Many of you will be aware that in addition to my work here on Cruxcatalyst, I’m also a co-founder of the Post Growth Institute, a catalyst for exploring and inspiring paths to creating global prosperity and wellbeing without needing economic growth to make it happen.
I’m excited to share that, as part of my work with Post Growth, we’ve just launched a crowdfunding campaign to support development of a world-changing book we’re writing about an economics beyond growth.
I decided to share this on Cruxcatalyst firstly to let those following my blog know more about my involvement in this space and the ideas we’re working with, but also because aside from its campaign purpose, it is a live example of sustainability communication – how the pitch text and video have been crafted, the key messages and how the information is being disseminated.
Notice how both the pitch video and text uses an assets approach up front – what could be (desired state), what is already working. This is particularly important in sustainability communications, where people have been typically exposed to problems-based approaches or those that invoke guilt or fear.
What on Earth is this project?
How on Earth? Flourishing in a Not-for-Profit World by 2050 will be the world’s first book to explore the prospect of not-for-profit enterprise becoming the central model of local, national and international business, by 2050.
Watch the 2 minute pitch video below to get an overview.
If you are able to contribute to this campaign, it would be so much appreciated by me – the funding will support two of my Post Growth colleagues to do the writing. As little as $25 will get you an electronic copy of the book.
Sharing this with your networks would also be a huge help to this team of volunteers who’ve worked hard at building a track record in this area since 2010.
You can find out more, and become a backer for this project, here: http://bit.ly/how-on-earth.
An excerpt from the Indiegogo campaign pitch page is reproduced below. The campaign runs until 27 June.
Why on Earth are we doing this?
Imagine waking up in a world where you feel good about going to work, no matter the nature of your job. You feel positive and motivated, knowing that your work provides you with a livelihood that also contributes to the wellbeing of others in a way that respects the ecological limits of a finite planet.
How on Earth could that be possible?
Welcome to a not-for-profit world, where businesses can still make profits, but any profits are always reinvested for social or organizational benefit, rather than being accumulated privately by individuals.
This world emerged because, around 2013, a large number of people came to the realization that any economic system that centralizes wealth and power is, ultimately, socially and ecologically unsustainable.
People were fed up with excessive executive salaries, a financial sector divorced from the real world, corporations with more say than people, endless spin from politicians and entrepreneurs about the latest technological ‘solution’, and the trappings of mindless consumption.
After the Occupy movement subsided, protesters even started to question whether being fed up was worthwhile.
Then a real alternative emerged. A not-for-profit economy changed the game by decentralizing wealth and power, while maintaining incentives for innovation and increasing people’s desire for meaningful work.
This scenario of a not-for-profit world is closer to the present reality than you might think. Across numerous countries, the economic contribution of the not-for-profit sector has been on the rise since the late 1990s.
In Canada, for example, not-for-profit institutions now contribute 8% of the country’s gross domestic product. This is possible because not-for-profit does not mean ‘no-profit’ or ‘can’t make a profit’. Not-for-profit actually means not for private profit or not for the primary purpose of making a profit. Not-for-profits can make as much or as little money as they want, they just cannot provide payouts to private individuals from any surplus.
Many not-for-profits now understand that generating their own income allows them to fund the good work they do (as opposed to the traditional approach that depends on grants and philanthropy).
Take, for example, BRAC the world’s biggest not-for-profit organization. Since 1972, BRAC has supported over 100 million people through its social development services, but almost 80% of its revenue comes from its own commercial enterprises, including a large-scale dairy and a retail chain of handicraft stores, all of which are run according to a holistic vision of sustainable business.
More importantly, not-for-profit enterprises could regularly out-compete equivalent ‘for-profit’ businesses in the near future, based on a combination of factors, such as:
- not-for-profit enterprises better utilizing the benefits of the communications revolution on reduced organizational costs;
- an increasing awareness of the tax concessions and free support available solely for not-for-profits;
- the trend in consumer markets toward supporting ethical businesses and products;
- the ability of not-for-profit enterprises to survive and even thrive during years of downturn, given that their sustainability does not rely on making profits, and that profit margins will continue to get smaller as resource constraints impact business costs.
