Our Society

Social action. Honest exchange. Grounded learning.

There's a risk that this is the wrong question at the wrong time, in which case of course it can simply be ignored. But perhaps co-design includes a willingness to confront difficult challenges as and when they arise?

David Wilcox asks "Can #oursociety do better?" in relation to specific criticisms of Big Society. These include the even more specific  phrases "the already well-resourced" and "money", and perhaps partly echo phrases in another recent blog post on Rob Weaver's Blog. These include the contrasting viewpoints: "The money has to flow at some point however. How can communities manage assets or take advantage of opportunities without money?" and "there is no money to be made in ... (regeneration)... When has money ever achieved anything?... It’s about ‘conversation’ and ‘exchange’."

There are views that resources are, and perhaps should become increasingly so, about more than money, and of course that they include people, what people can do, and what people can do when collaborating. But of course there are also questions, and of course also sometimes very pressing questions about livelihood and equity or fairness. And of course there can be specific costs such as the cost of maintaining a ning-based network that have to be met one way or another, and in a way which can be sustained,

When Our Society was first being proposed there was the suggestion that it could include a social enterprise. It seems to me that there are a whole range of options that could be considered, including for example the idea of a co-operative. There doesn't seem to be an obvious reason to limit ourselves to considering an all our eggs in one basket / silver bullet type solution.  I also tend to feel transparency is important - if civil society wants to advocate this for government, it is in a far stronger position if it walks the talk itself - so that discussions about anything like this should be in the open as much as possible, shouldn't they?

Tags: funding, resources

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Just as something to kick off a discussion like this, here's a link to reflections on a recent WiserEarth fundraising campaign. There are probably a lot more relevant resources on WiserEarth, although tend to be US orientated. I'm not by any means a good contact for this sort of stuff, but there''ll be others on WiserEarth who can be more helpful if any of their stuff looks worth following up.

Hi Phil,

There's a good way to invest without money, or to be more specific without credit and that can be found in asset based finance where personal funds and sweat equity can both produce a return. I believe it should be thought of independently from any organisational structure but it could also offer an alternative,

It's the concept of an Open Corporation where rewards are shared in nths of production output or the equivalent money value. An example of co-ownership is given. It offers the protection of limited liability and the benefit of being Shariah compliant. 


If there's any interest in investigating sponsorship, I'm not particularly trying to plug WiserEarth, but their Sponsorship Guidelines are closest thing I've seen to what might be called 'ethical sponsorship' There's also Ethics and Sponsorship from the Ethical Consumer Research Association (UK) but refs suggest this may not be as up to date as the Wiser Earth stuff
As far as fundraising goes, I've helped with organizing fundraising events before for different projects so this might be a good idea. I work with organizing events so have a number of contacts in the arts & media community. Feel free to message me if you have any suggestions you'd like to discuss in more detail. I've had a look at the OpenCapital article as well & it seems like a good way of setting things up.
Possibly related: Energy-driven community networks: follow the money, 19/1/11 and other posts by Oliver Roberts
Possibly related: Funding revolution, a guide to establishing and running community revolving funds, Forum for the Future, March 2011. Knowledge and experience of several community groups and local authorities using “smart finance” to save carbon locally.

Hi Phil, what's described as revolving funding in that article is identical to the model we implemented in 2004 as our social purpose business and set out in the community broadband proposal I describe elsewhere on Our Society. Re-branding someone else's model isn't what I'd call co-creation.

The renewable enegry project I'm developing is described here




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