Is Your Nonprofit Participating in the Sharing Economy?

Problem: Most NPOs lack resources for operations and growth.

Solution: The Nonprofit sector participating in the Sharing Economy.

The sharing economy is a concept that highlights the ability and preference for individuals and organisations to use, share, lease or borrow products and services. It allows multiple end users to collectively develop and consume products and services versus purchasing and maintaining them on an individual basis.

The sharing economy has become a worldwide trend and for good reasons. Using another individual or organisation’s non-operational time to utilise and share assets makes sense, as the owner of the asset recoups some of the costs and the user do not have to make significant investments to access the asset. Sharing economy also allows people to purchase at scale for a lower cost.

Impumelelo firmly advocates for nonprofits to engage in a collaborative/sharing economy in the nonprofit sector and across sectors. Think of what assets you or your organisation own that are currently underused. Is there perhaps another programme/organisation/individual that could make use of your office space and other assets during your downtime? Does your organisation only use the vehicles on certain days and could someone else perhaps benefit from this? Perhaps you have underutilised staff at times or maybe a group of organisations in your network could do pooled purchases to save costs. The possibilities are endless.

There are many benefits to gain from engaging in sharing economy arrangements, other than just the reduced costs.


Should you want to become part of the sharing economy, these are the 5 steps to get you started:

  1. Clarify your organisation’s goals and needs before engaging in a shared economy arrangement.
  2. Identify partners – determine if the organisation needs to collaborate with mission-aligned partners, non-competing partners or perhaps a vendor.
  3. Formalise arrangements on a contractual basis, including roles, responsibilities and expected outcomes.
  4. Get buy-in from staff and the board and educate them about the benefits of such an arrangement.
  5. Monitor results and build timelines to track progress and to address inequities and under-performance.

The Impumelelo team can facilitate this process for you and your organisation. Contact Impumelelo should you wish to explore shared economy opportunities and partnerships in our network of social innovators!