How on Earth are we making this happen?
For a sneak preview of how this book will accelerate the explosive idea of a not-for-profit economy to a point where it becomes unstoppable, see this talk by the book’s lead author, Dr Donnie Maclurcan, at the Environmental Professionals Forum.
To date we’ve penned 20% of the book’s ideas, and plan to publish the final manuscript by December 2013. Chapter titles include:
1. The Power of ‘Not-for-Profit’
2. The Smart Shift to Not-for-Profit
3. Not-for-Profit 2.0: From Charity to Enterprise in a Digital Era
4. A Not-for-Profit Eco-nomics
5. Prosperity Beyond Growth is Common Cents
6. How on Earth: Accelerating the Trend to a Not-For-Profit World
The ideas behind the book have already influenced the creation of new businesses, such as Joostice, and other businesses continue to report that they have been inspired to shift from a ‘for-profit’ to a ‘not-for-profit’ structure.
Our team is working hard to crunch data, getting out and about to workshop the ideas, and researching all we can find in associated books and journals. We are looking at work like Tim Jackson’s writing on prosperity without growth, Peter Victor’s modeling of a zero-growth economy in Canada, the foundational thinking of Herman Daly and others on ecological economics, Roo Rogers and Rachel Botsman’s insights on the rise of collaborative consumption, Michel Bauwen’s theories on peer-to-peer production, Marcin Jakubowski’s work in open source community manufacturing, Dan Pink’s observations on purpose-based motivation, Gar Alperovitz’s commentary on co-operatives, Michael Shuman’s research on community economies, and Jenny Cameron and Katherine Gibson’s writing on asset-based approaches to economics.
With enough funds, we also plan to launch a supportive web platform for the book (www.howonearth.us) that will provide information on how to start, scale and sustain not-for-profit enterprises in countries around the world, as well as showcasing businesses that are making the shift to a not-for-profit structure.
How on Earth can you help?
We need your help to bring this pioneering idea to the world. There are three ways you can show your support and get involved:
1. Contribute financially
Please see http://bit.ly/how-on-earth for the pledge levels, and the perks (rewards) for each.
2. Share the campaign with others
Please share this campaign as widely as possible. There are share tools under the video at the top of the Indiegogo page which make this easy, or you can use the following examples:
Twitter: Crowdfunding campaign seeks to outline an economics beyond growth: bit.ly/how-on-earth#postgrowth pls RT
Facebook: Check out the Post Growth Institute’s campaign to outline a not-for-profit economics beyond growth: http://bit.ly/how-on-earth
3. Share your expertise
We welcome any offers of help with this project. What’s your passion? Research? Promotions? Publishing or web development? Find out more about how you can get involved here.
Who on Earth are we?
The Post Growth Institute is an international group with volunteer co-directors in Australia, Canada, Greece and the United States. Our team has extensive experience spanning economics, banking, international aid, community development, engineering and sustainability. Two of us have already produced three books with commercial publishers, including the award winning Green Washed: Why We Can’t Buy Our Way to a Green Planet.
Collaborating via typed Skype meetings since 2010, our projects include:
– Free Money Day: An annual global event where people hand out their own money to strangers, asking people to pass half on, in order to inspire economies based on sharing;
– The (En)Rich List: A parody of the Forbes Rich list, showcasing 100 inspirational people who have made enriching contributions to truly sustainable futures; and
– The Post Growth Challenge: A competition offering $100, consultancy and promotional support for the best world(view) changing idea for deep sustainability.
Our work makes a real difference. Free Money Day has so far touched the lives of people in 200 locations and 31 countries worldwide, including Nigeria, Thailand, Argentina, Russia and New Zealand. The (En)Rich List earned us the Best Non-profit Business award from Treehugger, and the Post Growth Challenge launched the exciting, distributed manufacturing initiative Helioforge.
On a self-funded, shoestring budget we’ve managed to get substantial international coverage for our work, including articles in the Huffington Post, Treehugger, and Fast Company as well as the personal support of Stephen Fry, Noam Chomsky and Vicki Robin.
Now we need your support to take things to the next level!
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