We negotiate fees with partners on a sliding scale, according to organisations’ capacity. Our fee ensures a project cycle from initial discussions to face-to-face facilitation then evaluation and follow-up. It often includes developing or tailoring resources. One day face-to-face generally means about 2 ‘people days’ for tCA’s team.
From time to time, we’re asked to explain why we charge money for some of our work. Why don’t we provide this support service for free, all the time? We’ve all experienced community organising and activism that does not support personal and professional development and learning. And we imagined what a difference it would make if there was a sustainable and accessible support organisation we could turn to for resources, facilitation, training and research about the processes of social change, campaigning and community organising – not just the issues. Now we’re trying to be that organisation. We tried for several years to do it without resources and found it just wasn’t sustainable.
We believe this work is important and warrants our full attention for a long time… and the time and attention of other people. To support effective community action requires research, curriculum design and resource development, building relationships with groups that need support, and developing and updating this website. For each day of face-to-face training or facilitation, we spend considerable time establishing purpose and process, liaising, designing, preparing, travelling, facilitating, debriefing, evaluating and following up. Our average fee covers this whole cycle and allows a couple of us to be paid less than a living wage on an ongoing basis.
Much of our time and effort is pro bono, and we make our finite funds go a long way. For many years, we worked with up to 1,000 workshop participants each year. As we’ve secured additional resources to support this work, we have been able to work more sustainably, build stronger relationships with the organisers, organisations and networks we support, and provide support to more diverse groups throughout the region.
We are committed to ensuring our resources are available to everyone. And we know that often the people who most need direct support are least able to access or afford it. Besides offering resources online, we endeavour to charge people and organisations according to their capacity to pay. This includes a sliding scale and free ‘pay the rent’ places in our workshops and Community Organising Fellowship for Aboriginal and Torres Strait organisers. Each year, we provide a combination of free and cost-recovery activities and strive to visit new locations where services like tCA are scarce. We’ve also recognised that we need to seek funding for this service beyond a ‘user-pays’ system and actively seek donations and other funding to support tCA so that we can provide more research, facilitation, training and resources to groups with minimal capacity.
tCA supports other activist educators, do-it-yourself organiser support and the proliferation of resources. More than 100 people access our website each day, with 1000s of downloads each month. This service is effectively subsidised by our voluntary efforts and income from workshops and partnerships.