Counting Everything that Counts

If you have ever belonged to a coop before, a food coop, REI, an agricultural coop, etc. you know that coops often pay a dividend to their members.  So in addition to benefitting from the coops bulk purchasing, and thereby negotiating powers, coop members would divide any profits above operating expenses and distrubte them annually to members as "patronage" dividends.  Patronage dividends are calculated based on the amount of purchasing done by a member through the coop.  So the more you spend, the more you get in return.

POCA coop is different than a typical coop in that it has NOT been set up to pay its members a financial dividend, but instead it is designed to generate a social dividend.  This is also called social capital, and along with financial capital, social capital is something more an more communities, and companies are trying to measure along with the financial bottom line.

POCA needs to also have a sound financial bottom line.  Running POCA requires money to have and maintain a website, to pay staff members, and to fund various projects like micro-lending or publications, and to be able to make deposits for things like POCAfest.  Measuring income and expenses is straight forward for the most part and like any business POCA wants to generate more income than it spends.

But what if we stop for a minute and forget about the money part.  What would we have?  And how would we measure it?

 What we have is a whole bunch of people with a common interest in making affordable acupuncture common place and wide spread.  We have a bunch of clinics, and punks, and front desk receptors, and students, and a TON of patients who care a whole lot about their health, and their family and friends' health, and the health of their community, its economy, its sanity, its ability to join together to make something good happen.  And then to make it happen again and again.  That is social capital.  And that is what we would like to recruit you to help generate and to help count it.

Why do we need to keep track of our social capital?  
One reason is that POCA coop is set up to generate social capital.  So if we don't try to capture some measurment of it how will we know if we're doing a good job of doing what we said we want to do?

How are we going to count this?

Right now what we are going to start counting is simply the hours of volunteer time given by POCA volunteers.  Other ways of counting this is by how many POCA clinics open each year, how many affordable acupuncture treatments are given, how many lives are changed, how many families or communities benefit from these changed lives.  Imagine if we could trace the waves of effects that ripple out from each person who sits peacefully with needles in a CA clinic and then goes out into the world and spreads that energy along their path.

Here is one way we are going to try to capture the ripples... and eventually we'll see the waves:

While logged in visit this link:

https://www.pocacoop.com/hours

At each clinic where POCA members have given time for specific types of help a representative of that clinic should log how many, and what type of hours have been given since we first began signing up members in August 2011.

For the POCA department circles, or anyone who has given time participating in any part of starting up the organization over the last 11 months please log your hours individually, or for the circles, if it make more sense log these hours as a group.  Circle hours can be tallied and logged by each circle's Log Book Keeper. [Yet another reason to get a log book keeper on board now]  

That is it.  Now please do it.

Thanks again to the technichal genius of Wade Phillips the POCA tech support wizard.

 

This story was posted on April 4 2012 by crismonteiro.

Comments

  • April 5 2012 at 12:07 PM
    Lisafer writes:

    I love this blog and I love POCA’s nifty new tracking mechanism!

    About counting: it’s worth thinking about as a tool for cultural change—especially for acupuncture culture.

    One of the reasons that WCA got so obsessed early on with counting and tracking treatments (besides the fact that we are nerds) is that people simply didn’t believe us when we said, a lot of people with ordinary incomes really want acupuncture. Acupuncturist professional culture had pretty conclusively established as conventional wisdom the idea that there was only a demand for acupuncture among the affluent. We said, well that’s because you’ve framed it that way, take acupuncture out of that frame and there’s demand all over the place. They said, prove it. We said, watch this.

    And thus began an important aspect of community acupuncture culture: gloating about how many treatments we do. I like the gloating because it never sounds competitive to me; we’re not gloating because one clinic does more treatments than another clinic, we’re gloating because we are ALL providing more treatments together than anybody thought possible. Every affordable treatment is its own victory and every single one matters. So we count them, dammit.

    Another really pernicious aspect of the conventional culture that we are STILL in the process of disproving is the idea that acupuncturists and acupuncture patients are all passive consumers. Everybody’s just waiting for things to get better for us: for insurance to cover acupuncture, for somebody else to fix our broken economic system. That’s one of the biggest laments you hear in the acupuncture establishment: that acupuncturists are passive, uninvolved, and impossible to organize. And before we came along, it didn’t even occur to anybody to try to organize patients.

    So this is another place where it’s very, very important for POCA to be able to say, watch this.
    We are going to prove that the world doesn’t work the way you say it works. It doesn’t suck and it’s not hopeless. We’re going to prove that acupuncturists and patients do want to contribute—look how much they contribute. We’re going to prove that we can cooperate to build something that’s so much more than the sum of its parts. We’re going to prove that—to quote a great blog post by Wally Doggett—we don’t need to wait for a piece of the pie and a seat at the table, we’ll build our own table and bake our own pie, thank you very much. It’s a huge pie and a huge table, because there are so many of us, but this is how we do it: an hour at a time.

      5 likes
    • mitylene
    • quismith
    • melissa
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  • April 5 2012 at 2:55 PM
    mitylene writes:

    Awesome! go Wade!

      2 likes
  • April 9 2012 at 7:14 AM
    Charlotte Whitestone writes:

    Great post Cris and great idea. One we may have to copy smile
    Charlie @ ACMAC

      0 likes

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