Tag Archive: Sharing Economy

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]




[Tuesday May 13th]

I am taking a break from a Share conference I am attending as part of Common Change…

I really wish I could capture the heart and essence of the opening remarks and the morning’s sessions, but I imagine I will fail dismally.

But I will try out something together anyway because I really believe this is something we all need to be thinking about, reading up on, talking about and getting involved with.

Especially for those of us who try and follow Jesus and get particularly excited by the picture of the early church in Acts 2.42-47

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = TIME PASSES = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

[Fri May 16th]

So it is a few days later now and the conference thoughts and conversations with kilt-wearing Scott and his lovely wife Jo-Jo and my beautiful wife Val are still resonating in my mind.

Also my head is remarkably pain-free which should be normal but has not been for the last month until yesterday’s root canal which seems to have sorted that all out and which was made possible by a very generous donation from our Common Change group who covered the complete procedure [which would have really been difficult for us to get to, especially with a huge transition and move back to South Africa just around the corner] and so that is bearing physical testimony to the fact that this thing really works. Groups of friends pooling money and then meeting needs of people they care about.

The one idea that jumped out at me at the conference earlier this week was the phrase “Access over Ownership” which is so huge, both in terms of Sharing Economy and a new way of thinking and living, but also in terms of the idea of how the environment is impacted positively when we start sharing the things we have [think four people car pooling as opposed to four invididual cars, think four households sharing a washing machine as opposed to four washing machines largely being inactive etc] and how it encourages a greater or more intentional community as we are brought face to face with the people we are sharing with.

# They discussed six areas of Sharing including money, transportation, accommodation and things.

# Organisations such as Common Change, Lyft, Airbnb and Acts of Sharing.

While this may not present the end to capitalism as we know it, or even possibly the best solution to capitalism as we know it, the Sharing Economy definitely seeks to tweak and adapt the systems that we have so that the person on the street can be more involved in being directly involved in making the money and in both the giving and receiving of different services and items in a number of win-win situations.

For many of the people we interact with, this is already bordering on old school, new way of thinking stuff… but i imagine that for a lot of my friends back home and maybe some of you as well, this could be quite light-bulb illuminating, a eureka moment of why-did-we-never-think-of-this-before? And it’s not like it hasn’t been happening for hundreds and maybe thousands of years in traditional tribes and rural villages and more extended family embracing communities, but as an idea that is starting to affect and inspire and ignite the mainstream into action, it has a strong feel of new to it.



My beautiful wife, Val, has this saying that she has embraced as a life mantra that she found and which goes like this:

‘We’re not thinking our way into a new way of acting; we’re acting our way into a new way of thinking.’ [Katherine Fulton]

And we have done just that. In small ways so far, but hoping for opportunities to do more in the months and years to come:

# Two years ago we joined a group called Relational Tithe [now Common Change] where we gave ten percent of our earnings to a common group fund and then shared needs of people we were in one degree of relationship with to the group and were able to help a whole lot of people in exciting ways. For the last 15 months we have been working full-time with Common Change.

# This year we hosted Couch Surfers for the first time and it was such a great experience.

# During the conference we visited our friends who were renting an Airbnb apartment for the week and got to have a glimpse of that.

One of our shared values is Hospitality and so we are looking to have a place with an extra bedroom in it when we move back to South Africa [like we did here in Oakland, California] so that we can live out that value by hosting people – those we know and are friends with and also hopefully strangers and friends of friends and possibly even people we meet who are in need.

If you’ve never thought about this, please THINK ABOUT IT.

If you’ve never talked about this, please TALK ABOUT IT with your friends, family, work colleagues, sports teammates.

If you’ve never done something about this, please DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT – try something once, experiment, take a risk, explore…

Together we can change the way the world is operated – this is an exciting time we stand at… don’t be left behind [or merely choose to continue working within the old system]



I would love to hear your stories and experiences of any of these things you have tried or benefited from or given a chance to so please leave them in the comments below.

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