At our August 2021 Integrity Meeting, we began one of the most important conversations we can have. This exploration will affect Creating the Future’s approach to resourcing our work. Our hope, though, is that these conversations will contribute to a reimagining of how social change work is resourced across the whole ecosystem of change efforts.
You can read more about the reasoning behind this conversation at the post for that August conversation,where you can also watch the meeting in its entirety. The following will summarize that discussion at a high level.
Using Catalytic Thinking, we began where we always begin – asking about all the individuals and groups who will be affected by whatever actions we take, and then considering what it will take for them to be part of this conversation. (See all the questions in the Catalytic Thinking framework here.)
The following are the questions we asked, and the answers we came up with. This conversation will be ongoing, and so we encourage you to add your thoughts in the comments here, so that we can incorporate them into our thinking. And as always, we invite you to be directly involved in the conversation as it continues! (Info about our next meeting is here.)
Who will be affected by whatever actions we take to align our resourcing with our values?
● People working within social change under the current paradigm where money stops everything
● Whoever is involved in asking someone else for an investment of funds or other assets
● The actual people being asked (not the organization or agency… the individual)
● People who have struggled to fundraise in traditional ways due to racial inequity issues
● Everyone will be impacted under a paradigm shift
● The people who are trying to bring about social change because they care about that issue, but may not be good at fundraising.
● People who spend time applying for grants (especially those who are not awarded the funds) This led to considerable conversation about the amount of collective time spent on fundraising, that could be spent doing productive social change work)
● People involved in Social enterprises
● People curious about post-capitalist, post-neo-liberal approaches
● Everyone involved in systems that have to report to funders
● People looking for alternatives to current funding systems
● Foundation leaders
● Non-profit professional advisory class (people giving advice on how things should run, e.g. consultants, academics)
● Sub-categories of the groups already mentioned; for example, many conservative funders already practice some of the behaviors we’d like to see in progressive spaces, such as trust-based philanthropy
● Individual philanthropists
● The people currently doing work, and who will be doing work in the future, on behalf of Creating the Future
● The people who participate in programs supported by these resources
● Workers for for-profit organizations and businesses
● People in the community who benefit from these organizations
● People thinking about how we support social good
● People who are in organizations, whether they are board members or staff, who hate asking for money
● People who want to create change and believe they can’t because they don’t have money
What would it take to involve these people in this conversation?
● Not asking them for money
● Talk to people with transparency re: our values
● Have clarity around assets
● Have people who are able to speak clearly to the values that build trust and the assets that are required to do the work
● Opportunities for fellowship; chances to get together, share stories, and build community
● Shared sense of mission, values, and vision
● Faith that there is another option – that we will collectively figure it out together
● People who have experience with alternatives that they can share
● Competition for achieving results, NOT for the means to survive.
● An understanding of what the scarcity current system does to the physiology of our brains
● An understanding of the outcome we are looking for
● Human interactions
● Find where the conversations are already happening and participate in opportunities (CCF, Collective Impact, Non-Profit Quarterly, etc.)
● Involve more people. To do otherwise would go against our values.
● An event with everyone who is attached to this work in a room, with break out rooms and brainstorming
● It can’t just be Hildy participating in these conversations. Board members must engage these conversations.
● Over the next month, everyone will seek out at least one of these conversations, attend, and participate. Everyone will have at least one conversation with someone who is on this list. Come back in September and see what’s next from there. Create a Google doc or other place to gather resources.
Reflections: As we end our conversation today, what is standing out to you?
● Emphasis on building the field, or an ecosystem of organizations, rather than building your own organization
● We are starting to feel resistance because these changes start to push up against beliefs and values. We often ask people to start these conversations in a very hard place: “What are your values about equity and humanity?” This is a skill like any other that many people don’t spend much time practicing. We need to figure out how to make the audience ready for these conversations. What are the footholds that will move us forward against a system that we know is going to push back?
● Our system is steeped in white supremacy and male supremacy. It is rooted in oppression. Despite this, we basically have the same needs for relationships and community. It is possible to re-imagine and come back to a place of innocence that sees this.
● Moved by the reflections offered by others. How do we make the weight and scope of our project visible to folks? Have faith in the option. How do we create a “space of ease” even while approaching something large? People can accomplish a lot when they don’t think it’s hard.
● We are not alone in these conversations. Our difference has always been that Creating the Future is living this work. There is no one else whose job is to experiment on their own systems. Consultants and academics all experiment on others. We are re-thinking what those systems might look like and then living inside them to test and see what results.
What thoughts arise for you?
As you read through our thoughts on these questions, are there thoughts that arise for you? Anything you would add? What stands out to you in these responses? PLEASE share those in the comments below!
Our next discussion about this topic will happen on September 13 at 10am Pacific time (US). YOU are invited to be part of that conversation. Please see this post for details.
Deep gratitude to our documentarian for this meeting, Jackie Bradley. You are awesome, Jackie!