What is Collaborative Giving?
Collaborative Giving is a community building practice where friends, colleagues or community members who have a common desire to assist in meeting needs of people in their community give to a common fund and make collective decisions on how to help their neighbors. When a member sees a need in their community, they can share the request with the group. By being part of a group and financial fund larger than themselves, Collaborative Giving gives each member the power to know they can make a difference and a sense that they can be creator of community and not merely a spectator.
Why Do I Participate in Collaborative Giving?
I participate in Collaborative Giving because I want to live in a world where my community is defined by giftedness, generosity and abundance. Collaborative Giving is a practice that frees me from focusing on my lack of resources or abilities in the way it facilitates valuing the giftedness of friends. Collaborative Giving changes the context of giving from a focus on the transaction to a focus on building relationships. A community focused on relationships is enriched by the diversity of gifts and experiences every participant brings to the table. The practice of collaborative giving also facilitates a generous community by rejecting a false narrative of resource scarcity, where everyone must be self-sufficient for what they need. Self-sufficiency can lead to isolation from sharing in the abundance of gifts, talents and resources of their community. A generous community builds a strong social fabric and can share out of its collective abundance, leaving no one isolated or in need.
How Can You Participate in Collaborative Giving?
Common Change provides a platform that makes the practice of Collaborative Giving very easy with its online tool. Additionally, Common Change works with groups to facilitate Generosity Dinners where your friends gather together to break bread, share stories of those that can use assistance to get over their next huddle and collectively decide how to help.
Here in North Carolina, we started a Common Change group called ‘Generosity of North Carolina’. We use the Common Change platform to give recurring donations to our group’s fund and share needs of those we know. Giving is on a one degree of separation basis, helping individuals, not organizations. 100% of the money donated to our Common Change group goes to meet the needs shared by our group, making it clear exactly how your money is helping out.
How does the Common Change Platform Work?
In December, I became aware of a waitress at a local brewery who was saving all her wages and tips to go on a missions trip with World Race. Unfortunately, one pay period, her tips were lost which placed a financial burden on her and a set her back toward her fundraising goal. Knowing that I had a fund available to assist neighbors in need and a network of generous friends who care about our community and who don’t want financial trouble to isolate us from building community, I shared the need with my group by posting a financial request on the Generosity of North Carolina’s Common Change account. Our group asked questions about the need and made a collective decision on how best to help. Once the members of Generosity of North Carolina voted to help the waitress, Common Change issued a check to the missions organization in the name of our friend with a letter explaining why she was receiving this gift.