Are You Ready To Make Some Change – Then Give It All Away?

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Free Money Day logo - coin breaking chains around wrists

Free Money Day – 15 September 2012

Many of you may know that I am involved with a group called the Post Growth Institute (PGI), an international network of volunteers whose work is about exploring paths to global prosperity that do not depend on economic growth (‘beyond bigger, towards better’).

One of PGI’s initiatives is ‘Free Money Day’, a global stunt held on 15 September each year, in which people hand out their own money to complete strangers and ask recipients to pass half on to someone else.

The premise is very simple: Get some money, break it down into small coins or notes, and give them away two at a time. Ask each person you give it to to pass one of them on to someone else. That’s it! People got very creative last year, with events ranging from handouts in the street, to a cyber-event, to randomly distributed pieces of art around town.

Free Money Day is an opportunity to get creative and have some fun in order to think differently and have some different conversations about money: the meaning it holds for us, the ways we engage with it, and how we might do so differently. It is a way to spark conversations about the benefits of economies based on sharing, and also allows us to think about wealth in ways other than those that centre on money.

If you’d like to be part of this social experiment and ‘signal interruption’ to business as usual, it’s as simple as making a pledge, and giving away even a small amount (say $10), anywhere, and telling your story. If you can get pictures or footage to share, even better!

Check out this short clip to see what happened when people gave away their money in public, for free, last year:

The options are endless. For instance, Free Money Day would be a fantastic school-based event through which students of any age can explore the history of money and experience the ‘richness’ of giving.

Being a symbolic event intended to inspire dialogue and alternative possibilities, participation does not require having a lot of cash to give away. In fact, including barter activities in Free Money Day events would be an exciting development! Free Money Day 2012 aims to kick the giving up a notch by also including the forgiving of formal and informal debts on both personal and institutional levels in the activity.

If you’re curious about how people respond to such a reversal of giving (handing money out, instead of asking others to do so), here are a few reflections from last year’s event which took place in over 60 locations worldwide:

Those are the moments in life that I’m PASSIONATE about. Moments that challenge common conceptions, touch people in a different way that might actually make a shift in paradigm, generate debate and bring back LOVE to our lives – Axel

Inspired me to become more pro-active about the things I value and believe could improve the standard of living of others – Nudzejma

I think about all the time. I have a family, I want to look after them the best I can. So, obviously amassing as much as I can gives them the lifestyle that I want to give them. This concept of…having someone give it back to you throws everything on its head, gives me a chance to reflect…It never is enough. You just tend to spend as much as you make – Ted

I’m a homeless man and I often get confronted by beggars coming up to me in the street, cutting me off, confrontational, and asking for spare change. Now, the awareness of this today is so cool because if everyone went around giving, no one would be asking…and the world would be such a better place – Joe

If you wish to participate, please sign up! You can be the driver of your own event, and share the experience with others around the world via photos, video, text, or whatever media works for you.

If you want to learn more, you can find frequently asked questions, contact information, news from previous events, and more details on the Free Money Day website.

This post includes content from the article by PGI’s Janet Newbury, which was originally published at postgrowth.org

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