Thanks to incredible generosity and support, we made our goal!
If you've only just discovered this project and would like to contribute and/or grab a copy of the book, please visit:
and/or contact us via: firstname.lastname@example.org
We're happy to honour any of the listed 'perks'.
What on Earth is this project?
At the Post Growth Institute, we are writing a book: How on Earth? Flourishing in a Not-for-Profit World by 2050. This will be the world’s first book to explore the prospect of not-for-profit enterprise becoming the central model of local, national and international business, by 2050. It will also outline practical steps that you, as a member of the public, can take to fast-track this evolution to a sustainable economy.
Why on Earth are we doing this?
Imagine waking up in a world where you feel good about going to work, no matter the nature of your job. You feel positive and motivated, knowing that your work provides you with a livelihood that also contributes to the wellbeing of others in a way that respects the ecological limits of a finite planet.
How on Earth could that be possible?
Welcome to a not-for-profit world, where businesses can still make profits, but any profits are always reinvested for social or organizational benefit, rather than being accumulated privately by individuals. This world emerged because, around 2013, a large number of people came to the realization that any economic system that centralizes wealth and power is, ultimately, socially and ecologically unsustainable. People were fed up with excessive executive salaries, a financial sector divorced from the real world, corporations with more say than people, endless spin from politicians and entrepreneurs about the latest technological ‘solution’, and the trappings of mindless consumption.
As the mainstream attention on the Occupy movement faded, protesters even started to question whether being fed up was worthwhile.
Then a real alternative emerged. A not-for-profit economy changed the game by decentralizing wealth and power, while maintaining incentives for innovation and increasing people’s desire for meaningful work.
This scenario of a not-for-profit world is closer to the present reality than you might think. Across numerous countries, the economic contribution of the not-for-profit sector has been on the rise since the late 1990s. In Canada, for example, not-for-profit institutions now contribute 8% of the country’s gross domestic product. This is possible because not-for-profit does not mean ‘no-profit’ or ‘can’t make a profit’. Not-for-profit actually means not for private profit or not for the primary purpose of making a profit. Not-for-profits can make as much or as little money as they want, they just cannot provide payouts to private individuals from any surplus.
Many not-for-profits now understand that generating their own income allows them to fund the good work they do (as opposed to the traditional approach that depends on grants and philanthropy). Take, for example, BRAC the world’s biggest not-for-profit organization. Since 1972, BRAC has supported over 100 million people through its social development services, but almost 80% of its revenue comes from its own commercial enterprises, including a large-scale dairy and a retail chain of handicraft stores, all of which are run according to a holistic vision of sustainable business.
More importantly, not-for-profit enterprises could regularly out-compete equivalent ‘for-profit’ businesses in the near future, based on a combination of factors, such as:
- not-for-profit enterprises better utilizing the benefits of the communications revolution on reduced organizational costs;
- an increasing awareness of the tax concessions and free support available solely for not-for-profits;
- the trend in consumer markets toward supporting ethical businesses and products;
- the ability of not-for-profit enterprises to survive and even thrive during years of downturn, given that their sustainability does not rely on making profits, and that profit margins will continue to get smaller as resource constraints impact business costs.
How on Earth are we making this happen?
For a sneak preview of how this book will accelerate the explosive idea of a not-for-profit economy to a point where it becomes unstoppable, see this talk by the book’s lead author, Dr Donnie Maclurcan, at the Environmental Professionals Forum. To date we’ve penned 20% of the book’s ideas, and plan to publish the final manuscript by December 2013. Chapter titles include:
1. Possibility: The Power of Not-for-Profit Enterprise
2. Inevitability: Why Not-for-Profit Enterprises Will Most Likely Drive the Future
3. Necessity: Embracing a Not-for-Profit World is Our Only Real Hope
4. Viability: How a Not-for-Profit Macro-economy can Work for Us All
5. Capability: How, Together, We Can Evolve a Not-for-Profit World by 2050
The ideas behind the book have already influenced the creation of new businesses, such as Joostice, and other businesses continue to report that they have been inspired to shift from a ‘for-profit’ to a ‘not-for-profit’ structure.
