Strategy Workgroup: Funding The Movement

Building on the success of the Progressive Strategy Handbook, an open source platform for building capacity for the movement, we are hosting this series of Strategy Workgroups.  (See them all here)

The first discussion topic was the branding of the progressive vision.  This one is dedicated to finding workable solutions to the funding challenges of the movement.  We have launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a How-To-Guide on Collaborative Funding that you can support here.

To get the discussion started, I’ve written How We’ll Fund the Progressive Movement which starts out by saying:

It is time to solve a fundamental problem that plagues progressives everywhere – the lack of seed money to get innovative projects off the ground and the absence of workable funding models to scale up the ongoing efforts to create systemic cultural, economic, and political change.

Every major economic paradigm shift throughout modern history has been propelled forward by the influx of financial capital to build institutions that support the new framework.  In the 1850′s and 60′s it was investment in cheap steel to lay down railways.  A century later there were massive capital projects to build the interstate highway system and the explosion of suburban landscapes that accompanied it.

Now we face a deeper challenge.  Not only must we cultivate technological breakthroughs that drive us toward sustainability – a huge challenge in its own right – but we must also create a different paradigm for finance that liberates us from the consumer culture threatening the ecosystems of the world.

In other words, we need new models for funding social change that lead us toward a more livable world.  This is the central crisis of the progressive movement.  We cannot enact our vision of widespread prosperity and human security until we change the equations that dictate how wealth is measured and how it is used.

I encourage you to read the whole article and come back here to discuss the following:

  1. What are the funding models used by our movement now and why aren’t they working?
  2. What promising tools can we use to experiment with and try to solve this problem?
  3. What roles will collaboration, engaging the crowd, and social media play in field-testing and scaling up the use of these tools?

Let’s explore these questions together as we gear up for action in the coming weeks and months.  This is a challenge that goes all the way to the heart of our movement.  It is too difficult for any one to solve on their own.  So it is well suited as a topic to be addressed by all of us together.

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