Community Exchange News

Community Exchange News is the Newsletter of the SANE Community Exchange System


  The Talent Exchange - where your money is your talent

Events: First Talent Exchange Market Day - a resounding success!

The first go-it-alone Talent Exchange Market Day was held on 24 January at Community House in Woodstock, Cape Town. It was a success beyond our wildest dreams!

This was not the Talent Exchange's first appearance at a market. For six months last year we had a stall at the Observatory Holistic Lifestyle Fair, and through them we gained many new members and a lot of exposure. We hesitated about holding our own fair for a long time as we were unsure if we had the resources or could do it without recourse to Rands. Now we have shown that we do have the resources and the we don't need to be propped up by the Rand economy.

Between T8,000 and T10,000 was traded at the Market Day, which is no small amount considering that it was our first attempt. However, the most outstanding feature of the Market Day was not the amount traded but the spirit of friendliness that it generated. The fact that everything could be done without a single Rand changing hand imparted a wonderful sense of community, and a sense of pride that we can 'go it alone'.

Apart from the range of goods, food and drinks available, a number of 'Mind & Body' practitioners offered their services, bands played, actors demonstrated their talents and visitors spoke about what the Talent Exchange does for them.

Events: Next Talent Exchange Market Days

The second Talent Exchange Market Day will be held on 21 February, at the Novalis Centre, Rosmead Avenue, Wynberg, Cape Town. With the confidence and experience gained from the first Market Day, this event is sure to be bigger than the last.

A third Talent Exchange Market Day is planned for 13 March at the Kalk Bay Community Centre.

Both events will start at 10h00 and end at approximately 16h00.

Should you wish to participate in either of these events please write to markets[at] or contact Boetie Toerien for 21 February (021 671 5730 / 083 260 2201) or Elfi Tomlinson for 13 March (021 788 7842 / 083 703 3878). As there is limited space and resources, we will accept applications on a first-come, first-served basis.

News: New CES Groups

We mentioned last month that a new group is about to start up in McGregor. While this hasn't yet got off the ground a meeting later this month will ensure that it gets going. We are excited about this project as it will set an example of how the Talent Exchange can work for diverse communities, and especially in smaller places where there is already a sense of community.

We have been approached by someone from Barrydale, a small town similar to McGregor, to start a group there. Hopefully we can get one started there too.

Site statistics: Trading picks up after year-end dip

Cape Town

January saw a dramatic increase in trading over December, which was the worst month since July when the TX was still building up to its peak levels in September and October. The only conclusion one can make from the dip is that members abandoned the Talent Exchange for the shopping malls over the Christmas period, but came back once that was over. We are aware that inconvenience is a major problem when 'shopping' in the Talent Exchange, but we hope to rectify that situation in time.

As at the end of January 2004:

The average value of transactions for the month of January is lower than the average value of all transactions because of the recent introduction of donations to the administration. These donations are recorded as normal trades and so lower the average.

Sales 2003/2004:

Month Sales Talents Total
February3 295.00 295.00
March8 394.00 689.00
April9 1,768.00 2,457.00
May21 2,802.02 5,259.02
June80 6,091.82 11,350.84
July113 10,493.65 21,844.49
August194 19,949.01 41,793.50
September263 26,404.88 68,198.38
October179 35,284.47 103,482.85
November151 18,504.75 121,987.60
December91 10,601.50 132,589.10
January316 26,223.62 158,812.72
Total1,430 158,812.72

As the Talent Exchange started at the beginning of Februrary last year, the above figures can be considered as the outcome of our first year of trading, as the figures of our first 'financial year'. Congratulations all you happy traders! Let's multiply those figures 10 time in 2004.


Month Sales Talents Total
October2 18.00 18.00
November0 0.00 18.00
December3 7,560.00 7,578.00
January12 2,014.00 9,592.00
Total17 9,592.00


Hmm, come on Johannesburg! You're supposed to be the financial centre of South Africa. Are you finding it hard to make the break from those Rand things?

Web Site: New Features

No new features were added to the web site during the recent holiday period. However a number of new features will be added soon.

To make remote trading even simpler, we plan to do away with the need to trade with an intermediate 'virtual member' when trading outside your group. In future if you want to trade with someone outside your group you will trade directly with the person as if he or she were in your group. The 'virtual members' will remain part of the system as they are required for remote trading, but they will have an almost invisible presence.

To complement the online Trading Slips, we are about to introduce online Invoices and online Order Forms. While these new features will not be required in any way, they will streamline trading and enable those who require a record of their trades to have an automatic recording system.

How these forms will work is as follows: if you want to place an order for something you will fill in the online order form and it will be sent to the seller with an automatically generated order number. You will receive by email a record of the order, which you can keep for reference purposes. When the seller has delivered the goods, it will be possible to send an invoice to the buyer. Sending the invoice to the buyer will also send a record of the invoice to the seller. The buyer will then be able to send an online Trading Slip to the seller and receive a 'counterfoil' at the same time. The seller will enter the information into his or her account and the trade cycle will be completed. Both sides will have a complete set of 'documents' for the record.

Tip: How to Attract Custom

You've had your offering there for months and no one has contacted you at all. You made one purchase in the beginning and now you don't want to buy anything more because that means going even further into the red.

This is a familiar story on the Talent Exchange. However, over T160,000 worth of goods and services has been traded, so those Talents must be going somewhere, if not to you!

Take a tip. A valuable tip. Go to 'Member Balances' on the home page of your account and see who is 'coining it'. Click on the person's name and then on the [Offerings] button just below their profile. See what they are offering. Now those offerings look different to yours, don't they.

The people who are making it on the Talent Exchange usually have a lot of offerings and their offerings tell you something interesting about what they have to offer. They are also offering THINGS THAT PEOPLE WANT!!!

So many people join the Talent Exchange and give just one offering when they send in their application. And that offering is usually what they do professionally, something like 'Graphic Artist' or 'Reiki' for example.

Now we are not saying there is no demand for graphic artists or Reiki practitioners. The problem is that there are a lot of them and in a small, closed and diverse group there is not going to be a lot of demand for things like graphic artists and various practitioners.

We are not saying remove the offering of what you do professionally, but don't let that be your only offering. Think about the many things that you can do. You will surprise yourself when you think about the things, the ordinary, everyday things that you can do. Turn these into offerings. Think of all the junk in your cupboards, on your bookshelves, in the attic, in the garage. You could sell many of those things to earn Talents.

Also, jazz up your offerings. If you have no description of what you do no one will contact you. If you convince others that your offerings are the best in the world, people will come to you.

Remember, the Talent Exchange is a support network. We are in it to help others in our community and for them to help us. Offer things that build community, not just professional services that have more relevance 'out there' in the Rand economy.

Another thing is the price of your offerings. Although we have made the Talent equivalent to the Rand to give members a reference, don't bring inflated Rand prices (embodying VAT and tax and interest etc.) to the Talent Exchange. Lower your prices to attract custom. Later you can raise them if you are overwhelmed!

The best advert on the Talent Exchange is a recommendation from another member. Once you start trading the word quickly gets around if you offer a good service or have interesting things to sell. Members will also see on the web site that you are active and that tells them you are offering something good.

So, go back to your offerings and spice up your existing ones and add a whole lot more. You can have as many as you like. It is far better having lots and lots of small offerings than one fancy-looking one that no one really wants. Once you have started attracting custom, you can always remove the offerings of the things you don't like doing.