Where’s the money?
An important part of the Borgerlyst experiment was to see how far two regular citizens like us could actually go without having any money to spend and without seeking funding. People often ask us how we make a living when we spend so much time and energy on our volunteer work with Borgerlyst.
The answer is simple: We both work as independent consultants which allows us to work hard a few days every month and still live well. We could make a lot more money by saying yes to more jobs. But we choose to turn down most of them in order to ‘buy time’ for living out our civic desire. Because we need time more than we need money.
Since we don’t have any money, we often have to come up with new solutions to give things a but of oompf anyway. So we have professional ‘potlucks’, we borrow and we trade. The little costs we have that are connected to developing our website, printing materials and renting spaces are financed by our courses and lectures. That actually works out.
There was one time where we needed more money – when we wanted to print our handbook to civic desire and wished to pay our graphic designer and illustrator well after they had helped us on a volunteer basis for so long. That’s when we started a crowdfunding campaign where people could pre-order the book and thus help us pay for the printing.
Apart from the financial aspect of it, it was surprising and lovely to see that several people offered a helping hand apart from the money. Help for proof-reading, getting the message out there and for selling the book at our launch reception. It wasn’t that we couldn’t have had a regular publishing house printing it – we just really wanted to do it ourselves … with a little help from out friends.