by Annah My brain is changing.
Numbers telling stories?
Ethics and Values suggested through zeros and ones?
Finances have feelings too it seems.
Welcome to the Matrix, or more appropriately, Microsoft Excel.
We are deep into financial planning, and will be for a total of 5 weeks. Let me tell you, it is no cakewalk. We’re not in Alternia anymore. It’s time for real talk, brass tacks, none of that slippery stuff. This is where we get to find out how little we are able to pay ourselves in the first year. It’s where we get real about the monetary risks we’re willing to take for our newborn project babies.
Financial planning hurts sometimes. When putting an organization into purely monetized terms, we miss out on accounting for certain non-monetized costs and benefits. We are faced again with what the economy has not been able to account for. Is there a monetary value that can be placed on feeling good? To feel good is to smile and chat with strangers. It’s being present over dinner with friends and family. It means existing in the moment of time that is happening right this very second!
I know it’s totally cheesy, but this shit is important and systems for such things are simply not in place during this process. I’m attempting to jam some life-balance into this because there is absolutely nothing wrong with going to bed at a decent hour and eating three casually paced and well chewed meals a day.
One thing that is clear in financial planning is that you can almost smell the burnout radiating off of some of these financial plans. In the case of The Plant Collective, we are essentially not paying ourselves for the first year (did we forget?), and are meanwhile absorbing the costs in labor to provide a community service. Big mistake already, back to the drawing board. Spending the time it takes to figure out how a social purpose organization can thrive and sustain in the long run is good for everybody.
Another guest speaker capped off the end of the week: Irwin Oostindie. This guy is essentially the cultural curator of my North Van teenage experience; he was the guy setting up all ages punk shows outside of Seylynn Hall in protest of their inaccessible rental costs in the late 80s, and was the co-founder and core organizer of Under the Volcano Festival. Not that I was alive when any of this began, but I most definitely reaped the benefits.
Irwin was also the executive director at W2, a community media arts space in the Woodwards building in the DTES. As you can see this guy likes to get things done. We fast-tracked through his life as a community organizer, picking up lessons along the way. We spoke of his experiences with other organizers and peers. My favorite Irwin tip was his point on parasitism, which was described as the process of leaching resources off of larger corporations for a benefit to your own organization. If we can agree that all money must be dirty by now, then what’s the difference? Clean that shit up and serve it to some nice folks.