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March 01, 2006

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Link's not working.

Damn, messed up the quotes. This is the link Tutor meant to give.

Fixed it, thanks.

Thanks for linking to our sites and for your thoughts about Don't Think of a Donkey.

Good to make contact with you Jethro.

Noticed that Jethro was an active poster while catching up on the you say you want a revolution (in philanthropy)... discussion at Onet, and sent him a link to this. Hope he comes back to hang out by the dumpster sometime.

Great, he also emailed me. Thanks for referring him here.

How do we move away from funder-driven initiatives and start engaging donors in developing effective strategy to fund movement building? I am working with a very innovative team, the Design Studio for Social Intervention, in planning our next campaign and also provide peer to peer support to a number of organizers and we are all struggling to sustain our work because organizing and bridge building (and so much else of course) is not being supported. There are very few ways to engage donors in larger strategic conversations that provide a different perspective from the "framing" frame that continues to dominate the post 2004 period. I don't want to rely on large donors as I wrote in the Donkey piece but I do want the work that I and other organizers do to be supported adequately for the long haul. Thanks again for this great forum.

We have discussed this topic much around the dumpster. There is a lot of grassroots action and leadership gathering. I've been able to go to about a half-dozen conferences over the last couple of years, and that has intersected me with a growing number of networks. The virtual spaces such as Wealth Bondage or Omidyar.net, Givingspace and so on (for me, at least) has been essential. At the conferences I would run into many people whose networks I had intersected online, and then to meet face to face solidifies a connection.

There is much more than can be covered in one comment. In this network are people working on collaborative processes for online and face to face, for example Open Space Technology meetings (more than half of the conferences I have participated in have been Open Space) Wiki collaboration, Open Source software, independent media.

We are all already connected. The last great pondering is about connecting the money with the grassroots leadership. Your post indicates your network experiences the same breakdown. Many solutions could be proposed, and I have concluded that a Community Currency Commons could be a good one. Without giving the full argument, most of our economic problems stem from systematic features of our monetary systems. If money is the lifeblood of an economy, then the way money flows determines the health of communities.

Not an immediat solution unfortunately, but one of the important projects. What you are part of organizing in politics is an important part too. Many important pieces. No reason that progressive funders couldn't directly fund more of these small projects and networks. Gather as equals online and Open Space meetings and the donors can meet the progressive network directly. We are all starving or capitulating to WB. We need cash to do the work until we built the tools to go cashless.

Jethro, please keep this conversation going online and off. Look at the websites that are your counterparts to the right. You will notice a button callled "donate" behind it is robust fundraising effort, including major gifts and plannned (legacy) gifts. Tracy G. and I are trying to get progressive orgs and funder networks into this game. I think you have to say it starts with connecting to a donor. You have to obviously engage them personally in your work. Then you need the mechanisms to cultivate and ask for and process gifts. We also as a network need places for the very rich to park large amounts of money. Tides may be part of the answer. Personal foundations and donor advised funds are part of the anser, referral networks with professionals are part of the answer - but most of this is being done ad hoc and in a disorganized fashion by people with little prior experience. We have to "get ready to get ready" and time is short. I have been agitating for this for years at gifthub.org and off line.

Check inspiredlegacies.com from time to time. It is about to go live and is one little step in the right dirction.

Great ideas and resources. This is very helpful and I am eager to keep the conversation going online and off. I appreciate your sense of urgency as well. Those that are working for change because their life depends on it (increasingly I feel that this is true for everyone) express a deep sense of frustration with "waiting" for those with privilege to get it and put their money where their mouth is. I do my best to network and have developed many personal relationships with people with wealth but turning that into sustainable life long work for me and those on my "team" still seems like a long way off. But the new structures being built should make it easier, I hope, for the generation coming up who desperately need to be supported as well. Thanks for keeping this stimulating.

Thanks, Jethro, enjoyed our offline conversation tody. I take your point about those who feel their life depends on reinforcements. Once you get out to the firing line, your life or freedom or civil liberties may feel threatened, or at least your livelihood. Meanwhile, the triangulators and compromisers wait and see how things will turn out, and hedge their bets, wanting to not make a fuss or be at risk themselves. Do you know Peter Karoff? A major figure in philanthropic consulting. He wrote and half-suppressed a peice called, "Sleepwalkers," about exactly what we are discussing, gutlessness and denial among liberal funders. Sadly, he has not really pushed the issue. Link is below if it does not work google "sleepwalkers karoff"
http://www.gifthub.org/2004/04/sleepwalkers_by.html

As one acquainted with Billionaires for Bush, you understand our strategy here of keeping the most serious issues light. Few in our consumer world want to suffer for democracy. They would rather than Heiko suffer and see how it turns out. So, our effort here is to make it seem light and fun, as if the stakes were only words and frivolity. You are a brave man, and I salute your patriotism. Freedom is on the march, thank God.

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