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Sorted: a handbook for a better Scotland

A Vote Of Confidence

Craig Dalzell – 10th November 2022

I want to thank each and every one of you who have contributed to our crowdfunder for Sorted: a handbook for a better Scotland. You’ve given us a vote of confidence that we shall make every effort to live up to in full.

It has been a long time since we ran a crowdfunding campaign. The last one was in 2016 which raised enough money to hire me as a part time policy researcher for the organisation and led to me eventually becoming the Head of Policy & Research for the organisation.

We’re not like other think tanks in that we raise the vast majority of our resources not through grants or fundraising but through small, regular donations. As I finish every Policy Podcast by saying, we don’t get Government money, we don’t have corporate backers, we don’t even have adverts on our website. This model has served us well over the years by giving us a steady and predictable income and the freedom to not have to produce our policy work with strings attached – so many third sector think tanks are bound by the terms of the funding grants to study a particular thing at a particular time and cannot easily adjust or change tack if political winds shift. We can as our donors trust us to always work towards the goals and ethos of Common Weal no matter what we are campaigning on at a particular moment.

But every now and then something comes along that stretches the means of our wee think and do tank. Times are tough right now and costs are rising everywhere. This has hit us just as much in our professional lives as it has in our personal lives. In the time between us deciding to produce a book for this Christmas and us completing it and getting it ready for print, the price we were quoted had almost doubled.

So we reached out to all of you for a little extra help. Launching a crowdfunder is never easy. There’s always that anxiety of it not going well or simply not making the target. We thought that a “good result” for us would have been to make the target in a week or two.

You lot smashed through it in two days.

To say we’re both delighted and grateful is an understatement. As I write this, we’re within a couple of donations of meeting our stretch goal, which will allow us to double our print run and help get Sorted into twice as many hands as we originally planned.

When the team discussed what we wanted this book to make us feel I – despite my passion for dispassionate data – was very clear with my thoughts: I wanted the first page to give me the hope we so desperately need in this tired, cynical and outright depressing time and I wanted the last page to give me the determination to bring that hope into being.

I can honestly say that I believe that we succeeded.

This book brings hope but not just the idealistic hope of something that might happen. It brings the practical hope of a better Scotland that we could all live in if we have the determination to build it and to tell others how to help us get there.

I’m extremely proud of the Common Weal team – especially the new folk who joined us this year and have been thrown in at the deep end of the Scottish policy world. Our think and do tank is small but we’ve done so much over the last ten years of our existence. I’m proud of everyone who has helped us along the way, I’m proud of the influence we’ve had in the world – there are things happening in Scotland (and elsewhere) that would not be happening now if Common Weal hadn’t been here. I’m proud of the ten years of work that Common Weal has done and how I have been able to contribute to that through the generous support of folk like yourselves. I’m determined to do that support proud and would like to ask you to come with us on the next ten years as we do our best to apply our principles and to build a better future that puts All of Us First.

Let’s get Scotland Sorted.

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