choice, thus providing them with a new source of funding.
Video on SamenDoen at the 15th International Conference for Integrated Care in Edinburgh: http://www.qoin.com/videos/samen-doen-a-disruptive-way-to-co-deliver-public-services/
SamenDoen website (in Dutch) https://samen-doen.nl/nl/
SamenDoen page on Qoin website http://www.qoin.com/what-we-do/programmes/samendoen-currency/
Report for the Dutch Ministry of Internal Affairs (in Dutch) http://www.qoin.com/nl//?smd_process_download=1&download_id=4212