The penultimate day of the challenge! Congratulations, you’re almost done!
Part of the success of co-operatives and credit unions are their ability to mobilize existing communities to achieve more, and to bring different groups together. Most co-ops come out of a group of people who trust one another, have known each other for a while, and decided to work together. Co-ops have also been incredibly adept at bringing different groups of people together around a common issue (such as eating healthy food).
Social Scientists call the benefits of people getting together social capital. Co-ops, are great at both “bonding” social capital, strengthening the connections within an existing group, and “bridging” social capital, bringing different groups together.
Today’s challenge is to look at your social capital as well as how your charming and dynamic personality and amazing social skills bond and bridge social capital. Here’s a short exercise to complete that will give you an idea about your social capital. You will need something to write with (pencils, pens, markers) and something to write on (paper, flip-chart paper, the back of your hand….)
- In the centre of the paper draw a small circle. In this circle write the names of the people who are closest to you (e.g. your family)
- Next, draw a second ring around the first circle. In the distance space between the outer ring and the first circle list the names of all the people you could count on in your community. These are the people whose opinions you trust and would go to in a crisis and vice versa. Who would you lend your new truck to?
- Draw another ring and list the names of people : you work with, play rec sports with, are members of the same groups (church, PTA, Rotary, etc) see at parties, teachers, your kids’ teachers, neighbors,
- Draw another ring and include the people you see on a regular basis. The people in your neighborhood, the people at the coffee shop in the morning, the bus driver on your commute.
- You might be out of space by now, but why not list people you know outside of your community but share something in common. Perhaps they play on a rival sports team and you see them at an annual tournament, or conference, etc.
Now that your chart is filled up with people, take a different coloured pen or marker and see if you can connect some of the names based on if they know each other through you. For example if you invited a co-worker to join your rec hockey league, you could connect their name to the other names you’ve listed in your chart.
Each ring in your diagram could represent how YOU have bonded social capital. For every connection you make between names, and even between rings it shows how much social capital you have bridged!
Now that you have identified all of your social capital (wow! You’re popular!) give 3 of the people in your chart a call, send ten of these people an email, and have a chat (in person) with five of them!