What Is This?

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork
 

I got an email and had a very interesting conversation with Lisa Haneberg yesterday. Thanks to OccupationalAdventure for that connection! As it turns out, Lisa is looking for projects to fund with some of the proceeds from her ForBossDay eCard and eBook project. I like to think that she came to the right place! At first I thought she’d arrived just a bit too early for the party. Undeterred, we quickly crafted a plan and are in the process of implementing it, connecting her generous support to the development of sCNN and the projects that will gather here.

I’m leaving tomorrow morning for a month of working and retreating in Kathmandu. Just the things you want to be doing while launching a big project here! [grin] So I’ve scrambled a bit today between trips to the laundry room, putting some new pieces in place on in the sCNN wiki workspace. See WhatIsThis and HowToUse, for example. Expect a shorter, sweeter introduction and invitation atop this here blog page in the next few days, as well. Can’t let a little thing like being on the other side of the planet get in the way of a good ideas and help from new friends!

More on this coming soon, from an internet cafe in KTM.

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Mandarin Design

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

A good place to learn web design, lots of free tools and good ideas. Mostly that resources section is for BIG tools that bring people together, but this is best place I’ve seen for making your blog look cool without busting too many brain cells. And great design certainly helps gather attention. Maybe they can help gather this page (!) when I get back from Nepal, in November. (?) via A Mindful Life and TheObvious

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Titles and Text Popups

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork
 

Feeling very clever and satisfied with the new headings in the Right sidebar. The wiki workspace has cleaned up nicely, too, post-GivingMarket. It documents well (and briefly!) the evolution of this project.

Now, if I only knew how to write the code to make some links to little popups that could hold a wee bit of text explaining what each sidebar section is. Then, I think, the structure of this Blog and also the larger Network would really start to be understandable, and operational, to newcomers.

Anybody know how to write links to little text box popups? Is that java or just fancy html? Any help would be much appreciated!

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Another Light

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

Okay, I have to admit it’s a little daunting to think about inviting the formation of a Network. How to make an invitation such as is required here, bold enough to attract and humble enough to serve? And still, that seems the only way out of this little tunnel I’ve dug for myself. Thanks to Penny Scott who gave me another light tonight. I’m sure it’s not the end of the tunnel, but it’s been a little beacon of new clarity. Enough to keep going. Here is what we did…

  • confirmed this shift in focus and language from Marketplace to News Network.
  • noticed that the questions could be tuned or tightened a bit to give better direction for what we are inviting to be posted here.
  • agreed that the invitation text in the main sidebar is getting clearer, but needs to be dumped behind an “About…” link, so that the news comes to the fore (or top, if you like).
  • most important, we did some really good work to cut through my confusion about structuring for replication, this is really what keeps this from being just another blog. we agreed that replications would take all kinds of forms, but share a few key elements:
    • a common logo or at least linked logo button (like blogger).
    • some shred of largest, shared purpose statement along the lines of ‘connecting what we have and do to what we need and want.’
    • a shared blogroll of Network members, other nodes of the network.
    • a second “local” blogroll of the members of that particular node.
  • came to understand that the news reported on any one node of the network, including this (original) one, would report node and individual development news… meaning there is no separation or emphasis given to news from an individual member of my “local” circle and news from “global” list of affiliate nodes. each node is also simultaneously offering invitation to be member of that “local” node and to be convener of new nodes that would be peers.
  • acknowledged that purpose/invitation needs to be more specific and direct, to clearly invite new individual members (to post into and join the blogroll) for this particular page and invite new node affiliates, like balle-bc which will have its own member roll, within our global purpose. this simple, clear, purpose and invitation is what will distinguish Network blogs from the rest of the blogosphere, without any separation from it either.
  • agreed that balle-bc still wants to be first replication, to invite its own members posting news and noding beyond.

The heart of the challenge here now seems to rest in stating a purpose that is clear enough to be securing and open enough to be inviting. Enough for one day. The dishes await.

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The small Change News Network

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

If you scrolled or clicked your way down here to the weblog without reading the intro paragraphs above, then you’ve missed the biggest news of the day here. The introduction/invitation to this whole endeavor has taken a giant step (dare I say leap?) forward — and it’s all there in the paragraphs above. Scroll back up and have a look! Feels like real progress. Then come back and see the post below, if you want to know how this happened.

