Tag Archive: collaborative giving

A community of friends who pool their money to meet the needs of people they know.

That is what Common Change is all about. And that is the non-profit that my wife, tbV, and i work with and have been for the last year and a half.

Almost every time we explain the concept to people and they get it, it excites them and they want to know more.

But many people in that boat feel like they are the only one of their friend group who might be interested in that idea.



One of the ways we have seen people really grab on to the idea of how Common Change works is through hosting what we call, ‘Generosity Dinners’.

# Invite some friends round for a meal that you are hosting

# each guest brings a donation to add to the group ‘pot’

# after the meal, each person has the chance to share a need of someone they know

# after a lengthy discussion and whittling down process, a decision is made

# the whole of the group ‘pot’ goes towards the need that was decided upon

# a follow-up email a few weeks later shares some feedback on how the gift went down.

Common Change presently covers groups in the United States and we are working with people in the UK, Costa Rica, Canada and South Africa to see what it will take in those countries to run groups there. But a Generosity Dinner can happen in any country in the world. It really just takes an invitation to some friends, the hosting of a meal and then an evening of sharing some money and meeting needs of people you love.

It is that easy. What is holding you back? This could be the start of a transformational season of you and your friends starting to think a little bit differently about the way you interact with your money and resources.

Contact us now at support@commonchange.com to find out more about how you can throw your first Generosity Dinner or click here for more information.


[Money certainly seems to be a topic we rarely speak much about – for a range of other Taboo Topics different people have shared their stories on, click here]



a friend of mine is in serious need of dental surgery… another friend who has a really tight budget has a car that is in serious need of tyre replacement before something goes horribly wrong… someone else i know has their house taken down by the latest hurricane to hit the states and are just needing a bit of a boost to pay a deposit and first month’s rent on an apartment for them and their child… a couple who are having quite a tough time due to the regular circumstances of life could really just use a bit of a weekend break away to be able to focus on their marriage…

as someone who is operating on a fairly tight budget, what do i say to these people? what can i do?

“I’ll pray for you.”

Not that praying for someone is wrong or bad, but if it is all i am able to do, then it does feel somewhat inadequate.

Especially if i can do much more. And the book of James in the Bible seems to suggest that we should:

15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. [James2]

Enter Common Change… the non-profit tbV and i work for… and the group we have been a part of for about a year and a half.

The needs mentioned at the start of this post are all ones that have been met by the group we are part of. Although not necessarily all personal friends of ours, we got to play some part in empowering their friends to walk alongside them as some or all of their need was met.

Here’s how it works:

# you register to Common Change and then either create a group [with a bunch of mates, work colleagues, small group at church, indoor hockey teammates] or join an existing group and start contributing usually a monthly amount to the group common pool.

# when someone in the group knows someone [one degree of separation] who has a need they present the need to the group on behalf of their friend.

# members of the group then respond by giving creative suggestions or asking deeper questions to try and figure out the best way to get involved in meeting the need [so drawing on the wisdom of the group]

# when the group has weighed in, a gift is sent to the person in need and the person who shared the need with the group is encouraged to walk the journey with their friend

it is that easy… and it can start small [ten people each giving 10 dollars suddenly have 100 dollars to be able to put towards a need] or be really huge [some people give fixed amounts, others give a percentage of their salary]

the aim is to eradicate economic isolation – instead of simply throwing money at needs or at organisations we are committing to get personally involved in relationships we already have where need exists and hopefully be part of making a long-term difference in someone’s life.

sound doable? interested in learning more or getting involved? email me at brett@commonchange.com and we can get this ball rolling…

Also, if you like the idea it would be great if you could share this link via your social networking vibes… thank you.



Two Cents is the blog associated with Common Change, the non-profit that tbV and myself work for. It is a blog site which we are hoping till become a hub for conversations, dialogue and media sharings on the theme of where FAITH intersects with ECONOMICS [with a healthy measure of JUSTICE added in] and it is starting to gain momentum. Here are a selection of some of the top articles from the last couple of weeks that people have been particularly interested in. We would love for you to pick one [or all of them] and go and read it and leave your thoughts [your two cents?] in the comments section…

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‘What can we learn from this case study about finding imaginative and innovative ways to stay true to our own principles in the modern economy?’


