Just how invested are you in….Your neighborhood, Your city, Your country’s future?

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 17 May 2017 10:30 AM CAT

Take the heading as question one and the next phrase as questions two and three, how often are you asked to donate and how do you respond to it?


Over the past year, I’ve given the two concepts of ‘donate’ and ‘invest’ much thought, especially considering our collaborative approach at Indigo. Donate feels so ‘arm’s length’. Donate feels like it belongs in the world of ‘charity’ which has almost become extinct around NGOs and CBOs.

Donate feels like something you may consider as a once-off event. It feels like something you may give, but never follow up on or revisit the results of.

Invest, on the other hand, gives the impression that it’s linked to a return and of course in this context, that is a social return on investment. If I were approached in my neighborhood on my pet subject of pedestrian safety and the first approach was; ‘Donate to a fund for better sidewalks in our neighborhood’, while the second approach was; ‘Invest to creating a better neighborhood where we will continue to drive pedestrian safety through better sidewalks, traffic calming zones, etc.’…kind of a no-brainer for me. I believe that people today want to be more involved in stuff that affects them and ‘donate’ just doesn’t feel like it’s going to hit the mark.

When you start to think more collaboratively, the concept of invest presents potential engagement and connection against outcomes.

The vast number of non-profits in our communities struggle to provide essential services in health, education, help to the homeless, battered women and children, and environmental clean-up. The list of essential services provided by community-based non-profits goes on and on. So, when you next think about how you can make a difference, invest, apply your personal brand of governance on seeing returns and become a true catalyst for change.

Janice Scheckter is a collaboration activist and co-founder of six social enterprises in education, agriculture, enterprise development through tourism, economic development and city networks.  

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