Martin Farrell

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Civil Society Give It Forward Today

Give it forward, with generosity ... receive with gratitude ... give it ...

This is work in progress: see 'last updated' and 'emerging themes and ideas' at the bottom of this page. [Square brackets are drafting comments]

Imagine a day when we give and receive with gratitude and generosity, and when money has its place alongside other ways of organising exchange between people.

As more are willing to give, more people will be open to receive. Those who receive, feel gratitude and are more willing to give forward. Fuelled by gratitude, the spirit of generosity spirals throughout civil society. Giving is, indeed, 'twice blessed'

There are already many rich offerings of alternative community currencies and timebanking and alongside these the intention of the currently named CS GIFT is to inspire and celebrate generosity and gratitude.

To be sustainable and safe, the twin powers of generosity and gratitude need a set of rules and principles so that everyone knows that what happens is both fair and equitable. Rules and principle to contain but not constrain.

This is how it can work. There will be many who are willing to start the virtuous spiral. Someone wants to give, just because they have a talent in them that they would love to be asked to give. I am (some)one who wants to give to civil society and I use myself here as an example of how CS GIFT works.

The GIFTs I would love to be asked to give are facilitation and / or coaching.

  1. You want someone to facilitate a meeting, conference or other gathering. Or maybe you want one, two or a series of coaching sessions for yourself or someone in your organisation.
  2. Call or mail telling me what you need and we discuss, with no obligation, what service I can offer you.
  3. When we've agreed what I’ll do and how many hours or days we anticipate will be needed, I'll confirm that gift of time in writing, as I would if you were a client paying money.
  4. When I have delivered the facilitation or coaching service we will speak or exchange mails to confirm you have have received the gift as promised. [Maybe we could call this 'Wrapping Up The GIFT'?] [Maybe I'll send a 'CSGIFT voucher' as a symbol of what I have given and you have received]
  5. Maybe you feel some gratitude. You consider how generous you'd like to be and, considering the talents you have within you, decide what you would love to be asked to give and how much time you would like to gift forward to someone else. The more gratitude you feel, the more you give.
  6. In due course, you record how and to whom you made your gift so we can celebrate your civil society gift and see how CS GIFTing is growing.

CS GIFT is part of u.lab 2x which is 'An Accelerator for Systems Transformation' incubator programme offered by the Presenting Institute. 'Building transformation literacy - that is, the capacity to transform the status quo - at all levels of scale may well be the number one leadership challenge of our time.'

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Basic FAQs about how it works

I don’t think I or others in my organisation have any skills to give
You have. You really have. Think about it. Talk to friends, colleagues, talk to me. You definitely have.
Can I make a gift of time to anyone?
The intention of CivilSocietyGift is to make UK and international civil society stronger – always a good thing but even more so now that there is lots of need and not much money. To do this I ask you make your gift to people or organisation/s which are building a civil society - which is a decent, fair and sustainable way of living in which we all live together well.
How do we know how much time will be needed for the gift I receive for example if I want the facilitation or coaching you give?
If I was providing a service for you for money we would discuss and agree a price; with this we’ll do the same to agree the value of my gift simply measured in time.
Do I have to give forward the same amount of time as I received from you?
No. This is about generosity and gratitude. You may like to see the time you have received as a benchmark, but how generous you want to be is your choice according to your sense of gratitude. That's for you to know.
Over what period do I have to give time forward?
You decide. For example, it may be 3, 6 or 12 months. It's up to you when and how to express your gratitude

Slightly more complicated FAQs about how it works

What about the time I have already given as a volunteer? Does that count?
Our intention is to make civil society even stronger than it is already. So the gift you make will be something new, something you had not already done when you received the CS GIFT .
If I make the agreement for your gift in my capacity for example as CEO or Chair, is it a personal obligation or an obligation for my organisation?
In the same way as you would commission a service and commit your organisation’s money, you may want to check that you have the agreement of colleagues to receive this CS GIFT. It may be that you and some of your colleagues feel gratitude for the gift you have received so you and also they may want to gift it forward. That would help spiral generosity throughout civl society.
Can someone else give my time for me?
Yes they could. However the gratitude you feel is for you to gift forward, bu tit could be through them.

More FAQs about gifting my time forward

What about the person I give my time to? Do they have to agree to pay time forward too?
They don't have to. But they may feel gratitude and want to. Talk to them about the CS GIFT intention of strengthening civil society by spiralling generosity and gratitude.
What if I forget how much time I've given? Does that matter?
This isn't a fixed contract to give forward. Its for you to sense your gratitude and to know you have gifted enough time forward.
What if I don’t gift it forward not today or ever?
It is up to you decide what feels right. Think about gratitude The time will come one day.

FAQs about CS GIFT getting bigger

Is this only you doing this or are there others involved? Who's the 'we' in these FAQs?
This is part of u lab 2x incubator programme. The core team, currently Martin Simon, Hayley Watts and Martin Farrell, is guiding the prototype and an extended team is coming together.
Is this just for the UK?
It’s for the UK and also for civil society worldwide. Generosity and gratitude are universal and an hour is the same everywhere.
Could Civil Society GIFT get big?
Maybe. We don’t know yet. It´s new. The future depends on how much interest there is.

Some emerging themes and ideas

  • How do we understand the essence of giving? Love gives with no expectation of return; but I/we often find ourselves wanting something in return, for ourselves or for those close to us. 'Immature love says "I love you because I need you". Mature love says "I need you because I love you" ' Erich Fromm 'When love is gone, there's always justice. And when justice is gone, there's always force ..' Laurie Anderson.
  • Is this for 'civil society' (understood to be those who actively seek to build a way of living which is decent and sustainable for all) or will it be open for all, inviting the best of everyone. What better name its there than CS GIFT?
  • If we are see the potential for all human beings to give, where do we start? It can't be everywhere; it needs to be somewhere - a 'land',. a community to start with and from which to grow. Which, where?
  • For this to have some form there needs to be a container, like water needing a glass so we can drink. But what container could we create which does not constrain?

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Page last modified: 01 Feb 2021 19:58:05