Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Funding for Communities of Practice

Recent question to Dinesh,

Thanks for the insights about joint funding. What about the community of practice members donating money to fund their own endeavor?

Or, what about the members creating a parallel funding organization?

Farida's Comments

I am sure Dinesh will reply to this question, so thanks Dinesh. Just a couple of comments from me.

Members donating money to fund their own endeavor would surely in my opinion be a community with a cause so passionate that members would be willing to put money into it themselves. In that case I would think it shameful for an organization that does not recognize that passion and provide for the community.
On the bureaucratic front however I am not sure how that would work. Especially if the community is related to your job and you get paid to do your job and you in essence almost paid the company back to be part of a community? That would somehow not work out in a large organization especially with the finance side.
We have seen many instances where members put in their time and effort at no extra cost to the organization. They meet with their communities for dinner and pay themselves and spend the evening with co-workers. That could be considered funding a community in a way but when it comes to needing actual dollars to do something, a specific project I don't see how the "membership funding" would work.

A parallel funding organization would hold all the same opportunities and barriers as Dinesh has described. We come back again to the fundamental point of funding=ownership. Whoever that parallel organization is, would want some ownership in the outcome of the community. If that is mutually acceptable by the community, the funding organization, and the host organization then its possible to make such a model work. Again that follows the same scenarios as Dinesh has described.