Tomorrow—at 4:35 pm Central time, to be precise—the Fellowship for Intentional Community's Kickstarter campaign will end. We set a goal of raising $6000 in 60 days (with Kickstarter you don't get any of the money pledged unless you reach your goal) to raise money to create a new print edition of our Communities Directory and to overhaul our online version at the same time.
I'm pleased to report that our pledges now stand at $8001. That's good, but we can do better.
As a measure of how much I believe in the Fellowship, I am making a commitment during the final hours of our campaign and I hope you'll join me. For anyone making an additional pledge between now and tomorrow afternoon's closing bell, I'll personally match it dollar for dollar up to $500. Just click here and make a donation.
What would we do with the money (given that we've already secured what we need for the Directory work)? I'm glad you asked. We have no problem thinking up good ways to apply additional support. Here are five easy pieces that can use immediate help:
o Covering travel to Mexico in April to present in person the 2016 Kozeny Communitarian Award to Alberto Ruz
This year, for the first time, we have selected a winner of this lifetime achievement award who does not live in the US. In fact, because Alberto lives a nomadic life that emphasizes action, support, and celebration over personal gain (very like what Geoph Kozeny did, in whose remembrance we created this award) Alberto is doubtful he can obtain a US visa.
In any event, we always try to make a public presentation of this award in front an appreciative hometown audience, and this year that means going to Alberto's seasonal home in Mexico, the intentional community of Huehuecoyotl. There will be an important international gathering there in April, the Forum on Nature's Rights, where Alberto will be making the case for why Nature should regularly be given a seat at the table when proposals impacting the environment are discussed.
Sure, we could mail the award, but where is the solidarity in that? Sky Blue (our new Executive Director) is poised to go if we can raise the money.
o Boosting travel subsidies to attend semi-annual organization meetings
This has traditionally been a small item in our annual budget, but we've realized in recent years that we need to make it bigger if we're serious about creating a more robust intergenerational and geographically diffused presence on our Board. If we intend to be a North American organization, then we need to face what it takes to bring people together from all over North America.
Electronic technology allows us to do a certain amount of clever substitutions of virtual meetings for face-to-face gatherings, but there comes a point where people simply need to smell each other and breathe the same air in order to develop the depth of connections needed for our kind of work to thrive. We cannot afford to limit participation to those who can afford to cover their own travel costs.
o Capitalize an event seed fund
Ever since the FIC hosted the six-day Celebration of Community in 1993—bringing together 1000 people from all over the world—we have been in the event business, We love producing (or helping others produce) community-focused events where participants get both down-to-earth practical information about how to build and maintain successful communities, and a taste of community at the same time.
It will help us be more nimble and able to take advantage of emerging opportunities if we have a seed fund that will cover up-front costs of an event (think marketing, promotion, deposit on the venue, and core staff salary) before money from registrations, sponsorships, and advertising starts reversing the cash flow.
o Pay down debt on our new green headquarters
Last year FIC moved its headquarters from a breezy, thinly insulated '70s-era house trailer to a tight strawbale building with solar panels on the roof. For the first time in 28 years we had a sustainable building in which our staff answered inquiries about options in sustainable living. It was about time.
To accomplish this we took out a loan, Now we have to pay it back. While the terms are favorable, and we've aggregated a bit of the money needed to retire the debt, we still have a long ways to go, and it's prudent to keep chipping away at it.
o Set aside funds to cover 18 months of salary for a new Development Director
When I stepped down as FIC's main administrator last month, we reorganized the way we're doing business. Instead of one person acting as the central node we shifted to a team of three: an Executive Directory (Sky Blue), a Business Manager (Christopher Kindig), and a Development Director (currently vacant).
Unfortunately, our initial attempt to fill the Development Director position didn't work out and we have to start over. That includes manifesting enough money to cover that person's salary for 18 months, at which time we'll expect them to be generating enough income to cover their payroll. While we cannot afford to hire that person today, we cannot afford to build a future without someone regularly thinking about development and fundraising.
To get out from under this Catch-22, FIC is making it a priority to manifest this funding in 2016. I figure we may as well start now.
Will you match me?