What if we didn't ask for money? ~ Part 2

Earlier in the year I wrote about "What if we didn't ask for money?" ... This was the introduction to the idea that along with money, grants, charity comes allegiance to whoever wields (provides) the finances. Actually our whole volunteering sector is now subject to the same rigid structures and controls as business.

Although the volunteer sector messaging is designed to have us part with our hard earned cash (guilt trip more than often) at the centre it's all about money, money, money. Give us your money so we can 'operate' (and pay people)... Having slipped into 'business mode', you could be forgiven for thinking that volunteering and doing good things has been hijacked as it is now almost indistinguishable from the corporate sector.

Before anyone jumps on my back here, yes charities do some amazing work... but it has become an industry in itself, under the control of the money men... this is the point I'm making. Please take a look at the blog post as it will be a good introduction to what follows here.

Pathways (controlled) for Volunteering

We now have a very clearly defined 'pathway' for doing volunteering. It is channeled through things like the charities commission, organisations that manage charities, and through innovations such as community interest companies (CIC's) with rules to control what you can and can't do. It is the classic approach to keeping things under control.

If someone starts making a noise and being a nuisance, invite them to join the council or the government, they'll soon be bogged down in the weight of bureaucracy and become systemised. If someone is making waves? ... encourage them to work with you and create a framework to control their activity that they can support and agree with... then the 'body' controls 'the thing' going forward... a new 'acceptable' pathway now encapsulated within the system. Job done.

Watford Parade
I've seen it myself in Watford. How easily an idea is suppressed (and buried) by the feigned interest of the powers that be. The ego rush from the sudden attention, the promise of funding to propel the project, the subsequent (tedious and lengthy) discussions, the watering down of the ideas, and then the endless hurdles to jump over... until... the idea withers on the vine battered by red tape and systems... or it becomes an ineffective project of no consequence or import, a pale shadow of its former incarnation.

A subject of my next blog... but so so important. We are constantly being herded along accepted, controlled, and managed pathways to do things. If you want to do that... then... this is how you go about it. I hear it all the time. The translation for this roughly goes like this. There is already a structured organised way to do this which we have created. Follow that path, be a good citizen, fit in, and do as you are told.

Why? Why do I have to do it like that? ... 

what if I want to do it my way? Well you can... it is the less traveled road, it is an adventure, you don't know what is around the corner... and the following statements might prove to be accurate...

  1. You'll probably get no support and help from those that want you to do it their way
  2. Actually, as you are not fitting it, you will be positively hindered and helped to fail
  3. You must accept total responsibility for your decisions and actions
  4. Outside the system you will require new support connections with like minded thinkers
  5. It's not going to be easy

A new way to look at making a contribution in our community

What if instead of trying to fit in with a tired and totally controlled volunteer sector we collectively decided to just get on and do things. What if we just started to meet up and talk about things that could be done to improve our local community?

What if we started with a new set of premises for community projects such as... 
  • How can we tackle challenges without MONEY?
  • Approach solutions with much wider lateral thinking
  • Search, create and discover innovative ways to crack problems
  • Make it an interactive, engaging, fun, interesting and challenging experience, almost like gaming
  • Involve others who might want to join in
  • No fixed ways of doing things, facilitated using 21st century life skills
  • Share freely so good ideas can be picked up and implemented elsewhere

If we can encourage an environment of creating solutions not based on money but based on People, Relationships and Contribution we open up the doors to anyone, with any skill, who would like to participate in the community. 
  • Anyone can join in
  • Do as little or as much as you like
  • Help out when you can
  • Be you

... So... some final words

Perhaps the start of the PCS ... People's Contribution Service. Where we can Practice innovating, looking for ways to grow community without the attention being on money... involving people working together, collaboratively to solve real local challenges. Where we focus on People, Relationships, our combined connections and the skills and tools that we have available to us. we might also make a whole bunch of new friends... and grow ourselves as individuals too!

When we put our minds together, what will we achieve?


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