Dear Changemakers around the world,
2021 was yet another, sometimes shocking, reminder that our world is more interconnected than it has ever been.
Without doubt, these are disorienting times, of increased physical separation from the world but increased online connection to the world. Times when we are faced with multiple crises and which, if we want to solve them, necessitate effective collaboration more than ever before.
Collaboration is often messy, complex and difficult, and can’t be rushed or forced to advance our causes. But that doesn't mean collaboration is impossible.
Our key discovery over a decade of bringing groups of social innovators together is that collaboration, whether on or offline, always begins with human connection. When people bond on a deeply human level, show vulnerability, share both their challenges and their skills and knowledge with others, then something magic happens and the ground is laid for real collective action to start.
At ChangemakerXchange, we believe our core work of building community among changemakers and facilitating togetherness and safe spaces is right now one of the most critical things the world needs. This philosophy has permeated all of our activities in serving changemakers and the changemaking ecosystem.
Writing and sharing this blog post, we intend to take the time to celebrate our collective accomplishments as a community in what has, despite everything, been an exciting and high-impact year for ChangemakerXchange.
There are 10 highlights, and after each of them, there's a quick call to action as to how you can take part and collaborate in the journey ahead with us. At the last point, we share our commitment to our future summits next year. And finally, we conclude this blog post with one last invitation for everyone to take.
So here they are, the ChangemakerXchange's 21 (10 highlights + 10 calls to action + 1 last invitation) in 2021.
1. Welcoming 100+ new changemakers to the ChangemakerXchange community
This year, ChangemakerXchange hosted 5 online summits (in five different regions) and one physical summit in Cologne, Germany (more on this below). Each summit followed our tried and tested formula of deep human connections, peer learning, and collaborative action.
With that, we have brought 100+ new changemakers into our community, expanding to the Americas for the first time, making us a global community of 900+ changemakers.
2. Forming the critical governance body within the community while maintaining transparency
This year, we have a new Community Strategy Group, which consists of members from 26 different countries from across all continents.
The group is a critical governance body for the ChangemakerXchange community, and will work together to represent the whole community in all key decisions and advise on the core team's strategy. This is also one of our attempts to keep our community as transparent as it can be.
3. Spreading our philosophy and methodology on transformative facilitation
ChangemakerXchange has run the Training-of-Trainers Summit on Online Facilitation for the ecosystem, attended by leaders from Ashoka, Kofi Annan Foundation, Diana Award, Barefoot College, Unleash, BMW Foundation, and many more.
To date, we have trained over 100 civil society leaders in total on our transformative facilitation philosophy and methodology, which emphasise the power of human connections.
4. Initiating an ecosystem alliance of top social innovation organisations supporting young changemakers
The ChangemakerXchange community initiated The Possibilists, an ecosystem alliance of 16 of the world's top social innovation organisations. Together, we ran a global study of the lives, work and challenges of young changemakers, supported by SAP and Google.org.
Following the study, we will create a filterable database of hundreds of ecosystem solutions (accelerators, wellbeing programs, funding, investments currently in beta mode) for young changemakers all over the world, to be launched in February 2022. We also launched The Possibilists Europe report, which shines a spotlight on European changemakers and those who self-identify as being marginalized. We are working to tie it into the EU Action Plan for the Social Economy.
5. Creating more ecosystem collaborations to support changemakers
Collaboration is at the core of everything we do. Meaning, we align our goals and share resources with other organisations to build on each other’s impact and catalyse systemic change.
This year, we partnered with Bosch Alumni Network on their Social Innovation Cluster and SOS Children's Villages on their Youth Power program, matching them to our facilitators and co-creating new formats. Also, we have run an 'Ecosystem Builder' Program in MENA with SAP, training 20 network leaders from the region in online facilitation and community building and sparking collaborations between them. With ALV Foundation, we ran the EmpathyXchange program, convening 20 young European changemakers (now our community members) aiming at education system transformation.
6. Offering different donation options
To accommodate different preferences of supporting changemakers, ChangemakerXchange has made different options available for people to choose from.
From donating a flexible amount, to contributing via subscription, to supporting using cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the like), we will continue to explore innovative ways of funding the work of social change.
7. Exploring innovative ways of raising funds
Early this year, ChangemakerXchange has partnered with a (B-Corp) social enterprise ad placement agency, Good-Loop, to bring you Tabs for Good, a browser plugin that generates donations for us just by users browsing the web.
Just by simply downloading & installing the CXC-customized Tabs for Good plugin, each time a new tab is opened, it unlocks a free donation for the ChangemakerXchange community.
8. Making the most of social media to share our learnings as a community
One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that it has empowered us to be creative in the way of serving changemakers in their changemaking journey.
We have managed to run many hundreds of hours of COVID-19 response, capacity & community building activities for our now almost 1,000 members from 150+ countries. And whenever possible, we share our learnings on social media so that even more changemakers can benefit.
9. Building open-source toolkits for changemakers
We have recently updated our Resources for Changemakers page, which includes some of the best knowledge, processes, and toolkits we have built over the years.
From our Online Facilitation Toolkit to our Sustainability Manifesto, we hope there's something in here for every changemaker to create more impact.
10. Continuously sharing opportunities for changemakers
At ChangemakerXchange, we have committed ourselves to continue sharing opportunities available for changemakers and their changemaking journey. For our summits in 2022 (in-person & online), we commit ourselves to support changemakers working to address humanity's most pressing challenge right now, the ecological crisis.
All updates and opportunities from our communities (and beyond) will be communicated regularly via ChangemakerXchange newsletter.
Thank you so much for reading all the way through!
One last invitation from us...
If you find this blog post useful or know someone who may benefit from it, please feel free to share it. Your spreading the word about what we do at ChangemakerXchange will help us to continue collaborating with more stakeholders to serve even more changemakers around the world.
We look forward to another impactful year in 2022. But until then, we wish you a lovely festive season.
- Your ChangemakerXchange Team