Barn Raisers and Keeping Score.

What does it take to get you to do something for someone? I'm not referring to myself but anyone. The Amish are well known for their barn-raising. When one of the group needs a new barn a date is set and the entire community turns out to raise it. It becomes a way to socially communicate as well as to accomplish the necessary task.

Do the Amish take part in these raisings because they fear if they don't the community won't be there to help them. Personally, I don't think it has anything to do with fear – or keeping score.

Do you have friends and colleagues who keep score. I do. They can tell you who bought lunch the last time (and the time before) and who did who a favor last. Other friends don't use a scorecard. They do things because of love. They do things because they believe it is the right thing to do and they feel deeply about doing good. Their love enables them to lend a hand, cook a meal, buy lunch, or offer their time and resources. They are Barn Raisers.

We have a lot of people in our world with the potential to be Barn Raisers. But, a lot of them are in a waiting pattern. I want to learn how to bring them together. We can use the social networking tools available to get their attention. But, then how do we get them to actually take action or participate? And, how do we get them to do it for a sustainable period?

Some of them were taught to keep score a long time ago and it has become part of their culture. "It's a dog-eat-dog world," they were taught. "Look out for number one," is a phrase I would like to permanently remove from the lexicon. 

How can we create a community of Barn Raisers?

Do you have any ideas?

Photo compliments of Cindy47452 on Flickr

6 thoughts on “Barn Raisers and Keeping Score.”

  1. Have a web site that is geared towards giving of ones talent, ability, or wealth. The only rule for being able to participate…have something to give. The gifter (barn raiser) could state how many times they could give this thing or service, and maybe what the value could be if applicable. The giftees (people in need of a gift) would come from anywhere and any walk of life. I (pondered on that part for a while) the giftee part (should they be poor, bad health, etc?) and came up with the thought that a gifter (barn raiser) really doesn’t care who gets the gift.

  2. Great idea, Lorrie! I think we’d want to ask people to take small actions. We could provide some easy menus and make sure there is a connection that takes place. I want to think about this more. Let’s see what others have to say too.

  3. So… how do we inspire people to give? Answer this million dollar question and non-profits will be lining up at your doorstep.
    I’ve learned that people are generally more apt to be giving of their time and resources rather than money. I know a guy who will literally give you the shirt off his back at a moment’s notice, but ask him to write a check for charity and his checkbook closes. Why?
    Because money IS keeping score. It’s an exact amount. If you borrow $100, then I know exactly what you owe me in return.
    Time and resources can be difficult to quantify. If I help you shovel your driveway, what do you really owe me in return? If you buy me dinner, does that equal the hour of labor I spent shoveling?
    People want to help those who help themselves. When we had our last big snow storm, many of my neighbors were out shoveling and snow blowing their driveways. This lasted about an hour before I could make it out to start on my own driveway. Once I started to shovel, the neighbors converged on my driveway to clear it quickly. Simply put, I was making an effort – and so they helped. My next door neighbor never came out and hence his driveway was never cleared.
    I think I had a point in there somewhere…

  4. I think Burning Man values tend to try to lean towards this — whether or not they succeed is a question I’m not sure I can answer. I know that reading Linchpin further cemented a lot of my feelings about doing something out of love, giving something as a gift. Once you get that feeling, it’s hard to ignore it. And it gets easier to indulge in.

  5. I think the most important part of your comment is the sentence, “People want to help those who help themselves.” I also get the snow thing as someone who just shoveled out almost two feet of it and is getting maybe that much more over the next 24 hours. It works exactly the same way here.
    I think people are willing to give a little time or a little money if you ask nicely. But, how do we get them to commit which is something different. A friend on Facebook says it starts with unity.
    People united to elect Barack Obama president. The brilliance of his campaign is they asked a little bit from millions in exchange for hope. How do we do the same thing to help one another?

  6. @Megan – I was also inspired by Linchpin and its topic of giving something as a gift out of love. So, based on your last two sentences – “Once you get that feeling, it’s hard to ignore it. And it gets easier to indulge in.” we need to get more people involved and actively participating and then it will continue with its own momentum. And, that feels like we’ve gone full circle.

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