New models for nonprofit engagement
For those of you who have never worked in the nonprofit sector, let me give you a quick summary of why Amoration
came into being:
For over a year I traveled the country, exploring community building models and alternatives to the current economic structures that were eroding the foundations around me. Sitting on the playa in Black Rock City I sensed that harnessing the power of the gift economy could radically shift the way we approach relationships on a global scale (for more see Larry Harvey's Viva Las XMas
speech, particularly on building social capital through gifting).
Taking those lessons back to my experiences in nonprofit organizations around the world, I quickly addressed what does not work
in most international aid efforts:Government aid
is largely ineffectual, serving corporate multinationals and eaten up with bureaucracy. Ask most USAID workers if you want a firsthand account of how much direct work they are able to accomplish even with billions in spending.Religious organizations
run the gamut from the deeply compassionate to effective to terribly corrupt. It is wise to find out where every organization spends their money and be aware of how much of programming costs goes to proselytizing vs. care and aid. In my missionary experience much emphasis was put on the "souls" saved, with somewhat less focus on finding ways to meet the needs of these communities long term.Independent NGO's
also vary widely in efficacy and there is considerably less interest in funding international NGO work in the states than just a few years ago. While populations in need continue to grow our hearts shrink with weariness and apathy when faced with such dire straits. Ours is not a poverty of resources, but a poverty of knowledge and compassion.
So why Amoration, and what are we doing to change this?
When I sat down 18 months ago and started to envision Amoration, the original name was Open the Circle (or the One Open Foundation). My belief was that this network would start with the openness of each heart connecting to another, creating an international web of resource-sharing and collaboration. I sensed that it was only by directly engaging people in the world of global bridgebuilding
that we could create effective models of partnership for the future.
Alex Steffen of worldchanging
has been an incredible ally as we shape this new model of community building. A segment of his article on advocacy networks and the future of the international nonprofit sector is posted here: ( Collapse )
If you've made it this far, then you're beginning to understand what we're building here: A PARTNERSHIP model of networking that directly engages all participants. Those of you who have attended Burning Man in the past understand the basic structure of a gift economy and participation as vital for community vibrancy, and perhaps you have a glimpse at how we can use these tools to radically change society and human connection.
We are now at a critical crossroads with Amoration and with the future of nonprofit work around the world. We are partnering with other groups and networks working in the same vein and we are looking for visionary leaders from every background who want to invest their time and talent in this endeavor. This is our opportunity to reshape our globe, one connection at a time. There has never been a more exciting time to be alive on this planet, and the possibilities are only as limited as our own imaginations.
It starts with you and your willingness to love beyond borders, without limits. It starts with every connection you make every moment of your life, in what you buy and do not buy, in how you smile to your neighbors, in how we discuss our future together. There are institutions that will eat us whole if we let them, but there is also hope in the millions of people gathering together to collaborate and connect. Creating a culture of conscious compassion is the mission of Amoration, but it is also a mission that each of us take on every minute of every day. Tell us how you're making this happen and share your success stories, media and networks with us as we build this brave new world together.