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Thinking

Open grant applications

Previously, on this blog:

  • Research into the democracy ‘sector’ suggests that some efforts could be made to improve networking in the space (and that this is an excellent way to support the pursuit of a better democracy);
  • I wrote up some ways to do that… but it rather depends how much money is available;
  • The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (JRRT) put out a call for proposals to do some of this work.

On Monday, myself and a team of partners put in a bid to answer that call for proposals. Our approach has been to attempt to live the values of the thing we think should exist in future: including working together (hence five different organisations/individuals coming together on the bid) and in regards to openness: we shared a summary of our bid doc for feedback (thanks everyone who made suggestions!) — and now, here’s the actual full bid doc. (The only thing I’ve removed is the list of endorsements, because we didn’t tell endorsers that they’d be public.)

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Thinking

Root causes and other stories

Last year, I published the results of a range of interviews across the democracy sector. It was only a small project, so I wasn’t able to speak to everyone I had hoped to.

Happily, Nesta funded an ‘expansion pack’ of interviews, and some more insight from these chats is below. I hope it’s of use to anyone thinking about ways to support the sector, and thus, a better democracy.

I spoke to 16 new people over the last couple of months. Given the typical size of organisations in the sector, these were mainly CEOs. Most people were working on democracy as their core mission, but for some it was one of many themes that their organisation worked on. The interviewees were a diverse group across genders, ages, locations and ethnicities. They included people working for non-profits, charities and for-profits — and people no longer working on democracy.

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Thinking

Sketches for a democracy network hub

Previously, on worrying-about-democracy:

  • Our democracy needs some work;
  • Perhaps the cheapest and quickest first step is to better connect everyone who’s already working on democracy, share info, coordinate and collaborate;
  • That seems to be popular — there are lots of ideas for how this could work and what people would want from such a network; and,
  • The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust are up for funding some of the effort needed to make this happen.

So what does that effort look like?

I’ve made a to-do list, based on the Networking for Democracy report and from further chats across the space over the last six months.

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Thinking

Donations for global public health in a pandemic year

Since 2014, I’ve donated one-tenth of my salary/income to end poverty. I do so alongside thousands of other folks, having pledged to via Giving What We Can.

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Thinking

Next steps on networking for democracy

Over the summer, I researched and wrote Networking for Democracy, funded by JRRT. It looked at the needs, capacity, tools and approaches for the democracy sector to better share information, to coordinate and collaborate. This post is about what happened next.

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Thinking

Networking for democracy

Update: Here’s the latest on this project. The original post follows.

I’ve spent the last couple of months interviewing folks in the UK’s democracy sector — in order to learn about how better networking might help boost our efforts to improve democracy. (The work was previewed in this post.)

I’ve now finished writing up the report.

Here is the full report as a Google Document. This is best for reading on a phone.

Here are two other formats:

Or read on for the summary and list of recommendations.

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Thinking

A democracy sector network? A needs, tools and capacity review

Previously, on this blog…

The other thing I’d want to see if I was a funder — and as someone in the sector — is that we’re working together, sharing knowledge and ideas, or at least avoiding repeating the same thing or competing for limited media attention. That’s where better networking comes in.

Me, earlier

There’s not much collaboration across democracy-related fields, despite some enthusiasm for it. My guess is that this is due to a lack of capacity among such organisations: no single organisation can volunteer the resources to run a central hub or a coordination role to support a network.

Before diving in to try to create something new, I’ve wanted to do a bit more research into the problems faced by the sector. Happily, the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (JRRT) have awarded me a small grant to look into this further.