‘The principles and foundations Nigel expresses have deep significance across geographic contexts. What does it mean to pay a living wage in our context? What will paying a living wage “cost” you and what are the potential effects doing so will have on the individuals and societies you find yourself engaged in? Is it worth “finding a bargain” on wages that impact people’s ability to live?’


‘In his short tenure, Pope Francis has redefined and breathed life into the papal office. As a result, a office that many saw as dead and irrelevant; is now brimming with life. While we at Two Cents applaud much of what he has done, we are especially interested in how he views the intersection of faith and economics.’ 


‘Can we, like Jesus, imagine a new reality, an economy of enough, a liturgy of abundance? “When the disciples, charged with feeding the hungry crowd [as told in Mark’s gospel] found a child with five loaves and two fishes, Jesus took, blessed ,broke and gave the bread. These are the four decisive verbs of our sacramental existence. ” But our taking, blessing, breaking and giving – our sacramental expression of our fundamental belief in “creation infused with the Creator’s generosity” and our call to express this same open-handedness to our neighbors – cannot exist if we continue to believe in the myth of scarcity. With that all we can do is  hoard, profane, accumulate and keep to ourselves the richness of God’s abundance.’


Below are three points I want to remember as I attempt to gouge entitlement out of my own life. I suspect, like pulling weeds, it’s going to be a life-long exercise:

1. I have enough.

2. People matter most.

3. God simplified.

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So there you have it – just a glimpse of what we are trying to do at Two Cents and we would love for you to get involved which you can do in a number of ways:

[1] Visit the site, read the articles, comment on them – share them with people who you know that you think they will resonate with.

[2] Send me articles/videos that you feel are relevant to the theme of where FAITH meets ECONOMICS [with a generous helping of JUSTICE] – I won’t be able to use all the ones I get but if you find something that is particularly challenging or encouraging then please email it to brett@commonchange.com and give me the option of using it.

[3] Suggest a writer – if you know someone that writes well on that theme who might be up to writing an original piece for the site, please send them my way.

[4] Volunteer – we are looking for a team of 10 to 20 people who will donate an hour or two a week to Common Change by committing to visiting Two Cents a few times a week and commenting on at least one but preferably two of the new articles we post. If this sounds like something you’d be up for or if you know someone who has a passion for this theme of stuff then email me at brett@commonchange.com and sign up.

changeA little bit of a catchup on how tbV [the beautiful Val] and my work is going at Common Change

Things are going pretty well – we have moved from a space of setting things up and getting them ready to having them ready and seeing people start to slowly come on board and so it is an exciting time but also feels a bit like a time of pregnancy [no, we’re not!] in terms of something has happened but the main event still feels a little bit in the future.

I have moved from doing a lot of bug fixes and testing on the new site to a space of marketing and sharing the vision of Common Change and seeing people take steps to sign up. We had a really successful online webinar a few weeks ago and most of the people who were part of that have started or continued a journey with us at Common Change. That is a great way to get started and have some of your questions answered and we will be doing two more on Tuesday the 6th of August so if you are interested then check out the event and sign up.

Val does a bunch of stuff involving policy and procedure but is also largely involved with moving people from being interested parties to joining Common Change and becoming part of functioning groups [when a group is fully active and functioning it gets passed on to me to keep an eye on and walk alongside] and there are a bunch of groups at the moment that are close to full on launching stage and so that can be really exciting although hugely-patience-enducing too as we just want to see them jump and get going. She does a really excellent job at managing that side of things and staying in touch with people. She has also recently jumped into the finances side of things as well so learning and contributing much there.