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Indymedia, Simple Power and the SCNN

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

I’ve been swirling a bit in recent days, wondering if a GivingMarket is needed or possible. Well, not really doubting the need as much as rolling around in the myriad forms this could take. The whole idea continues to dissolve itself in front of me. So far, it always reforms itself as well, but we’ll see. The other night Penny Scott reminded me of the practical power and popular resonance she’s been finding in the notion of “Connecting what we have and what we need.” That conversation pulled me away from “Giving,” and pushed me over in the direction of “Market” or “Exchange” as primary focus… and back in the direction of “Small Change.”

This comes on top of earlier conversations that moved me to focus on inviting a flow of Giving and /SmallChange News, rather than on capturing project data or processing transactions. Has me questioning everything, including the name “GivingMarket.” Maybe this will turn out to be SCNN… small change news network! A steady stream of news that would surface and cultivate the askings and offerings, connectings and postings that are the growing edge of the common good.

Meanwhile, an Anarchogeek item has been percolating in my inbox, a gift from TedErnst on the Evolution of Indymedia.

…Indymedia is a media system built upon the premise that only by radical participation in a communal discursive space can a new conception of politics be created. It is this open publishing, participatory media making network which invites a broad spectrum of social movements to participate that makes indymedia special…

…we’ve got websites, servers, videos, andstreaming web video radio stations with sms gateways, and automated breaking news phone lines, but what we really have is a new model for ‘what is to be done.’ Indymedia is the 21st century version of the leninist party newspaper. It’s something who’s time has come, the mix has grown and been shaped by the movements around it. It’s a way of constructing a broad popular front without coercion or hierarchy. Where the proletarian, or student / proletarian, or counter culture blocks of radical actors have been replaced by a contradictory multitude…

We’ve made some interesting decisions as we’ve evolved. We decided to embody a radical form of participatory democracy and consensus. We decided to not have a central office or staff. We decided not to have presidents, directors, staff, or elections. We never talk in the name of indymedia, and never make endorsements alongside other leftist groups, except in some cases directly related to media activism. We’ve discovered that we have a lot to learn from the free software movement, and copied many of their tools and techniques. We’ve appropriated technology as an essential tool for radical social change. We decided that each imc should be allowed tremendous autonomy. We’ve decided we do have values and kicked out groups which weren’t open, weren’t leftist, or were controlled by a leftist political party (mostly greens, maoists, and trots.) We’ve decided that we don’t care too much what other people think of us.

I don’t take, and I wouldn’t expect a GivingMarket or SmallChangeExchange to take, any position at all along a political, left-right, spectrum. We and it ought to be about the business of transcending and including the whole of that. That said, I do find some of the structural characteristics here interesting. In my recent confusions, this view of indymedia reminds me that we are awash in moving multitudes experimenting with dissolving media.

Sometimes the thing that stops me is that I come up to the point where the idea is so very small and simple, and the potential of these new media is too great to ignore, that I crumble a bit at what feels like an arrogance in doing something so small and expecting it to have any effect at all… especially a potentially large one. This hesitation at the edge of simple power, I suppose, is precisely what seems so necessary for more and more of us to poke through now. Ah, the challenges of doing less and doing it easy!

Elsewhere, TheObvious has gone back to two columns. Looks so good I might have to try it here, too!

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Small Change News

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

Had lunch with Jill Perkins yesterday and worked out a bit more of the detail for GivingMarket as /GivingNewsBlog. Much of this clarity is surfacing on this page already. Just look around at all the Small Changes here.

In this most recent incarnation, the GivingMarket wouldn’t try to own the transactions as a processor, foundation or other intermediary would want to, nor the individual project data as a matching or directory service would. It seems enough to bring links and surface little bits of news.

If this plan sticks, then this blog will be opened for public posting of Giving News. It will be an invitation to notice and post where Giving asks/offers are being made, people to people, little individual to little individual. Also, news of the results would be invited.

The GivingMarket: Where Small Change Makes the News.

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Strategic Happiness

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

This just in from Ashley Cooper blogging Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness site. Seems likely to be related to /StrategicGivingQuestions.

seligman writes about three kinds of happy life:

  • the pleasant life, which consists of having as many of the positive emotions as you can, and learning the skills that amplify them… the smiley, giggly view of happiness… positive emotion.
  • eudaemonia, the good life…knowing what your signature strengths are and recrafting everything you do to use them a much as possible. the pursuit of happiness…the pleasures of contemplation and the pleasures of good conversation…when one has a good conversation, when one contemplates well. When one is in eudaemonia, time stops. You feel completely at home. Self-consciousness is blocked. You’re one with the music.

