Tremendous Progress with Incredible Results



We have made some tremendous progress with incredible results.  Our site just won the 2014 American Graphic Design Award, we’ve facilitated the giving of over $650,000.00 directly to those who need it, and we are very close to some essential developments and improvements that will make it possible to share around common passions  – whether it be neighborhoods and community, social service needs of our most vulnerable citizens, international relations, community development, congregational life, or just plain being people who love others!

I need your help to get Common Change through the pivotal next phase by helping my fellow board members and I raise the $15,000 that is needed to bridge the gap between where we are now and an avalanche of opportunity that will come available in late February/early March.  The plan includes developments in the UK, South Africa and Cuba, a new platform that will fix minor bugs in the user experience and include a mobile ready application, and partnerships with cities and congregations looking for ways to foster generosity and strengthen social capital.

I hope you will consider helping by making a monetary donation of ANY size before January 10, 2015.

$25.00 would be fantastic, but any amount will be genuinely appreciated!


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Sled Race

We want to thank you for another wonderful year. From all of us at Common Change, please enjoy this video from our sled race.

Please consider supporting Common Change with an end-of-year gift.

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We need your support

Common Change was born out of a vision that still guides us: That there is enough for all who inhabit the planet. We believed then, as we do now, that if we could just get enough people together we could eliminate personal economic isolation.

In a recent conversation I was asked how Common Change works financially (beyond gifts given to directly meet needs) and it occurred to me that I have not done a very good job of explaining the “tipping/gifting” model that we have at Common Change. This time of year seems as fitting as any to give some clarity.

Common Change believes that generosity begets generosity. Relationships rooted in generosity and gratitude matter because, in times of crisis, that web supports us in turn. This isn’t just what we do and believe at Common Change, it is how we operate as a nonprofit. By offering Common Change in the “gifting” manner we do, we are asking people to decide on their own “level of gratitude” instead of it being dictated to them. And, at this particular moment, we hope that you will reciprocate any amount of goodness that you have received from Common Change.

I invite you to consider giving a gift of gratitude to help continue the ongoing work of day to day operations of Common Change:

  1. in your year-end giving, as we are in need of $15,000 in the next 30 days, and/or
  2. becoming a partner by giving reoccurring contributions throughout the year for future work.

Let us know if you have any questions or you may share a gift online at


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Inclusion > Exclusion

Written by Kathryn Arthur

The last time I was home for Thanksgiving was in 2007, when I was 17. When I chose to move across the country to attend university I didn’t realize how much being invited into another person’s home, and “adopted” for a day, would mean to me – especially during the holiday season. Now that I live overseas this is even more important since I am rarely in my home country. The people who have opened their homes to me and treated me as family have become some of my strongest lifelines. And now, I also find myself opening up my home to others who are too far from home to return.

Opening up our spaces and traditions, including others, encouraging others, and spending time to connect are all forms of generosity that are often forgotten.

How can we welcome estranged family, distant friends, unknown neighbors, strangers and the lonely into our community, around our table, and into our lives?

We believe that our lives are richer when we open up our hands and hearts and welcome others in to our safe spaces. This week think about who you might know that may need a little company and consider inviting them into your celebrations.

People Aren’t Meant To Be Projects

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Nobody wants to be a project… but each of us has a longing to know and be known, to care and be cared for, and to love and be loved.
How might you share yourself with people around you?




People > Projects

Written by Kathryn Arthur

I would be the first to tell you that I absolutely love the holidays and everything that goes with it. With an addiction to Pinterest and a love for surprising others, I have a tendency to decorate, make, draw, cook, bake, plan and generally have a never ending to-do list this time of year. In the week just before Christmas however, I tend to burn out. I start to long for quality time spent with family and friends, rather than conquering my list of festive activities.

Too often we think generosity is all about the stuff we buy, make and give. When we think of generosity in these narrow terms, it turns into an expensive and endless to-do list. Something intended as an expression of joy and open-handedness can become the root of exhaustion and resentment.

How can we push pause and stop doing, and start being?

We believe that people are greater than projects. That the time you spend with others is more important than any project you may think should take priority. So as you consider your to-do list in this final week before Christmas, think of ways to value those you love with your time and presence.

The Generosity Project is about inspiring #generousliving. We will be sharing content over the next few weeks to spark new ideas and re-imagining of the holiday season, as well as daily ideas of small ways to begin building your generosity muscles to make #generousliving a habit for the upcoming new year!

Join us and invite your friends to join the challenge on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

#generousliving #generosityproject #GiveMoreSpendLess

The circle of generosity . . . Who benefits?

The act of sharing can be extremely powerful. In fact, it can have a exponential effect on people. In the recent past, you may have heard stories of people doing small acts of kindness. They go something like this: one person buys coffee for the person behind them in line, the next does the same, and so on – with more and more people getting in on the act. But why would someone ever do this?

