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On Non-Profits, Cooperatives, and Fundraising

After many years of working in non-profits, dabbling in grassroots and institutional fundraising, it is safe to say that organizations are heavily reliant on major donors or foundations to keep their programs running. We reach up, seeking the perfect foundation “match” or network so we can convince someone we know with connections to make us a grant. It is a system that arose during the 1970s with the proliferation of non-profits at the same time as large wealth creation and conservative governmental control of this country.

OurGoods.org is Where Independent Projects Get Done

What is OurGoods? OurGoods is a network of artists, designers, and cultural producers who want to barter skills, spaces, and objects. OurGoods is a place where you have the agency to decide what your obects and services are worth. OutGoods is an infrastructure for mutualism.

How does it work? OurGoods facilitates the barter of skills, spaces and art objects. Organize your projects with what you have and what you need. OurGoods marches you with barter partners, tracks accountability, and helps the business of independent work. You can find collaborators, see emerging interests, or just execute your project without cash.

Seven Years of Chaos

The beginning and the ending of my project Daytoday have been marked by two major economic crises. From the end of 2001 through the beginning of 2002, Argentina suffered from the culmination of the country’s financial decadence that started in 1998. Suddenly there was no cash flow. Argentineans had to resort to all kinds of imaginative strategies to make their “day to day” possible. A strong national barter network (based on local and community nodes) sprouted. This showed the rest of the world that grassroots collaborative efforts can generate autonomous solutions that benefit and dignify an entire population.

Think Big, Act Small

We’ve managed, in the last ten years, to help build an emerging field and stuff the CAN site with more than 10,000 pages of news, critical writing, profiles, case studies, dialogues, field reports and interactivity—all on $100,000 a year. And we were even able to pay freelance writers, something that is rare in the arts and on the web. This was only possible if we left California and its ludicrously sky-high cost of living, and moved to North Carolina, where we inhabit in a cozy singlewide mobile home and a yurt on twenty-eight wild and glorious acres of woodland with wireless broadband.


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