raising money to support the Microsolidarity commons & deciding together how we spend it
Ideally the Microsolidarity Network will grow into a self-sustaining commons, governed by its participants, not for private profit nor under private control.
Initially, Richard Bartlett & Nati Lombardo used their private company The Hum as the legal & financial vehicle for running paid Microsolidarity events. As the network has matured, we've decided to create a clearer separation between Microsolidarity & The Hum.
Since October 2022, we've set up 2 accounts on Open Collective, an awesome legal & financial toolbox, perfectly suited for microsolidarity groups. If you want to contribute money to the network, there are two places you can donate:
- 1.Microsolidarity, sponsored by Open Collective Europe. These donations are transacted in Euros and are hosted by a non-profit organization based in Belgium.
- 2.Microsolidarity Turtle Island, sponsored by Open Collective Foundation. These donations are transacted in US Dollars and are hosted by a non-profit organization based in the United States. They are tax-deductible under the US IRS 501(c)3 tax code.
Supporting us on Open Collective with at least €3 or $3 per month will give you access to the monthly members-only calls where you can meet other practitioners.
Our intention to grow a common fund that can be used for anything that supports the network. Here's some of our fundraising goals:
- to pay the facilitator for organising & hosting our monthly calls
- to provide scholarships to make paid events more accessible
- to produce media that supports the network & educates the wider public (e.g. editing the podcast, writing a book, making a Netflix series...)
- to pay for a "community coach" who can support a cohort of many microsolidarity community hosts
- to buy a retreat centre where communities can go for trainings & retreats.
The network is currently governed informally, with Richard Bartlett playing the role of "benevolent dictator". As we start to collect common resources, it seems natural that decision-making power should be shared with more people. Here's a proposed approach to get us started in that direction:
- all future paid events will be run through Open Collective
- all paid events that generate a surplus should contribute a percentage to the common fund
- anyone who has contributed money to the network is entitled to have a say about how the common fund is governed
- "having a say" means you can make proposals for how we spend the collective money, and share your advice on other people's proposals
- note: if you have contributed money, you should have access to the private #contributors channel on Discord - reach out to one of the admins if this is not the case
- final decisions are made by the administrators of the two Open Collective pages
- in Europe: Ulrich Schur, Michal Korzonek, Richard Bartlett
- in the US: Alex Rodríguez, Drew Horbein, Richard Bartlett
- anyone can become an OC admin, by the approval of the existing admins
- for the time being, Richard Bartlett holds veto power, as a backstop in case of emergencies (e.g. irreconcilable conflict)
- we'll review this once or twice a year to ensure the system evolves to match the needs of the network
This is a rather rough first sketch, if you have opinions about how it could be done differently, or you want to get involved, if you have fundraising ideas or grants we can apply for, please join us on Discord and help to shape the Microsolidarity commons!
In future, you will see all income and expenses automatically documented transparently on the Open Collective pages.
For transparency, we share the financial performance of the 6 paid events that we ran through The Hum between May 2020 and Oct 2022:
Fees & Taxes
Note the amazingly generous contribution of $5000 for the Denver gathering from an anonymous donor who wanted to make the event more accessible to people with low income. 🥰
Venue & Catering
Staff Transit & Accom
Fees & Taxes
Belgium, May 2022
Denver, Oct 2022
Note: the "surplus" is calculated before any payments are made to staff.
Jocelyn Ames has facilitated the Monthly Member Calls in July, August, September and October 2022. She has been paid €100/month from The Hum for the first two, and will be paid for subsequent events from the Open Collective funds.