So the online phone call is one way to get involved. But we have recently added another which is a great way for people who are excited about it but maybe have not got a group of people around them who are interested or at the point of jumping-in’ness yet and are really wanting to get moving. We have started a group called CONNECT [with a monthly contribution of $25 asked for] and one called MOVE [monthly contribution of $50 required] as a 6 month commitment for anyone who is wanting to try this Common Change thing out and see how it works and get started with it. The hope is that as you take part you will have some stories to share your friends or colleagues and that after the 6 month participation you may have found the people in your life to be able to start your own group with. So a great way to get ones feet wet with a fairly low input.

Another part of Common Change that we are excited about is the Two Cents blog we have going which looks at aggregating [collecting] and also creating articles and other media looking at the intersection of where FAITH and FINANCES [or economy] meet up [with a healthy side order of JUSTICE] and so we have three to five articles added there every week and are inviting people to get involved in the conversations and discussions that emerge as people engage with what is going on around the world. We would LOVE for you to stop by there and add your two cents. Bookmark it and visit it regularly or simply subscribe to the blog to stay in touch with what life-transforming conversations are being had.

At the moment Common Change is set up [from the money perspective largely] specifically for American groups but we have had a lot of interest from countries as varied as Costa Rica, South Africa and Holland and so people are wanting to get going with this and we are definitely investigating ways in which people from other countries can more easily become involved.

So ja, exciting but looking forward to to when the groups that are processing take the final leap and start presenting and meeting needs and we will have more stories to celebrate together.

For those of you who may not be familiar with how Common Change works, in a nutshell it is about connecting resources to people in need through already established relationships. The idea is for a group of people to commit to contributing a certain amount of their finances each month into a common pool. At any point anyone in the group can then share a need of someone that they know [a person they are in one degree of separation of relationship with] and the group will share wisdom and ideas on how best to meet the need long-term and then vote to approve the need. The question we generally hold on to is not whether or not we will meet the need but how will we meet it. This is based on the early church in Acts method of everyone sharing their resources and no-one being in need and feels like a really healthy way of helping us to be intentional in stewarding that which we have well.

For more information check out the website at commonchange.net, jump aboard one of the phone conversations on Tuesday 6 August or check out our blog at twocents.co.

Be the change you want to see...

many of you may know that the beautiful Val [tbV] and i flew over to Americaland just over a month ago to start working in Oakland, California with a non-profit called Common Change [formerly known in parts as Relational Tithe] and i wanted to just share a little about that because we are hoping that the grand launch is going to be in a few weeks time, so it is a good space for you to start thinking and engaging with people and wrestling and plotting about this and potentially getting involved…

tbV and i have been part of Relational tithe for coming close to a year now and have seen people helped with medical funds and procedures, a few start up businesses given impetus, prayer and encouragement given to the sick and dying and those journeying with them, support to friends who were pushed out of their job and had to leave the country, and a woman who lost her house in Hurricane Sandy among other things. so when we were invited to be a part of seeing this simple strategy and tool that had worked for a group of about 50 people experimenting for the last 6 to 8 years we didn’t need much convincing – we have seen it in action.

the idea is simple – if you have a group of people [which can be from as few as 3 people although 6 to 8 households seems to be the sweet spot] ready to embark, you sign up [as soon as the site goes live, which as i said is looking like being really soon] and make a commitment to give ten percent of your earnings into a common pool on a regular basis. at any point, anyone in the group is able to share a need for anyone that they are in one degree of separation from [must be someone they know and are in some level of relationship with, so not a friend of a friend’s gardener’s dog for example]. the group discusses the need and shares their wisdom on how best to meet the need [sometimes money, sometimes networking, sometimes alternative ideas] and then when a certain amount of support has been given the need is met and the person who shared the need gets to walk alongside the person they shared the need for and meet the need through relationship.

sounds very simple but quite exciting, right? think about it, ask questions if you have, why not bring it up at a dinner table or meeting this week and see what other peoples thoughts and ideas are… and then head to CommonChange.com and watch the short intro video and if this feels like something you would like to know more about, sign up to receive our latest news or keep an eye here so you can see when we launch…

Common Change is coming soon… are you?

for a sneak peak at the site, with the intro video and a chance to reserve your spot for when it opens, click here…

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