Many have registered new exchanges expecting that by doing so the exchange would simply create itself when people join and begin to trade. In practice this does not happen. An exchange is a real life, on-the-ground entity. It has to start on the ground and it has to exist on the ground, not in cyberspace.
The exchange has to be promoted in the community and it constantly has to involve real-life activities that bring users together, such as markets, meetings and other events. It has to have one or more champions who are passionate about promoting the idea of an alternative or complementary exchange system in the area where the exchange operates.
Being Administrator comes with certain responsibilities and duties. The Administrator has access to the administrative interface, which has a host of tools for managing the exchange. The Administrator’s duties include the following:
- Approving new membership applications
- Dealing with users’ queries
- Keeping users informed. This involves, amongst other things:
- Sending monthly statements of account
- Sending regular mailings of the offerings list
- Sending regular mailings of the wants list
- Sending other lists (group lists, announcements etc.)
- Sending regular notices about the exchange
- Sending newsletters
- Housekeeping (closing accounts, transferring users, removing expired advertisements etc.)
- Monitoring statistics and trading data to see that the exchange is running smoothly and that certain users are not abusing the facilities
- Entering transactions, advertisements and other information on behalf of others
- Dealing with disputes
Apart from the above the Administrator needs to promote the exchange in the community to ensure it grows to a position of critical mass, when the exchange tends to take on a life of its own.
Often the Administration consists of a committee and the tasks of administration are shared. Every exchange is different.
The Administrator’s account, called the ‘0000’ account, is a special account where the transaction levies accumulate. This serves as ‘revenue’ for the Administration, which can be used for running the exchange. The Administrator’s account is what is known as a public account. This means that it is open for all members to see. This prevents administrative abuse and allows members to see how their levies are being used.
Some exchanges charge an annual or periodic membership fee in the national currency. This is used to pay for administrative costs such as office rental, telephones, internet connection, printing, hiring of halls etc. It is up to you or your administrative team to decide whether you will charge membership fees or not. It is best if you can run things on the resources of your exchange rather than having to rely on money.
Exchange administrators or administrations need to agree to the Charter of the Community Exchange System, which is a set of principles that state how an exchange is expected to be used and operate.
Please consider the above before sending in your registration for a new exchange. Administration is a rewarding position but for an exchange to be a success it does require some effort!