No Angels – the importance of mimicability

When i started doing my organizer hired gun thing in eastern Europe with small anti-nuclear organizations, the first conversation always went the same.

“What do you need to be more successful in your campaign?” i would dutifully ask

We need more money!” They would invariably reply.*

It was a funny time to be supporting political movements in the east.  Nearly all of the western governments and many western foundations were supportive of at least some of the ecological work that these activist groups were doing.  At the same time, their national governments were very financially unsupportive, taking a more US approach that government should not support critical analysis or action toward the government.  US AID gave us money, the Dutch and British Embassies, the Swedish Acid Rain Secretariat, etc.


Including some very odd eco-tourism grants, i wrote over $1 million in successful grants while i was in eastern Europe, mostly for small anti-nuclear or clean energy groups.


Grant writing is now in my blood.

[* i should say that once we had a bit of money, most groups started asking for much more interesting things, like campaign strategy techniques and media stunts and action tools and consensus decision making.]

i wrote my first grant request today for Chubby Squirrels, to provide travel support for folks to come to the Twin Oaks Communities Conference around labor day.  It is only a few hundred dollars, but this can make a big difference.

i was asked the other day about seeking money from some of our known affluent friends.  People who might put down tens of thousands of dollars and make the first steps much easier.  I am uneasy about this approach.  Not everyone knows angel funders.  So if what we are trying to model is something that is accessible to other groups of people who are less experienced grant writers or are come from places of less privilege, then we struggle quite a bit more.  And we trundle on without angels.


Angels offer unmimicable comfort

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

2 responses to “No Angels – the importance of mimicability”

  1. angietupelo says :

    As you look to provide subsidies for ppl who want to attend the communities conference, I encourage you to consider that to be as accessible as possible to people who are non-wealthy there is more involved than just covering travel money and attendance fees. There’s also providing camping equipment, organizing rides from urban centers, and possibly offering cash subsidies to help cover the income people will “lose” by taking those days off of work. And it sounds like a super interesting project- consider us happy to be a way-station for those traveling down to the conference (there’s a cheap mega-bus from Philly to Richmond).

    • paxus says :

      Fairest Ang:

      Sure. And the project is about scrappy, there is not some big fund of money to help squirrels get where they need to go, we can come up with housing and some rides and if the project is going to succeed, members need to be able to a tremendous amount with not very much.

      Paxus at Twin Oaks
      29 Nuclear Free Japan 2012

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