    The good life consists of the roots that lead to flow. It consists of first knowing what your signature strengths are and then recrafting your life to use them more — recrafting your work, your romance, your friendships, your leisure, and your parenting to deploy the things you’re best at. What you get out of that is not the propensity to giggle a lot; what you get is flow, and the more you deploy your highest strengths the more flow you get in life.

  • the pursuit of meaning… meaning consists in attachment to something bigger than you are. The self is not a very good site for meaning, and the larger the thing that you can credibly attach yourself to, the more meaning you get out of life… joining and serving in things larger than you that you believe in while using your highest strengths is a recipe for meaning.

anyone seeking to answer those initial questions, seeking to keep their life nourishing and fullfilling, seeking to invest their energy in the most fruitful places, is wise to practice eudaemonia. it’s amazing how deeply connecting with our signature strengths has the power to stop time, liberate us from self-consciousness, empower us to feel at home, enchant us into becoming one with the music, inviting us to continuously flow, flow, flow.

seligman’s website offers many questionaires and resourses to discovering your signature strengths and realizing your potential for lasting fulfillment. if you visit the site and take any of the tests, be sure to let us know what you think.

I think I would call ‘eudaemonia’ by the name ‘mutuality’ — letting others be as real to me as I am to myself. And then the pursuit of meaning happens naturally, immediately, automatically, as connection to a larger (felt) space and flow, rather than just a larger story. It’s in the letting others be real to me, in all their joys and pains and pursuits that I am not so much getting connected to more people or meaning as I am becoming more. My self expands. This is the invitation of the GivingMarket.

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Orgs, Orgs Everywhere

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

So many of the WorkingModels we’ve been finding, the ones that are especially related to philanthropy, are focused on funding for organizations. At the same time, one of the essential elements of the GivingMarket is its focus on exchange between individual givers and actors. Challenge and opportunity, as this email snippet from Daniel O’Connor helps explain:

…one of the reasons why “org” keeps getting in the way of the self-organizing giving market you envision is the prevalence of the Green value system a la Spiral Dynamics.

Green thinking is maybe 30% of the american culture, but it is an even higher percentage of the “social” “nonprofit” “gifting” “helping” sector that is trying to create a better world. Green likes consensus, structure, and control in pursuit of its social ideals. If it can’t pursuade people to join its cause, it will shame them and coerce them to get in line… politely of course.

What you’re trying to create is Yellow… self-organizing, decentralized, a few simple rules, information flowing, individuals choosing to participate or not without coercion. Yellow is still very rare in america and it is often perceived as the enemy in Green-dominated cultures.

Sure enough, when I floated the GivingMarket idea at a conference last week, it drew some rather intense, politely veiled (as predicted), attacks from some folks who are in the thick of the Green non-profit world. I take this as a good sign. Yellow or bust!

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Utah Phillips

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

…is a folk singin’ sort of storytelling, freight-train-hopping, clown-nose wearing, union organizing anarchist, among other things. we saw him here in chicago last night. he’s one of these amazing folks who challenges more than inspires, simply by being as big as he is, by being so much of who he is. so i walked out of the show, which felt more like a conversation really, thinking that i was sort of doing what he does… but just doing way, way too little of it.

after so many songs and stories of organizers and movements, marvelling at all of us singing along to a number of choruses like “building a boat, might never sail on… gonna build it anyway,” i come away convinced that the giving market needs a folk song dimension to it, a union hall organizing, freight train-hopping, take-it-to-the-streets, power to the people sort of life. it needs a pulse we can all tap out gently with one foot. now that’s a good puzzle for an online marketplace sort of project, but i think TedErnst and i worked out a bit of it today.