One reason might be the simple fact that if someone is kind to you, you will likely feel good and might be inclined to do something kind for someone else. I refer to this as the circle of generosity (a more technical term of this behavior has been called upstream reciprocity). Martin Nowak writes that, “This every day experience is borne out by experimental games: the recipients of an act of kindness are more likely to help in turn, even if the person who benefits from their generosity is somebody else.” Nowak argues that this misdirected act of gratitude, you help somebody because somebody else has helped you, alone does not lead to the evolution of cooperation, but it can evolve and increase the level of cooperation if it is linked to either direct or spatial reciprocity.

Common Change has been focused on cultivating circles of generosity (direct or spatial reciprocity, in Nowak’s words). Increasing the level of cooperation and collaboration in sharing with one another has its benefits.

A few benefits include:

  1. pooling money together with others illuminates an economy of abundance and opens up possibilities about how we might help
  2. collaborating with others lends itself to better decisions about how to give and reminds us that we are not alone
  3. advocating for what matters most to us increases engagement and empathy in our lives and relationships
  4. bringing what we have (resources, time, skills, & etc) together opens up a wider array of opportunities regarding how we each have something to offer
  5. intentionally inviting others to share in decision-making taps into the power of collective wisdom and co-creativity

The move from random acts of kindness towards giving with others, with a desire for cooperation and collaboration, is referred to as collaborative giving. Collaborative giving is more than sharing stuff or money as a group. It’s about discovering what each of us has to contribute. Rooting ourselves in collaborative giving is about seeking to discover and honor everyone’s contribution. By bringing what we each have we are able to give away more than money, we are able to share our (w)holistic self.

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Relationships > Transactions

After years of giving in ways that disconnected me from my resources and from the real needs of those I cared for – cutting a check to a remote organization, throwing coins in a bowl –  I longed for giving that was more deeply engaged and transformative; that drew me into mutuality. That allowed me to share my experience, insight, time, hands and encouragement, not just my money

Often, we think of generosity as the mere transfer of resources from those who have, to those who don’t have. The “generous” in this definition are always the givers, and the receivers are rendered invisible. It matters little who they are, only that they are. When we think of generosity in transactional terms – one paying, one getting – we miss out on the richness and depth of a truly transformative interaction.

We believe that relationships are greater than transactions. That generosity moves in ebbs and flows between us. That what we have to give is not in proportion to the size of our bank accounts. We think that true generosity is more than charity, benevolence or philanthropy; it is a call to friendship.

Our greatest things of value are not things; they’re people

The Generosity Project is about inspiring #generousliving. We will be sharing content over the next few weeks to spark new ideas and re-imagining of the holiday season, as well as daily ideas of small ways to begin building your generosity muscles to make #generousliving a habit for the upcoming new year!

Join us and invite your friends to join the challenge on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

#generousliving #generosityproject #GiveMoreSpendLess

Abundance > Scarcity

What does an economy of enough look like? We’re heading into a season where we’re told we need MORE: to buy more, get more, do more, have more and eat more. This reckless pursuit of more only leaves us with LESS: less time, less money, less hope and less perspective.  As the holiday season ramps up we’re at risk of finding ourselves with more exhaustion and less energy; more debt and less freedom; more obligation and less inspiration. Maybe even more stuff and less appreciation for it.

How do we push pause and recalibrate our hearts, minds, hands – and wallets?

When we shift perspective and begin from the belief that we have enough, we are emboldened to live out of a sense of satisfaction and security versus fear and desire. We can look boldly into the lives of others, realizing that we are not limited by scarcity or competition for limited resources or crippled by mindsets that drive us to want and need more. We can respond generously to those around us. We can hold all we have – our stuff, our time, our resources, our expertise and networks – with open hands. We no longer look for what we can get back. We pursue what we can give back.

The Generosity Project is about inspiring #generousliving. We will be sharing content over the next few weeks to spark new ideas and re-imagining of the holiday season, as well as daily ideas of small ways to begin building your generosity muscles to make #generousliving a habit for the upcoming new year!

Join us and invite your friends to join the challenge on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

#generousliving #generosityproject #GiveMoreSpendLess

5 ideas for a #GivingTuesday generosity chain

We believe that generosity begets generosity so go out of your way this #GivingTuesday to start a chain reaction of generosity! Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line
2. Pay for someone’s groceries at the check-out counter
3. Send an encouraging personal email to a colleague
4. Cook double tonight and take the extra around to a friend’s house
5. Carry quarters and top up expiring parking meters

We want to hear what you get up to! Tag @4commonchange on Twitter using #givingtuesday #generosityproject