I get asked this so many times that I thought maybe it’s time to write an article on it.
Of course, it’s an absolutely natural response for anyone to question the motives of someone like me who wants to promote a moneyless world, and then asks for money to do it. I get that. I really do. But I would ask those who pose the question to also extend that same empathy and see it from the opposite point of view.
The first defence is obvious. It is just much, much easier to spread any message today using money and advertising. We all enjoyed free viral proliferation through social media for a while, but as anyone who runs online campaigns knows, all social media today is pretty much locked down except for two things: spectacularly amazing content and sponsored posts.
Much as we would love to be able to constantly provide spectacularly amazing content, we are only human and most likely our content would still never compete with some celebrity’s wardrobe error! Though we rarely do it, the most effective way for us to reach all of our social media subscribers today is through sponsored posts. Hurts, but it’s true.
The second is not so obvious. Much of my writing focuses on the ideas of sharing and volunteerism as the means of getting things done in a money-free world. So why then try to raise money for a large project like Freeworlder when it could have been done freely by volunteers? Well, the simple answer is that most people – including volunteers – are still subject to financial pressures, and, unless they are extremely passionate about a project can only commit a small fraction of their time to non-money making projects.
This makes large scale volunteer projects inefficient at best, impossible at worst. In the case of building the Freeworlder site, we actually did enlist over twenty volunteers who were happy to help coding the application. But when it came to starting the work, they were nowhere to be found. So instead, we ran a fundraiser and the site was completed in less than five months.
We don’t live in a money-free world yet. We have to separate the ideology from the day-to-day practicalities of spreading that ideology
Thirdly, we are volunteers and our work incurs ongoing costs. It comes down to this: the less financial pressures on us, the more time we can then dedicate to promoting these ideas. You see, we don’t live in a money-free world yet. We have to separate the ideology from the day-to-day practicalities of spreading that ideology. For example, you wouldn’t question an AIDS charity for raising money for carrying out their work – because they aren’t promoting a money-free world – but they face exactly the same practical difficulties and issues that we face in promoting our ideas.
The bottom line is that while puritanism is a nice idea, it doesn’t progress the movement faster. In fact it slows us down. Take it from someone with more than six year’s experience trying. By supporting our efforts with a cash donation, you are bringing us closer to the day when we can all stop asking.