Ted helped me talk myself into a simple webpage in which i could offer (and answer!) my four big questions: what do i want to see in the world? what do i have to offer? what do i need? what am i willing to do if i get it? …and then invite others to answer them too, to then post them anywhere, and post the location of their answers on the giving market site.

if you’ve been reading along here, you know i’ve talked myself through structures like MembersWebsite, WeblogDirectory, OneBigBlogRoll and StrategicGivingQuestions (see sidebar links, left). this new idea seems like a swirl of all of them: a blog with my answers, a website inviting attention to the questions, a listing of where the offerings/askings are posted… all i’d want then is a public sort of blogroll that could just keep growing but that would only display a random 50 links each time it was reloaded.

this new form moves away from the google/ebay model, away from the match.com market, toward something more like bookcrossing.com or wheresgeorge.com, which track the movement of books and single US dollar bills, respectively. in this form, the giving market doesn’t need to own the transaction, and doesn’t even need to own the project data. it only needs offer the invitation and some basic market indicators… just enough to surface and encourage what is already out there anyway.

so now it seems that my next best step is to pencil out the GivingMarket as a sort of folk song. something that could be passed around, shared with friends, accessible to all, and adapted and re-adapted to all kinds of people and places. something that would invite community to gather in any number of ways and places.

so i’m gonna take a short break here, give it a think and a rest, and then come back and play some more.

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A New Structure Emerging?

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

you know the ideas are coming fast and fresh when there’s just no time for capitalization! maybe something of a structure for the GivingMarket is starting to emerge here now. something that is fully grounded in teh swarm of personal relationships that is essential for getting anything to look and feel real — and also something that can scale into a single central, identifiable even if only by its swarming, market place for transactions.

imagine that what we’ve previously called /ProfilePage and /ProjectPage merge into a single blog page. the answers to our /StrategicGivingQuestions the other night make for an easy first dozen postings. and if everyone answers those first, then they’re always findable in the first archive page. or you put them right in the sidebar. either way, or some other way, they are invited and posted as introduction, initial offering and request: what we have and what we need, what we want to see in the world and what we are willing to do about it. add a personal sidebar to each blog with a personal blogroll of the orgs, individuals, referrals, contributors, and other projects you’re interested, even the news feeds from the sources that are relevent to your project. finish the page with photos and contact information and you have a complete GivingMarket participant.

next, notice that there are many such projects, with have/need info posted. so make a central registry of some sort. register yourself and all the others. self-selected. self-managed. self-organizing. NOW is that central list a chicagobloggers website? is it simply a central blogroll that everyone can also add to their sidebar? but how would one trim what should get to be /OneBigBlogRoll? and how would new entries come onto established lists, or rather how would they be presented to all market participants to be considered for addition/deletion to/from their slice of the central GivingMarket blogroll?

if we leave the blogroll function to the manual operation of each participant, then maybe the way to bring new potential blogroll folks to the attention of all participants is a super/central blog of blogs? so maybe the central registration is a posting in that blog of giving blogs and also is adding yourself to the central bloglines news aggregator feed lot? blogs could be dumped into piles there: youth, arts, food, environment, social venture, etc.?

the trick it seems is to cobble together the simplest possible system of some of the most popular tools, then get 50-100 folks to pilot the thing. if the pilot succeeds, it’s either copied or cultivated. it gets larger or it repeats itself. maybe a bit of both.

the initial offering and invitation within any one group, like a BALLE-BC would include orientation to the following: a blogger template, blogroll subscription, bloglines subscription, a paypal account, technorati (for seeing who’s quoting you, so you can respond)… perhaps a meet-up subscription, though they play gatekeeper and restrict access to forming new groups… but perhaps there’s a yahoogroups email group subscription tossed in… and maybe an Open Space Technology or /InvitingFriendsAndPartners primer.

the whole thing is ultimately held together by PURPOSE, which is why there needs to be a convener or convening organization like a BALLE-BC. so perhaps there is one bloglines super account, and many groups each with their own purpose, invitation, blogroll, and blog of blogs, and bloglines folder? maybe this ends up being a sort of wiki tree of blogtools.

a bit of work to set up, and then… pow! it’s a thing. easy, fast, free and replicable. now, where’s the revenue model inside of that swarm? could there ever be anyway to own even a fraction of the transactions, or is the whole thing lost to the network right out the gate?

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Gone Fishing

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

Had my mind bent a bit in two separate phone calls yesterday. The first with Julie Caldwell and Ted Ernst is documented, a bit cryptically perhaps, in a new InvitingFriendsAndPartners page at the Giving Conference wiki site. Seems we’re finally making enough sense of all the things we talked about in the last several days, enough sense to begin some movement together.

