One Person at a Time: How Individuals Can Support Shared Resources

I was recently traveling for my Summer vacation. When I would come across new people and tell them about my work at The Nonprofit Centers Network, I got the typical mix of responses that I’ve come to expect. They range from, “Wow! Sharing space and resources makes so much sense for the nonprofit sector,” to the confused “That’s nice, but what do you really do?” Then there was a conversation with a woman that caught me by surprise.   From the way she reacted, I knew immediately that she was one of those who “got it” right away. Towards the end of our conversation, she asked me, “What can I do to support this idea? I don’t run a nonprofit organization, and I’m not a philanthropist.”  Here are some of the tips I shared (and some I wish I had thought of at the time!):

  • Learn about all the innovative shared spaces in your community and go see them in action. You can find shared spaces in your backyard on the NCN Center Map. If it’s too difficult to see this idea in person, you can read more about these examples online at the NCN blog.
  • Introduce the idea of sharing to the nonprofits in your circle. We are all connected to the nonprofit sector in one way or another. Maybe you volunteer or you benefit from programs. Maybe your cousin is on the board of the local United Way. We are all part of networks vital for spreading ideas.
  • Make a donation to your local shared space, fiscal sponsor, or shared services organization (or maybe even NCN). Innovative approaches to shared infrastructure don’t tug on your heartstrings like the puppies at the local animal shelter or the Girl Scouts selling cookies. But, we are revolutionizing how the nonprofit sector uses resources and magnifying our impact. It’s definitely a smart way to donate.
  • Become a member of The Nonprofit Centers Network. Our community is continuously challenging what it means to change the world. You’ll hear all about the latest ideas on our listserv and you’ll connect with changemakers working on issues close to your heart.

Got other ideas? Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments!


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