Adventures in New Giving is about discovery, storytelling and community-building.

  • On the discovery side, this is a field research project. What is going on? Who are these New Givers? Why are they giving? And what can strengthen their impact?
  • This is a compelling story that deserves to be shared widely. Why are people doing this in the depths of a recession? How can we help more people follow their lead?
  • On community: Often, people are not networking beyond their particular New Giving project circles.  What we have now is an organic uprising of a self-organized giving communities and platforms for organizing crowds. How can we build a mutual aid network to help New Givers can learn, share and enhance their impact together?


Where do you plan to go?

The Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, DC, Detroit, LA, NYC, Seattle, and Tampa Bay.  Philly, Portland, Vancouver, and Miami are also on the table.  Check out this post for more detail on why I’m looking at these cities. Also, you can steer me to your city by becoming a local liaison.

Why travel? Why not just use tools like Skype?

Nothing beats face-to-face interaction.  Perhaps the most important component of the project is the community micro-summits I will be convening in each city for people who are doing the work of crowd-and-community funding.  As I’ve learned in Seattle, the people doing this work are (rightfully) very focused on their projects and not very well inter-connected to each other across those projects. And it’s all very new.  There has been precious little time or space for New Giving leaders to encounter, learn from and support one another.  When I arrive, I will be making that time and space.  I will also be working with local media to shed light on the local work, which will be much facilitated by being present.  Internet tools enable us in many ways, but relationships happen in proximity.

How will you use the budget?

It’s funny.  Some people have said “Why do you need $10k or $20K?” Others have said “Wow, you’re going to need at least $30k to make this work.”  I have provided a basic budget on the campaign site.  I intend to keep it basic and flexible, as this is a new project and I will be discovering the true costs along the way.  The biggest component is travel, and that will be a mix of planes, trains and buses (Bolt bus, I’m looking at you). I hope to find hosts to lodge me wherever I go to keep the budget lean.  I’ll acquire the best video and audio recording equipment and software allowed by the budget I raise.  And I am taking a $50/day stipend for food and to keep my bills (especially phone) current, so that I can focus 100% of my time on the project.  I will be subletting my apartment and making a number of sacrifices. And I’m getting help in kind, including a much improved web site should the project launch.

As for the value of this $10-20k (or more) project – I believe that we can inspire more people to give and to give smartly and collectively.  I believe that if we build a stronger community of New Giving leaders, that their impact will improve.  Adventures in New Giving is one little piece of building a New Economy that is fair and based on community interdependence. In other words, priceless.

If you have questions, add them in the comments below or email james.nathaniel at gmail dot com.


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