Seven inspiring practices of sharing money

By Wouter Hillaert & Common Income

I. Collectief Kapitaal (NL)


Collectief Kapitaal was started in September 2021 by Denise Harleman. During COVID-19, as a basic income experiment in Amsterdam, 100 citizens agreed to pay a monthly sum of 50 euro for eight months and offer it as a basic income of 1.000 euros for eight months (= 40.000 euro in total) to five individuals/families, next to their minimal income.

Part of the experiment were active discussions among the 100 initial donors about certain dilemmas. Basic principles behind Collectief Kapitaal are ‘trust’, ‘dignity’ and ‘autonomy’. It is meant to offer security to people and inspire policy makers.



By December 2022, Collectief Kapitaal had developed into a community of 915 donors who contributed 236.000 euro in total. Now, ten people in Rotterdam and Amsterdam with an income below the poverty line receive 1.000 euros for 12 months.

Collectief Kapitaal has been developed as a collective of people that wants change in society: “It’s about what kind of society you want to live in, and which relations you have to others”.


Recipients of the basic income have been selected by lottery after an open call for ‘minima’: people living on a minimal wage. During the experiment, they are asked to testify to their experience, if they want.

The group of donors is very diverse in terms of age, education and living area. “In fact, they only agree about our basic principles”. They believe in the idea of a basic income, feel the need for system change, are curious about new forms of redistribution, want to share experiences and knowledge, or they just want to give.

II. Tontine (Global South)



Tontine is a simple community saving system without interest. In this system, 12 individuals pay a small, fixed amount every month to a collective pot while one of them can take out the total amount for that month.

Tontine is common practice mostly in the Global South – in contexts where it’s difficult to save for bigger expenditures and/or to have access to banks. In Congo, it’s called likelemba. In Asia, there’s the variant of the ‘chit fund’ that uses a monthly auction to determine which participant can get (part of) that month’s total capital.

Tontine is the basic mechanism behind the Nobel Prize winning idea of ‘microcredit financing’, developed by Muhammad Yunus. Originally, it refers to an old European (pension) saving system initiated by the Italian banker, Lorenzo de Tonti, in 1653 in Naples.


With likelemba, 12 participants with small incomes (often women) pay, for instance, 20 dollars every month to a collective pot. Every month, one participant gets the whole pot (240 dollars) to pay for a wedding or make a bigger investment. By the end of the year, every participant has used the collective monthly payment once.

A more advanced form of Tontine is ROSCA (Rotating Savings And Credit Association): a number of individuals agree to form a collective for a defined period (e.g. six months, one year) in order to save and borrow together as a form of combined peer-to-peer banking and peer-to-peer lending. Differing from likelemba, there’s an accumulation of the common capital, so every individual gets more than s/he invested initially.


Participants often have a close and informal relation to each other: they are relatives, live in the same village or do similar work. These social connections are important because the whole system is built on trust and solidarity. Money serves to strengthen the community.

III. Mein Grundeinkommen



Since 2014, Mein Grundeinkommen is a large German crowdfunding practice in which thousands of individuals donate to a fund that raffles 25 unconditional basic incomes (UBI) every month in an online lottery event. If you win, you get 1.000 euros every month for one year. All winners are portrayed on their website with a nickname.

In 2021, Mein Grundeinkommen also initiated Pilotprojekt Grundeinkommen, the largest independent academic research project into the effects of UBI in Germany and the first one to be entirely financed by private crowdfunding. From mid 2021, 120 participants receive 1,200€ per month for a total of three years. “We want to research the actions and feelings of the participants as well as their change in values, cognitive skills and their use of time”.


Today, 180.000 people (‘crowdhörnchen’) contribute around 800.000 euro every month to Mein Grundeinkommen. They can pay from one euro a month, but one-time donations are also possible. Half of this money is distributed every month in the form of 25 basic incomes, awarded during a monthly Verlosung: livestream lottery event of 45 minutes. The other half of the collective capital is invested in the organisation itself, which engages 30 people. As a crowdfunder, you can choose to spend less on the organisation and more on the UBIs.


Mein Grundeinkommen is a Berlin based non-profit organisation, founded by Michael Bohmeyer. Everyone in the world can register for the next lottery event. In the Verlosung of April 2022, around 955.000 people took part, while more than 200.000 crowdfunders contributed to the amount that was raffled that month.

IV. SOS Relief (BE)



SOS Relief was an online matching tool developed in Spring 2020 by the Belgian artist platform, State Of The Arts. It facilitated person-to-person financial solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic, by connecting people in need directly with people who wanted to give. Small amounts (50 to 400 euros) were transferred directly to the receiver’s bank account. Two years later, more than 250.000 euros had been exchanged.

The SOS Relief tool led to two sister initiatives: OMUZ in Turkey (using different temporary rounds of exchanges for skipping wait lists) and “An Urgent Embrace” by Globe Aroma in Belgium (working with newcomers who do not always have a bank account).