Our team is working hard to crunch data, getting out and about to workshop the ideas, and researching all we can find in associated books and journals. We are looking at work like Tim Jackson’s writing on prosperity without growth, Peter Victor’s modeling of a zero-growth economy in Canada, the foundational thinking of Herman Daly and others on ecological economics, Roo Rogers and Rachel Botsman’s insights on the rise of collaborative consumption, Michel Bauwen’s theories on peer-to-peer production, Marcin Jakubowski’s work in open source community manufacturing, Dan Pink’s observations on purpose-based motivation, Gar Alperovitz’s commentary on co-operatives, Michael Shuman’s research on community economies, and Jenny Cameron and Katherine Gibson’s writing on asset-based approaches to economics.
With enough funds, we also plan to launch a supportive web platform for the book (www.howonearth.us) that will provide information on how to start, scale and sustain not-for-profit enterprises in countries around the world, as well as showcasing businesses that are making the shift to a not-for-profit structure.
How on Earth can you help?
We need your help to bring this pioneering idea to the world. There are three ways you can show your support and get involved:
1. Contribute financially
$10 – We’ll tweet a personal thanks and acknowledge you as a contributor at www.howonearth.us
$25 –The above + an early-bird digital copy of the book (1 week before official launch)
$50 – All of the above + a copy of the printed book + your name listed in the back of both the e-book and printed book
$100 - All of the above + your book signed by the lead author + a ‘shoutout’ to our Facebook platform of 10,000, for your favourite ‘post growth’ sustainability initiative or organisation
$250 - All of the above + signed copies of the book sent, on your behalf, to three people you nominate (including politicians/business leaders)
$500 - All of the above + a 1hr consultation with lead author Dr Donnie Maclurcan who has worked with over 200 groups seeking to start, scale or sustain not-for-profits
$5000 - All of the above + virtual Skype ‘dinner’ with all the authors + eternal gratitude
The Post Growth Institute intends to soon incorporate as a 501(c)(3) organization in the U.S. We may then be able to offer retrospective tax deductions for U.S. crowdfunding supporters of this campaign.
2. Share the campaign with others
Please share this campaign as widely as possible. The Indiegogo share tools under the video at the top of this page make this nice and easy.
Twitter: Crowdfunding campaign seeks to outline an economics beyond growth: bit.ly/how-on-earth #postgrowth Pls RT
Facebook: Check out the Post Growth Institute’s campaign to outline a not-for-profit economics beyond growth: bit.ly/how-on-earth
3. Share your expertise
We welcome any offers of help with this project. What’s your passion? Research? Promotions? Publishing or web development? Click here to find out more about how you can get involved.
How on Earth will we spend $20,000?
Up to our initial $20,000 target, funds will be allocated as follows:
- 70% to two co-authors (Donnie Maclurcan and Jen Hinton) to write the book, part-time
- 11% to marketing
- 6% printing/distribution
- 5% to web development and hosting
- 5% to graphic design
- 3% to an emergency fund
Anything raised over $20,000 allows us to consider:
- The co-authors working on the book, full-time
- Development of high-quality infographics
- The development of a fully functional web platform to advance the ideas
- An increased marketing budget (e.g. upgrading to Mailchimp premium)
- A widespread speaking tour
Who on Earth are we?
The Post Growth Institute is an international group with volunteer co-directors in Australia, Canada, Greece and the United States. Our team has extensive experience spanning economics, banking, international aid, community development, engineering and sustainability. Two of us have already produced three books with commercial publishers, including the award winning Green Washed: Why We Can’t Buy Our Way to a Green Planet.
Collaborating via typed Skype meetings since 2010, our projects include:
- Free Money Day: An annual global event where people hand out their own money to strangers, asking people to pass half on, in order to inspire economies based on sharing;
- The (En)Rich List: A parody of the Forbes Rich list, showcasing 100 inspirational people who have made enriching contributions to truly sustainable futures; and
- The Post Growth Challenge: A competition offering $100, consultancy and promotional support for the best world(view) changing idea for deep sustainability.
Our work makes a real difference. Free Money Day has so far touched the lives of people in 200 locations and 31 countries worldwide, including Nigeria, Thailand, Argentina, Russia and New Zealand. The (En)Rich List earned us the Best Non-profit Business award from Treehugger, and the Post Growth Challenge launched the exciting, distributed manufacturing initiative Helioforge.
On a self-funded, shoestring budget we’ve managed to get substantial international coverage for our work, including articles in the Huffington Post, Treehugger, and Fast Company as well as the personal support of Stephen Fry, Noam Chomsky and Vicki Robin.
Now we need your support to take things to the next level!
Thank you for your support and we look forward to hearing from you.
Please note that we anticipate publishing "How on Earth" in the autumn of 2014. Thank you for your support and patience in joining us on this journey to a better future!