- To increase engagement among the global community
One of the Leagues’ biggest challenges is to manage the members’ diverging levels of involvement such as how active members are on Slack or Skype calls. As in many communities, the League members have very different levels of involvement. It’s been a challenge for them to get people on to Slack and Skype calls regularly. Cobudget makes project contribution immediately actionable for members.
- To distribute decision-making around members
With Cobudget, the League’s members have open and transparent access to the financials of the community and can choose to weigh in on budget priorities and decisions.
- To practice what we preach
The League’s values focus on transparency, co-ownership, and distributed decision-making. Cobudget is a tool that allows us to embody these values in day-to-day budget planning activities.
After using Cobudget for a first collaborative funding round, the community saw much higher rates of engagement. 90% percent actively participated by either pitching projects, commenting on ideas, or distributing funds. The group funded 12 projects, many of which were events for the local chapters.
Member Maggie de Pree shared: “Combining a clear ask with real money was very powerful. And it helped to have such a simple tool, that makes it easy to give everyone a voice while being able to benefit directly as well. Bringing money to the table made things very concrete.”
Member Florencia Estrade shared: “Designing the setup and roles for this round was quite a hard exercise for us (…) We had never thought about how people’s roles could translate into decision-making power at such a micro level. When we were finished designing the model and looked at who would have how much voting power in this scenario, it was a weird feeling to see that the system we had designed would dilute our power as leaders. It really helped raise important questions about our governance that needed to be clarified.”
The League network consists of a number of different roles, such as stewards (League advisors), local catalysts (who represent local communities), global catalysts (who support and facilitate the global community), and learning partners (people who collaborate on projects with the League). To reflect this in the setup of their Cobudget round, Maggie and Florencia attempted to design an allocation system that reflected these different roles and their corresponding responsibilities. This meant that a person fulfilling more than one of these roles at once received more voting power than someone playing only one role.
“Making good decisions as a group is a muscle that needs to be trained, and it requires time and patience.” Francesca Pick
- For collective decision-making and co-ownership to become culturally accepted within an organization or group, a high level of trust must be cultivated first. Provide the space in your community for open conversations about your organisational culture and what conditions allow for new practices such as co-budgeting, to be adopted.
- Start with a small, low-risk budget or project to test how collaborative financial planning would work. If you start small, potential failure seems a lot less scary to participating members.
- Focus on budgets that contribute to community wellbeing or training programs that directly improve the community’s experience and that most members would support pooling money for.
- Agree as a group on the criteria for selecting projects to fund. Having strategic conversations about where to funnel resources instills a certain mindfulness and collaborative spirit in the group from the beginning.