Imagine you could find most of the things you need, all from people you trust, in only 90 minutes! That’s the Offers and Needs Market, a mashup between speed dating, Craigslist and a time bank.
The Offers and Needs Market (OANM), https://www.postgrowth.org/offers-and-needs-markets, is a 90-minute process in which community members come together to identify and exchange their passions, knowledge, skills, resources and needs. In small groups (at tables of 6-8), people define and share their offers and needs in a rapid-fire process.
The market was developed by Donnie Maclurcan in 2011 in response to the alienating impact capitalism was having on his community. Donnie also founded the Post-Growth Institute, “Shifting the worldview from bigger to better”, www.postgrowth.org, which conducts the OANM.
The OANM rebuilds the trust and confidence that individuals need to engage with their communities in deep and meaningful ways. Since 2011, markets have been run in more than 30 locations worldwide, engaging over 1200 people.
Through the OANM, participants have gained employment, found places to live,
promoted new businesses, located items they needed, and initiated significant
friendships. The process is a proven way to boost self-esteem and positivity, while
dramatically increasing the local sourcing of goods and services.
The OANM is a powerful way that quickly improves people’s well-being, and is a rapid way to strengthen the local economy. These events are electrifying - 53% of participants meet a possible collaborator, almost one in ten meet a possible employer and 11% a potential business partner. With all this focus on community, it’s no wonder that 35% of OANM participants say they plan to source more of their goods locally.
Following their OANM experience, 43% of people report feeling more positive about their lives, and 50% are more willing to trust others when they are exchanging goods. Additionally, 77% of participants feel more confident expressing their offers and their needs. There are many stories of successful matches and unexpected connections people made.
Some comments from participants:
“Some immediate needs were met and it opened the door to a future job possibility.”
“This raised me up! I’m inspired by the creative opportunity to come up with offers and needs outside of my professional business offerings. Listening to other people’s needs got me thinking about what I could offer.”
“This event was the most effective way I’ve seen of strengthening community
connections in a short amount of time. I was inspired by the array of capabilities,
knowledge, services, and products that people have to offer. This was a valuable
networking event because you find out about what people in your community have to
offer that you might not find out about otherwise. I hope it happens again soon.”
"What a great opportunity to do a quick review of my own assets. Listening to other
people’s needs got me thinking about what I could offer...I now feel inspired and
connected. I feel a deep sense of belonging because of the supportive and safe
environment at the Offers and Needs Market."
Lynne Twist, Soul of Money Institute, https://soulofmoney.org/:
“The Offers and Needs Market is a powerful process that heals our deficit culture. It
shifts our relationships in a profound way. This is empowering people to be more than
just consumers; they become engaged citizens caring for one another. In a world where people understood sufficiency, we would be thriving, and everyone would experience prosperity, not because of accumulation but because of what they share with each other. Contributing gives you an experience of your own fullness. I want to be known for what I allocate, not what I accumulate.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, author of Emergent Strategy, https://www.alliedmedia.org/esii:
“We need collective strategies to engage in a collaborative economy. There are so many unspoken needs. People have been socialized to experience scarcity as a political
construct. Charity upholds power dynamics because it flows one way. I love the Offers
and Needs Market because it taps into the oldest structures by which people exchanged
goods, services, care, and food. This modern practice of an ancient market system invites authentic connection that honors the needs of each person, without creating a false equity. It is exciting to hear about this practice of an ancient system of exchange.”
Riane Eisler Ph.D., author of the Real Wealth of Nations and founder of the Center for Partnership Studies:
“There is enormous value in people coming together for the Offers and Needs Market
and exploring new ways of thinking, acting, and being.”