Over the past decade a small but growing number of people have been making monthly financial contributions together with people they know, making it possible for their Common Change groups to help people they care about. From this group fund small gifts with great love have been made. Thousands of requests have been presented and met – from helping start micro businesses, covering rent and utilities, to a weekend away for couple who needed rest.
One of the things that makes Common Change unique is a simple but profound decision to start first by pooling money together. By starting with a group of people who decides to contribute a monthly amount together instead of first starting with specific needs and/or opportunities to donate money to, Common Change has introduced a new way of giving charitably. This is a key distinction of how Common Change works and operates.
Intentionally starting with the group fund, members experience the deep phenomenon of abundant giving. By pooling together the little or lot that we start with, the abundance of the resources is emphasized rather than the scarcity of the need. The shift may seem subtle but has exponential impact in its application.
Abundance is the “yes and”. It is about possibility and imagination of what might be. It is building win/win relationships for all who are involved. It is the realization that we have strengths and potentials, and that we all have something to contribute.
The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed. Mahatma Gandhi
Popular crowd funding sites like gofundme.com, kickstarter.com, and Indiegogo.com have allowed individuals to raise money for a stated need. I’m in need of X, looking to raise X dollars, for X reason. While there has been a significant amount of money raised by these platforms, Common Change has created a different approach that allows for ordinary people to do extraordinary things together.
By pooling resources together with people you know, a group begins to reflect that there is enough for all of us. It’s not that there’s too many people or not enough stuff as much as it is that we as a people are still learning how to share with one another.
To cultivate abundant giving with other people, here are a few suggestions:
- Name what matters to you.
- Appreciate what you have over what you want.
- Create an environment of abundance and join Common Change
- Give to others. Set up a monthly contribution.
- Practice gratitude. Share items/clothing that you have not worn in 12 months (or even consider sharing items you like!).
- Begin thinking of people you know, or want to get to know, who might benefit from a gift.
- Invite two people to do steps 1 and 2 for 6 months.
- Share secretively, without expectation to receive in return.
- Host a generosity dinner.
- Remind yourself … you have enough.
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” John Bunyon