An Unusual Model
Funding an interstitial organization like Systems Thinking Marin is not currently possible via conventional channels. If you have viewed the second video in the Systems Thinking Mini-Course, “How do I know when I’m systems thinking?” you know that the systems level of work is upstream.
It’s virtually impossible to measure the impact of an upstream organization; one that is focused on helping other organizations to be more effective in their work by linking arms across organizations and sectors. Granting organizations can’t point to meals served or people housed, or even letters written and policy changed.
How do you measure effectiveness?
The only way we know if an organization like Systems Thinking Marin is working effectively in Marin County is this: are we able to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of 2030? The level of coordination and systems change that is required to meet the Global Goals is extreme, and its not going to happen with our old models of thinking.
How do your spend your funds?
When you financially support Systems Thinking Marin, a startup nonprofit, the funds support anything related to the daily functioning of the organization, including Felicia’s salary, office supplies, and administrative costs from Inquiring Systems, our fiscal sponsor.
Felicia is currently spending her time thusly:
- Promoting systems thinking via this website, in-person one-on-one conversations with individuals in Marin County, and in presentations to groups, searching for key synergies.
- Promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 as a platform through which we can better coordinate efforts across organizations and sectors, including as president of the local chapter of the United Nations Association
- Researching (online, and attending events) the most salient facts about social equity in Marin County (see this in-process list of social equity-related reports) to compile and publicize (with citations), eventually to do the same for ecological reports
- Strategizing to create a community map of nonprofits and community groups in Marin County with local community organizers
- Writing blogs about local initiatives that take a systems approach to solving a challenge
How long will the organization exist?
Systems Thinking Marin will continue to exist as long as I continue to receive feedback that systems thinking is definitely needed, and people are receptive to seeing things more holistically and optimally coordinating efforts.
Do you need help other than funding?
Yes! Especially if you are a systems thinker, either by training or inherently. Contact me if you wish to contribute to strategy or in other ways.
What might be possible if we had funding for three experienced, full-time employees paid around $60,000 per year, plus some version of office space, administrative support, project-specific consultants, and development funding? $250,000 to $300,000 annually would allow this organization to pay people somewhat reasonably, and to create the “high quality learning container” that Theory U talks about to support the development of the above bullet points.