Generosity Dinners: a first-timer’s perspective – meet Charissa

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If I have to be honest, on the night, I wasn’t terribly keen on going to the generosity dinner.

Somehow I just didn’t feel like I had the the energy to sit through debating who needed or deserved money more than someone else; everyone fighting for their own cause. Thinking back, I would not have wanted to be anywhere else that evening!

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I am Common Change: Meet Lesley

One of the things I love most about Common Change is that it is empowering and humbling at the same time.

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I first heard about it when I was at a crossroads, relocating after 38 years in the same city. I yearned for community but had little idea how to find or create it. And my spiritual life was also changing, much to my surprise drawing me closer to Jesus (I grew up in a family that was not religious). My whole life was up in the air, and I was looking for ground under my feet, for home. That was how things were a couple of years ago when I heard Darin Petersen speak about relational tithing. It made so much sense, I couldn’t wait to get started. All the things that made me uncomfortable about institutionalized giving, like wondering why so much of the money had to go to administration, and whether the help offered was the best that it could be… Common Change took care of those.

“One of the things I love most about Common Change is that it is empowering and humbling at the same time.” 

Instead of being part of an anonymous mass of givers, I became part of a group of like-minded people with a common goal: to be good neighbors, to care for each other in times of trouble, to help people in our lives through their crises not just with money but with love and encouragement. Common Change doesn’t attempt to solve the macroeconomic issues of poverty and inequality. It’s grounded in real life and real time, and it happens between us, right here. But I think it is revolutionary, and that this way of being and sharing has huge implications for how we help and relate to each other.

“Instead of being part of an anonymous mass of givers, I became part of a group of like-minded people with a common goal.”

For one thing, instead of isolating those with needs as problems to be solved, they’re just us – any of us – in a tough spot than any of us might face. There’s no hierarchy among Common Change groups and their members, no higher-ups or leaders whose opinions or ideas are more important or powerful than anyone else’. We all give, we’re all welcome to present needs, and we’re all welcome to weigh in on the best way to help. It gives me an experience of participating in a restorative economy. When I think about it, it seems quietly radical in a gentle, not-in-your-face way. I feel honored to be a part of it.

What do YOU love most about Common Change?

It’s not Common Change, but it IS!

I was looking at different stories on Yahoo when this one jumped out at me:

High School surprises Janitor with $1900 so he can visit his granddaughter for the first time.

You can watch the clip over here:

My immediate reaction was, ‘But that’s Common Change!’ followed by ‘Oh wait, it’s not!’

But while it may not be a specific group of Common Change members in action, this need and reaction demonstrates exactly what we are about. Except that once this need has been met, we move on to another need. And continue to do this day by week by month by year.

This is how easy it is – groups of friends combining their resources to meet the needs of those around them. Have you signed up yet? 

Generosity Dinners: Inviting friends to experience Common Change

HOW DO YOU HELP YOUR FRIENDS CATCH ON TO AN IDEA YOU’VE ALREADY CAUGHT?

# Try and get their attention

# Have them listen long enough for you to get to the good part

# Hope that they will understand your explanation

# See if they are interested

WHAT IF THERE WAS AN EASIER WAY?

mealsWHAT IF WE TOLD YOU THERE IS?

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.

BEING PART OF THE COMMON CHANGE NEED PROCESS PULLS THEM IN

Instead of trying to explain Common Change to your friends, you invite them to experience it and we help you through the whole process. As it becomes personal, so the likelihood of them wanting to try such a thing again increases.

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 resources.

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