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April 2004
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June 2004

May 2004

Movement as Network

Here, from Gideon Rosenblatt, is a seminal paper on network centric environmental advocacy. Within a networked social change movement Gideon finds people oriented organizations, solution oriented organizations, and resource providers. Gifthub, as it evolves around donor centered philanthropy and planned giving, or endowment building, would be a resource to others orgs. Likewise, Marty Kearn's Green Media Toolshed is a resource for media cultivation for environmental groups. Likewise, Gerry Gleason is exploring shared technology resources. Rather than each org having to build out an infrastructure, including technology, media relations, planned giving, the idea is that we would have "hubs" that consolidate that expertise, and share it. The benfits to grassroots organizations within such a network are obvious: lower cost, flexibility, and the ability to a achieve critical mass with minimal paid staff. Thus, the movement has "departments," if you will, as in a corporation. But no one owns the network, and we are spared the hierarchical command and control model. What holds the movement together is not top down delegation, but a common story, or narrative, shared ideals, and many overlapping working relationships - call it solidarity, for the want of a more postmodern term. Or, call it "social capital" if money, in your spiritually impoverished worldview, is the make, measure or metaphor for all things on heaven and earth.

Lizard Brain Charitable Marketing

Active Citizen Tom Munnecke:

The general Lizard-brain approach is: See the beautiful babe. Drink our beer. Get the babe.

Charities have sometimes adopted this approach, too: See the sad-eyed child. Give us Money. Help the sad-eyed child.

(A former vice president of one of the largest charities running these ads told me that of the $28 per month they collected from these ads, maybe $4 made it to the kid.) Save the Children once even dipped to the level of "poverty porn" which included a vulture lurking over the kid. And then there is the question of whether giving to one kid in a village is the best way to uplift the village... but the process appeals to our lizard-brain.

Mark Your Calendar

Peter Karoff at The Philanthropic Initiative has been hosting a series of public colloquia on issues of real importance to philanthropy. On June 15 he is doing one on Philanthropic Leadership. That might seem ho-hum, but I am willing to bet that the subtext is Philanthropic Leadership - The Lack Thereof. Peter is pushing as hard as an insider can to awaken elite philanthropy to its public responsibilities. May the powers that be in Heaven bless his efforts. You can enroll for the webcast here. Much we can discuss afterwards, if readers of gifthub are so inclined.

Chet Tchozewski

Have added Chet Tchozewski to our Active Citizens list. He is the winner of the Council on Foundations 2004 Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking, for his work at Gobal Greengrants, making small international grants in partnership with local grassroots environmental organizations. I met Chet at a meeting convened by Active Citizen Tracy Gary. That conversation is what crystallized the decision to create some sort of gift hub connecting people like Chet, his donors, and advisors. Chet told me that one day a big funder of his walked in with financial statements and said, in effect, "Chet, show me how I can help you. Show me how to organize my finances to make a bigger difference." Chet had no one to call. That is a true shame - a funder who wants to be more generous, and a gifted activist like Chet, and no one around to help out with the necessary financial, estate, and charitable strategies. I dearly hope I can help make these connections for the good of all concerned - not least of all the grantees on the ground around the world.