The second call was with Phil Cubeta, who nudged me in the direction of understanding the difference between Giving as transaction and Giving as relationship. The the weblog and the GivingMarket wiki have been rearranged to reflect some of this. Phil also tuned me into some technical blogging details that helped confirm my growing sense and desire that this project of surfacing and inviting (as opposed to creating or constructing) the GivingMarket could in fact be a profoundly simple undertaking rather than a technical, legal and financial mountain to scale.

Still reeling a bit on the Transaction/Relationship spectrum. When I think transaction, it seems important to build a big website, an online Center for Giving. When I let Giving shift back in the direction of relationship, it’s enough to just keep blogging and connecting, and mostly enough just to keep bringing my own gifts forward as offerings. Fishing around for a balancing point. Might be a directory like the ChicagoBloggers site or might be even simpler as OneBigBlogRoll that could be cultivated and shared and edited by many. But would it scale? Would it need to?

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ManyOne Network and Foundation

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

This looks an awful lot like some of the future that Julie Caldwell has been talking about… and for which she is now developing some proposal pages, connecting youth movement to new structures and practices for governance and ownership. Good fodder for the GivingMarket/PublicFoundation approach.

The ManyOne Network is a global network of trusted and authoritative Internet content providers, creating an open democratic Web-based medium that inspires creativity, community, collaboration and learning. Stewarded by the world’s foremost experts, with information for people of all ages and education levels, together, they are creating the world’s first online collaborative encyclopedia of human knowledge, an ecosystem of intellect and culture beautifully rendered in 3D and rich media in an ad-free environment.

Accessed through the ManyOne Universal Browser and Portal Service, and distributed through membership organizations, ManyOne’s reusable Web portal service catalyzes this ecosystem of partners and members to co-evolve a new medium. Partners can then private-label the combined service to offer world-class portals, complete with ISP services, email, trade, and Instant Messaging to their constituencies via subscriptions, transforming their Web sites into revenue generators.

ManyOne is a privately held, for-profit company that will become wholly owned by the non-profit ManyOne Foundation in 2005. The company and the Foundation are pioneering a new standard of social responsibility in organizational governance, objectives, and conduct. The ManyOne Foundation is guided by the Earth Charter, a roadmap of principles for a just and sustainable world. The ManyOne Foundation’s Board of Directors includes social leaders such as Jane Goodall, Paul Hawken, and Maurice Strong.

via Penny Scott who spoke with ManyOne president, Richard Perl at last year’s BALLE conference in Philadelphia.

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A Whole New Approach

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

Sunday night I had a chance to facilitate an OpenSpace meeting for a local church group. While they were doing their work, I took advantage of the creative buzz in the room to start sketching out the answers to the four big questions we’d identified recently as the core project template:

What do we see? What do we want? What do we have? and What do we need? The process did much to shake up my thinking and surface some overwhelm, too. This did much to undermine the MembersWebsite approach to implementation, in favor of a WeblogDirectory approach. In a later iteration of these questions, I rolled the first two together and added a new fourth: What will we do?

Still swimming in the openness of these four, a more focused list has been taking shape on the StrategicGivingQuestions page. Will start scribbling some answers to these new questions as soon as I have the energy for another shake up.

Elsewhere, today I successfully wrestled this here blog into a three-column format. Style sheets are still largely a mystery to me, so this was no small feat. My apologies to IE users who seem to be stuck with a much bigger font size than I’d like. Just don’t know how to satisfy both Mozilla and IE.

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The Way Forward

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

In these last few days, it feels like nothing is happening here, but that isn’t necessarily the case. It’s taken a fair amount time and attention to get the GivingMarketBlog up and running, especially the sidebar here, which is not the merely cosmetic process that it might appear.

Below the surface, the work has been about distinguishing Concept pages (largely finished), Construction pages (current work), and Conversation pages (the seeds of a larger upcoming invitation to partners, developers, funders, and participants). Along the way, I spent most of Friday with Julie Evans Caldwell, beginning to give her Public Network Centers idea some shape. Helped me with testing and refining my thoughts on what the ProjectPage template should look like. More and more, it seems everything is related, and all distance is distance made good.

Next step: Apply the new format for describing projects to the GivingMarket project itself… as experiment, demonstration, invitation and the beginning of initiating the Market as its own first offering. In this way, the GivingMarket emerges simultaneously as a great sea of many projects AND just one small change swimming within that great sea, no better or worse than all the other projects there.

Conference call with BALLE-BC and InterraProject Thursday 9/2.

