Vancouver's Leader in Transition toward Strong, Resilient, Complete Communities
Calling on all members of this group to contribute your creativity and ideas to the important task of coming up with effective, easy to grasp formulations about community currency, how it works and how it benefits the various stakeholders. This is one of the essential first steps in our effort to get community currencies started here in Vancouver, beginning with our pilot project in Dunbar.
If you are still a bit fuzzy on the whole community currency idea itself, want to learn more about the Community Way model that we are planning to adopt, or are simply looking for inspiration, please see the discussion on the Local Economy Network page entitled "The Community Way model of community currency" where you will find links to useful websites and presentations.
Our communication strategy must be multi-pronged, geared to different audiences with different interests and different degrees of willingness to engage in a novel idea.
We need clear, simple formulations of how community currency (in particular the Community Way variety) can benefit:
-Participating local businesses
-Non-profit associations and charities
-Residents by virtue of being community members, consumers and supporters of non-profits
We need slogans, which have always been an effective tool in promoting community currency (as well as just about anything else you can think of). One example is Community Way's main current slogan: "Doing well by doing good". In the 1930s, "stamp scrip"-style local currencies spread rapidly under the slogan "Stamp out the Depression!". It would be great if we could come up with additional, powerful slogans such as these to support our initiative.
We need easy-to-understand formulations of how the Community Way model works. These should cover the essentials without getting overly technical or detailed. For those interested in learning more, we will be making a website (and ourselves!) available for more in-depth reading and discussions.
Pictures are worth a thousand words! The promotional materials we create should be appealing and engaging, with lots of imagery to communicate simply what words often tend to complicate. If you have any talent at all for images and diagrams, your contributions are invaluable! Please attach any ideas for images to this discussion. Even if you are not particularly talented at producing the final images but have ideas of what effective imagery would look like, please post those ideas!
If I have learned one thing over the past few months, it is that Village Vancouver has an incredible membership base consisting of talented, creative and passionate individuals. If we put our heads together, I am convinced that we can come up with something fantastic!
Time is of the essence! We should aim to have a good set of material ready to go to print by the end of January, so please contribute your ideas as soon as possible.
I viewed this video last night of a talk by Charles Eisenstein to the Sante Fe time bank. I must confess that I have had some skepticism about "alternative currencies" until seeing Charles's explanation that it isn't just another kind of money but is a "gateway" to a gift economy.
Thanks for posting the link, and I will definitely check this video out the first chance I get!
You are absolutely right that community currency isn't just another kind of money. There is some almost intangible quality to it that seems to be able to enable different types of transactions than traditional money, and indeed brings us closer to a sort of gift economy characterised by the abundance that can be unlocked by enabling each and every one of us to contribute the best of what we can offer.
Last Thursday Cabot and I met with Michael Linton and his fellow Comox Community Wayers Pieter Vorster and Caila Holbrook, and this idea that community currency enables very different types of transactions came up a lot during that meeting. As Michael said, he had never before been able to purchase art with traditional money, but has with Community Way Dollars. Same thing for contributions to a political party. Pieter spoke of how he has become a "patron of the arts" by using CW$ to pay a local, underemployed DJ to create custom mixes for him, something that just doesn't tend to happen in the traditional monetary economy, even though it theoretically can. And Community Way has unleashed the generosity of a community because it makes it easier and less risky than ever before to be generous. Why? To quote Michael, "when you donate Canadian Dollars, you know it isn't coming back". Community currency, on the other hand, will return again and again because it has nowhere else to go. More CC in circulation equals an equivalent increase in demand for the local goods and services that it can purchase.
On the slogan front, I've been turning over a couple of ideas in my head recently, with a few variants possible:
Community Way: Made where it's paid OR Paid where it's made
Community Way: Money that stays where it pays
Community Way: Pays local, stays local
Actually, at our last meeting we discussed the idea of approaching some local accountants and/or bankers to explain Community Way, hopefully putting their minds at ease and, if we're lucky, obtaining their endorsement or at least acceptance as well. That way, when business owners hesitate because they think their accountant might have issues, we can cite the accountants with whom we have already spoken.