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partnerships:articles:doit1 [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +Just do it - letter from a US networker
 +=======================================
 +
 +*Steve Snow was the the Director of the award-winning* [Charlotte'​s
 +Web](http://​www.charweb.org/​)*,​ and President of the US* [Association
 +For Community Networking](http://​www.afcn.net)*. Back in 1997 he wrote
 +an open letter to UK networkers. Steve died on December 27 2008: [more
 +here](http://​socialreporter.com/?​p=477) about Steve'​s contribution to
 +community networking.*
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +Dear Networking Neighbors,\
 +\
 + I suppose I could summarize my point of view about building community
 +networks in three words: "Just Do It!"\
 +\
 + How '90s. How American, aye?\
 +\
 + Yet, I can tell you from experience that it takes a tremendous amount
 +of energy to create even a small "​electronic community",​ much less
 +sustain one. So it takes a dash of "​devil-may-care"​ to make it happen, a
 +belief that the power and urgency of the concept **demands** that you do
 +this.\
 +\
 + ​Perhaps a less intense way of saying the same thing would be this:
 +"​Don'​t let anyone tell you you cannot do this."​\
 +\
 + And once you believe that this is right for your community, that the
 +concept truly has value and honest usefulness, then you can begin to
 +work on the details:\
 +\
 +
 +> \
 +>  Make friends, forget enemies. Collaborate with any group that will
 +> have you and wants to work together. That will vary from community to
 +> community, so the model to copy is the process, not the organizations.
 +> Natural collaborations will surface. Make the most of them.
 +> Conversely, be nice to those who would undermine you but stay away
 +> from them; they will bring negative energy you can ill afford.\
 +> \
 +>  When you have some kind of critical mass to form an organization,​ be
 +> crystal clear among yourselves what each partner'​s role in the
 +> organization is -- what each brings to the project and what each is
 +> expected to deliver. When the going gets rough later on, as it
 +> invariably does, you can return to your initial agreements to help
 +> guide you out of the mess.\
 +> \
 +>  Open your arms wide to the community, but make sure those who
 +> volunteer for you can actually do both what they say they can do and
 +> what you need. Interview each volunteer as if they are seeking a
 +> paying job and hold them to high standards. They will be glad for it
 +> and your project will be better for it; anything less will lead to
 +> disaster eventually.\
 +> \
 +>  When you train people to help build the network, trust them to do
 +> most of the work, so it becomes \*their\* network, not yours.\
 +> \
 +>  Be on the lookout for unusual opportunities. Here in the U.S., we at
 +> Charlotte'​s Web are getting ready to develop some related businesses
 +> to generate money for our nonprofit corporation. We hadn't thought of
 +> that originally, but it will become increasingly an important part of
 +> our support.\
 +> \
 +>  Do not try to invent everything "​new"​. Hundreds of groups have
 +> already tried what you are doing and most will be only too happy to
 +> share with you. The U.S. will launch its Association for Community
 +> Networking in 1997; this is a precursor to an \*International\*
 +> association that we hope can provide more coherence for this movement
 +> internationally.
 +
 +\
 + ​Finally,​ let me offer a small caution and a great hope: take care of
 +yourselves physically and emotionally as you build your community
 +networks; know they are part of a matrix of things that will help make
 +your community better, but do not let yourself get dragged into the
 +"black hole" of the Internet. Overwork only hurts the movement in the
 +long run.\
 +\
 + My great hope is that we can work together to take electronic community
 +building to new levels in coming years; and it is more than a hope -- I
 +believe we can and will do it; we will do it for ourselves, we will do
 +it for each other and we will do it for our communities.\
 +\
 + If we in the U.S., especially here at Charlotte'​s Web
 +([http://​www.charweb.org](http://​www.charweb.org/​)) can be of any
 +assistance, please do drop us a note and let us put a shoulder to the
 +wheel.\
 +\
 + Steve Snow\
 + ​Director\
 + ​Charlotte'​s Web\
 + <​shsnow@mindspring.com>​
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +[Home](../​index) | [Communities](../​community/​index) |
 +[Networks](../​org/​index) | [Partnerships](../​part/​index) |
 +[Toolkit](http://​www.partnerships.org.uk/​internet/​index) | | [Join
 +in](../​joinin/​index)
 +
 +www.partnerships.org.uk/​articles/​doit1l\
 +
  
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