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In the beginning…

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

It used to be, back in the early nineties, that a fax machine was the thing that made your business or project real. Then it was a website. Today it’s a blog. Not enough, or just not necessary, to have an office to house equipment like faxes; nor to simply make an offering on the web. Today it takes practice, and ongoing progress, public documentation and discourse, to make a project real.

Here are the first dozen or so entries in a development log started elsewhere and pasted in here as the big fat first posting in this new GivingMarketBlog. And so the GivingMarket seems more real today. Watch this space for ongoing progress.

August 23rd – Trust, Credibility, Accountability

Questions about trust and credibility come up with some regularity in conversations about the GivingMarket. This bit on TomMunnecke‘s [GivingSpace] email list puts these concerns in perspective. The conversations always assume that because there in an organization involved, that somehow there is trust and security. Sort of like, if it’s in the newspaper, it must be true. Robert Tolmach reminds us otherwise:
There is virtually no accountability or transparency in the social sector. As a result, money going into the sector is poorly allocated and much of it is spent ineffectively.
Organizations over a certain size (I think it’s $25k in revenues) have to file an annual Form 990 to the IRS (you can see them at www.Guidestar.org), but it reports on financial matters, not performance.
About the only criteria anyone looks at are what % of revenues go to administrative costs and what % to fundraising. While that will help screen out some truly egregious cases, it says nothing about how effectively the organization spends its money or what it accomplishes. Could you imagine people deciding whether to invest in IBM on the basis of those two numbers?
Jed Emerson promoted the concept of Social Return on Investment (SROI) but few funders or nonprofits think in those terms. It’s admittedly difficult (and in many cases impossible) to quanitfy social benefits or to compare them between sectors, but few funders or nonprfofits even think in terms of unit cost for goods or services delivered.
The BBB Wise Giving Alliance now has a site, http://www.give.org, which rates 500 or so national charities, but there is little on performance and thresholds are pretty low. For instance, they approve up to 35% of revenues being spent on fundraising.
Charity Navigator rates some charities on the basis of several financial criteria [here], but again they look only at financial figures without examining what the organization actually accomplishes.
It seems to me that if more gifts were made to /LittleIndividuals, there could be more direct accountability, not less. John McKnight has said that the one thing an organization can never deliver is care. Only individuals can take care of people and situations. I would add responsibility to that. Organizations are almost always specifically structured, legally and organizationally, to not take responsibility and not incur liability.

August 20th – Conference Call Notes

An excellent call with Penny and Jon, moving together in next two weeks to build list of people at /KindredSpirits, Jon will link that page to map for proceeding with technical get-it-up-and-running process, Michael will build out templates for /ProfilePage and /ProjectPage and we can all start fill in data for the GivingMarket project itself. That data is essentially the story of “what do we have?” and “what do we need?” Then we can work out invitation to the people to gather ’round the map, and look into addressing what’s needed to move forward with this: What must be created for a GivingMarket to be turned on, up-and-running, now? Considering dumping this /DevelopmentLog into a real, live weblog with comments and such, as well.
Some structural clarity came out of the call as well: Interra itself is a project that currently resides under the wing of the Rudolf Steiner Foundation, is emerging as a 501(c)(3) that will own all of its informational assets, with a for-profit subsidiary that will be licensed to process transactions. In this way, the whole thing is ultimately owned by the community. It’s not yet clear if GivingMarket falls with the bounds of Interra or not, but the two do clearly play well together, informing and supporting each other, and so we go on together. We will focus on the project(s) and possibilities and issues of common good, the things that attract our attention, more than we focus on the boundaries between our projects. We will work together to feed this attractor and work toward an invitation to bring together the next round of people this project needs to move forward.
Taking two weeks now until our next conference call, Sept 2nd — time to catch our breaths a bit and dig into the work of listing out the people, profile and project templates and stories.

August 18th – Domain Names and Why this Market is Needed

Registered domain names today: GivingMarket .com, .org. and .net… just in case. Also got this from DougGermann. It’s a good example of the kind of giving work that could be supported by a GivingMarket.
…a dear friend wrote and made the choice easy. She has for years been doing breakthrough work to help people with Alzheimer’s feel part of life again, to discover that they matter. Yet she is finding doors closed because she lacks credentials. Here is the glimpse that came to me as I struggled with her closed doors: Credentials are a crutch for those who would rather not think, examine, question themselves and find out. Credentials are a door to close not open. Opening doors for the work is the further work of the ones who would do good work.
I would love to see some of her stories, experiences, skills …and needs for funds, connections, etc. posted in a GivingMarket. Someday.

