I was at an interesting event yesterday called Sharefest. The theme, as the name implies, was the sharing economy and most of the presenting organizations were there to explain how their exchanges worked. The sharing economy is the new word for an old concept called bartering.
You know or have something and are willing to trade it for a skill or product that you need. No money involved and no taxes.
In the hands of the generation that gave us social entrepreneurs and social innovators, these sharing organizations will provide a platform for sharing skills whether that’s teaching (Trade School Toronto) or repairing (Repair Café), and for sharing stuff like tools (Toronto Tool Library) and spaces (The Dupont), and you could even share a job (CoWorking Toronto). Then there’s the collective idea that we all give and all get, like the Salad Club, and general bartering platforms like SwapCity.
This was the inaugural ShareFest and yet there were nearly 30 organizations, a room packed with interested folks and nearly every table had a dozen or more people signed up. People in small towns might laugh at this as sharing is a way of life for them. But in our big city of Toronto this is a concept that is alive and growing and I’m sure we’re not alone.
To bring this back to volunteerism, which is my focus, I see the sharing economy as a flavour of volunteerism. You give and you get back. So for those of you with useful stuff or skills, look into the sharing economy for new platforms to be engaged. It gives you the engagement of volunteerism with the side benefit that you too can be a recipient.
I’ll do your books if you will fix my taps!