The Offers and Needs Market

The Offers and Needs Market

Picture of Offers and Needs Market Example from SimpleREV 2015

An Offers and Needs Market (OANM) is a way to discover what kinds of support you can provide to others and what help you might get within a specific community. Each exchange builds a connection, more connections create meaningful relationships, and the collective relationships strengthen existing communities.

It's also a way to bootstrap communities by focusing on what passions, skills, resources, and connections the group already has. It highlights what people can already do and provides a positive way to short-circuit the “But … we don’t have any resources!” narrative. The emphasis is on creating and sustaining a mindset of what you can do to help – and get helped – right now.

How Does an OANM Build Community and Help You Simplify?

  • It reduces consumption. By making the most of existing assets, people don’t need to buy something that they can access when they need it.
  • It reduces waste. When someone else’s surplus or gift can become another’s resource, less material and time goes to waste.
  • It builds and enhances personal connections and community. Knowing who is doing what, who has access to what, and who knows who are vital for getting things done.
  • It’s a simple, fast, and inexpensive way to resource a movement because it focuses on what already exists and is positive in nature.
  • It’s mostly (or completely) non-commercial. OANMs don’t typically involve financial transactions.

In-Person or Virtual: It's Your Call

Whether you like sticky notes on a wall or a shared spreadsheet around the world, an OANM can be run in-person or virtually.

For Facilitators

For Participants

What Now?

If you'd like SimpleREV's founder and experienced Offers and Needs Market facilitator, Joel Zaslofsky, to potentially run one for your community, contact him here.

And if you want to prepare for an OANM or reflect upon one you experienced, consider (and hopefully answer) some modified questions from Peter Block's book, Community: A Structure of Belonging.

  • What has someone in your community done today that has moved you or been valuable to you?
  • How did someone in your community engage you in a way that had meaning?
  • What gift do you have that nobody knows about?
  • What are you grateful for that has gone unspoken?
  • What is the positive feedback you receive that still surprises you?
  • What is the gift you have that you don't fully acknowledge?