August 18-20th – Catching My Breath

Time Off? Attempting to let this whole thing rest for a few days until we talk again on 8/20th. Please chime in, Jon and Penny, if there are things to add before our call.

August 17th – Structure and Relationship

Continued last night’s conversation this afternoon, and got a whole lot more clarity about how these pieces, GivingMarket, InterraProject, BALLEBC and other players might be fitting together. It seems that InterraProject will provide a service to BALLEBC and other community groups. BALLEBC will invite its members into the InterraProject site, where the service functions will operate. This delivers service to BALLEBC members and members to the Interra service. Mutuality Rocks. So where does a GivingMarket fit in? Perhaps as a peer to Interra, so that the GivingMarket also serves BALLEBC members and BALLEBC also delivers members to the Market.
BALLEBC then begins to evolve in the direction of becoming a broker of peer-to-peer market services. Other P2P offerings might include eBay/MissionFish and blogger.com. eBay would support peer-to-peer retail with Mission Fish inviting sellers to funnel proceeds to fund BALLEBC. Blogger supports peer-to-peer publishing. The idea here is that if a BALLEBC member understands any of the P2P marketplaces linked, then they probably understand all of them. Interra invites individuals to deal with organizations as peers, to open conversations with store managers, for instance, to ask what they are doing to support local life.
All of these things run on the power of individual choices, actions, and spending. The GivingMarket invites peer-to-peer action and funding. So it seems to require development as a peer to these other sorts of services. Thinking about the /BigChange enabled by the emergence of this sort of efficient market for giving, Interra seems a fitting longer-term home for the GivingMarket because Interra will always own the relationships with banks that will be required to support endowment funds and perpetual programmed giving and matching. This relationship seems to parallel eBay ownership of PayPal, because it made strategic sense for them to own the transaction.
So it looks to me like a many-to-many world is emerging. Many service providers, offering and inviting peer-to-peer connections, where individuals function with power previously reserved to organizations. Individuals as purchasing agents, retailers, publishers, project funders. On the other hand, many member-based communities like BALLEBC, who in this case is inviting organizations to care and responsibility — functions that can only be performed by individual actors. BALLEBC and other community orgs will invite business and other leaders to think and act as if their own personal quality of life depends on the decisions they make as individuals even though they are made for or within their organizations. In this way, the real healing happens when the lines between the servers and the served get crossed and recrossed. This is the power and the wholeness that springs up in OpenSpaceTechnology meetings and events. This is the power of markets, where many individuals in many organizations make informed decisions that add up to progress for the common good. Many-to-many… -into-One.
In summary…
  • Interra, BALLEBC and GivingMarket each grow as distinct entities and services
  • The three entities play exceptionally well together and can be piloted together
  • Long-term, GivingMarket scales bigger than BALLEBC and might be strategically owned by Interra
  • BALLEBC connections with Interra and GivingMarket sets stage for partnerships with other P2P markets/communities
  • GivingMarket extends the offerings of BALLEBC and Interra, can be supported, but needs to stand on its own
  • Interra grounds the whole constellation in the banking/credit system and individual wallets and purses
  • Interra ownership of GivingMarket might be necessary long-term to support /BigChange endowment accounts, etc
Other things noticed going by…
  • Interra points need to be giftable to individuals… anyone can give points to anyone… which supports individual giving to individual friends initially and making a points-based giving market organically as the point system develops.
  • GivingMarket needs to be born as dollar-denominated market, with points being one of many additional sorts of gifts (air miles, used computers, referrals, advice, hours, etc) that could be made.
  • /ProjectPage(s) should spring from two main questions (the heart of any gift or commercial exhange): What do you have to offer? and… What do you need or want?
  • Retired folks might be prime market and often embody the server/served union… might be funders and funded for projects for instance, might have time to organize and money to contribute, but need partners to add to both sides.
  • Over time, individuals and organizations swim together in a sea of P2P markets, individuals sprouting new “organizations” via functions like /OrganizingPage and organizations taking care and responsibility via individual (personal) decisions of leaders and managers.