As SOS Relief wanted to foster interpersonal solidarity, only private individuals could participate, not organisations. Everyone could receive only once but give many times. Users were choosing between ‘receive’ and ‘give’ and between 50€, 100€, 200€ and 400€. With these small amounts, SOS Relief didn’t want to release the Belgian state from its responsibility to organise more structural support measures.

Matching happened on the principle of ‘first come, first serve’: givers were invited by email to transfer their selected amount directly to the bank account of a receiver. To shorten the waiting list, a more structured donor option was provided: “Golden Relievers” engaged to pay 50€, 100€, 200€ or400 € every month to someone else for half a year.


SOS Relief was open for ‘anyone based in Belgium’ and not limited to artists. Based on the principle of trust, the identity of givers or receivers was not checked, and participants were not obliged to give any explanation. “But we invite people to evaluate for themselves how big their need is before asking.” In total, 800 receivers and 900 givers were involved.

V. Social Income (CH/SL)



Since 2020, Social Income is a pilot project between the Swiss art organisation Random Institute (Zurich) and an artist collective in Freetown in Sierra Leone. European participants contribute 1% of their monthly income to provide a three-year basic income to people in Sierra Leone, one of the poorest countries in the Global South. They get 30 dollars/month, while the average income is 45 dollars.

Social Income combines three approaches to change: 1. the promise of Universal Basic Income, 2. the benefits of direct cash transfers, 3. the power of mobile banking. As of Dec. 2022, 112 recipients are enrolled in Social Income’s three-year programme, supported by 175 contributors (from 17 countries) for 228.000 euros in total.


On the Social Income website, a calculator helps you to determine your monthly income. It explains what 1% of this amount means for a potential recipient in Sierra Leone. Individuals pay a monthly, quarterly, or annual contribution while institutions can make a one-time contribution as well. 100% of individual contributions are paid directly to recipients’ mobile phones.


Potential new recipients in Sierra Leone are determined by local advocates and partner organisations of Social Income. The major principle for this selection is to keep up a strict gender balance/equality and to only support people in need.

Today, apart from the initial artists, a list of local widows and people with disabilities in Sierra Leone’s coastal area receive support by Social Income. In the spirit of the Universal Basic Income, ‘recipients can use the money as they please’.

VI. The Common Wallet (BE)



The Common Wallet is a Brussels collective that started in January 2018 among ten artists and cultural workers. They share one common bank account, onto which they transfer all of their personal income and from which they pay all their daily personal expenses. Every week, the members of the Common Wallet meet to check in with each other as a form of kinship. “We have expanded the notion of family.”

Basic values of the Common Wallet are trust, generosity and solidarity. By detaching money from individual ownership, the Common Wallet participants question taboos and injustices within the current financial system. They aim to convert money into a means of enabling listening, care, transparency and even joy among people.


All members have a personal bank card and access to all transactions, but there’s no control of who’s spending what. The basic principle is not to judge others’ expenses. “Aiming at challenging the culture of individualism, competition and antagonism that prevails in our neoliberal societies, the Common Wallet practices and reflects on alternative modalities to relate to each other, to work and to money.” Mortgages are left out of the experiment.


All members of the Common Wallet are cultural workers and live (close to each other) in Brussels. Some of them knew each other before, others didn’t.

Their situations vary: some work freelance, others have a fixed salary or are unemployed from time to time. Since the start, a few members have left the collective and others have joined. Based on their experience, the collective needs minimum 5 and maximum 11 participants. Also, at a certain moment, 7 children were involved.

VII. Broodfonds (NL)



A Broodfonds (literally: Bread Fund) is a self-governing Dutch system in which min. 20 and max. 50 independent entrepreneurs contribute to a collective fund to secure each other with a cheaper health insurance if they get sick. Basic principles of a Broodfonds are transparency, solidarity and equal conditions.

The first Broodfonds started in 2006. In December 2022, nearly 30,000 freelancers were involved in 635 local bread funds in 200 spots in Holland. Participants are not anonymous clients but meet a few times a year to decide together on the terms and conditions of their fund. In this way, a Broodfonds creates a network among entrepreneurs in the same region, seeing solidarity as a way to create their own safety net.


New members pay a one-time service fee of 250€ and a monthly contribution of 10€. They open individual bank accounts dedicated to their Broodfonds. In these accounts, they save a fixed monthly amount between 33 and 112 euros as a personal credit. When people cancel their participation, they collect this sum.

If members of a broodfonds fall sick, they receive donations from the others in their group, the total amounting to a net monthly income of between 750€ and 2500€, depending on their own monthly contribution. Members can receive support for a maximum of two years.


New bread funds are advised by the three initial founders of the first Broodfonds from 2006: Dutch entrepreneurs Biba Schoenmaker, Haiko Liefmann and André Jonkers. They are united in the Broodfonds Makers Coöperatie, the structure behind the bread funds. In December 2022, almost 15 people worked for the cooperation.

If you know other inspiring practices or projects, please email