August 16th, late-night – Qualifications

Penny and I talked a bit about the work that they did yesterday out in Vancouver, site design and partner meetings and such. Sounds like more questions than answers turning up. One issue comes up often, about what kinds of things are “qualified” for credit, meaning what is local, what is green, or sustainable or otherwise supporting the local living economy of beings. Penny and I came back to a new version of what we had decided a year ago in the formation of BALLE-BC. Back then, we said “members” were folks who posted a quarterly statement (even a single short paragraph would do) to say what it is that they had been doing or would be doing to support local living economy. Their posting would be their “dues” and would be the content that would serve as marketing, definition, values statement, ideas database, and to the extent that some of them would convene projects together or make referrals, then this pile of postings would also speak to the benefits of membership. We updated that for the Interra case, thinking that merchants should be required to post at doors/checkouts/pricing labels what it is that they are offering for sale that would qualify for Interra points. Then the “qualification” could be made by local purchasers, who could engage the management with good and bad feedback. The signs would also serve to invite individuals to join Interra, which could then steer them to local orgs like BALLE-BC. In this way, the requirements say nothing about local content, local ownership, what’s sustainable or green or good. The requirement is to talk. To post. To think up things your business can contribute. To offer them openly and allow for conversation. To keep updating the offerings. Raising consciousness. And to let the market then do its work of sifting the data, making choices, rewarding contributors and punishing laggards.

August 16th – Modelling the Way

Having started to map out the kinds of things that Projects would be asked to outline in their postings, I find myself looking at these working notes and beginning to shape them into a model for that… things like this /DevelopmentLog taking shape as a result of this.

August 13th – Website Development

Focusing on GivingMarket/HomePage and the pages linked there, working out more of the details of the user experience, mapping out pages and such. Interra and [BALLE-BC] will meet on 8/15-16 to work on larger user interface issues for the Vancouver pilot/launch. Next conference call 8/20.

August 12th – Interra Project Conversations

Thanks to Jon Ramer and the [InterraProject] for this [WorkingMap] of our work here. In recent conference calls, Jon has also mentioned some GivingMarket/KindredSpirits worth checking out.

July/August – Working Conversations

Meetings with a number of friends and colleagues from the Giving Conference and elsewhere, to work out potential for developing this sort of marketplace. Along the way, we began exploring the possibility of creating a GivingMarket within the [InterraProject] pilot with [BALLE-BC] in Vancouver, BC.

July 9-11th – The Giving Conference

A working session was convened in [OpenSpace] during the Giving Conference in Chicago. Here are the /ConferenceNotes from that session and some post-conference /AfterThoughts.

Pre-Conference July – A First Conversation

TomMunnecke called me to say that he couldn’t attend the conference, but wanted to get connected anyway. We had a great first conversation. Along the way, this notion of “gBay” came to me… a Google (Search, News, Blogs) meets eBay (individuals, auctions, exchange) sort of idea. Tom and I met as he passed through Chicago, the day before the Giving Conference. He met with a number of others, too… and stirred us all up enough that some of what we discussed with Tom showed up on the list of working sessions over the next three days of the Conference.

March April May June – Origins: Ideas into Action

PhilCubeta has been blogging for some years about the changes he wants to see in the way Philanthropy is done in America. He’d built up a good audience, ChrisCorrigan among them — but no organization at all. After reading for a couple years, Chris began trading emails with Phil, explaining a bit about OpenSpaceTechnology and eventually inviting me into the thread. I was interested, but didn’t have energy or interest for idle chatting. Phil assured me that he really did want something to happen. I explained how simple action could be, offering a way past a number of logistical obstacles. I had my own track record, going back some years, of organizing gatherings and bringing people together for action. I pledged my experience and organizing energies and a plan to do something about Phil’s issues. He pledged the seed money for meeting space. We both had people we wanted to invite, as did Chris and some others. An invitation was written, space found, people called and emailed and invited to join us. One of the people called and invited was TomMunnecke and one of the ideas that came out of those earliest conversations was this notion of a GivingMarket. More ideas have followed, conference calls, websites, new blogs, many more conversations and shared counsel on individual and group projects. This is what happens when passion, experience, energy and a bit of seed money come together for the good. Obviously this coming together was already possible and is continuing to happen all over the world. In this way, the GivingMarket isn’t making anything new. It’s making more and easier what is already happening naturally. And it is already unfolding and embodying, for itself, what it is inviting and supporting in others: A steady stream of small changes by /LittleIndividuals, all distance made good.

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