Banner mit Schriftzug Methode

About Marketplace method

Cross sector cooperations of business, civil society and government increasingly proof to be promising pathways towards innovative solutions to solve social challenges and to shape sustainable communities. As a breeding ground to spread shared responsibility Social Marketplaces provide an easy to step in speed dating format to locally initiate cooperations of business and community organisations from scratch.

However, in most communities, the rise of new social cooperative processes between companies, non-profit organisations and public administrations is often characterised by a number of contingencies.

Social Marketplaces, which foster the cooperation between business and civil society, give practical impulses for a societal exchange on an intersectoral and local level, and create a breeding ground for the expansion of shared responsibility. They are events where people come together, do business and provide a setting for commercial and social exchange.

The Marketplace method is based on the concept of providing a forum where companies and non-profit organisations can meet to establish new social cooperation. As in a traditional market, participants specify what they have to offer and/or are looking for (supply and demand), and seek appropriate partners.

Money is taboo

During the Marketplace event, both sides are constrained by one rule: money must not be used as a means of exchange. The idea is not to make or receive donations, but to initiate cooperation – by jointly doing something practical and meaningful for the community, as well as by getting to know each other and exchanging ideas, as companies and non-profits often work and act in the same neighbourhood without knowing anything about each other.

Depending on their resources, companies can assist non-profits by providing manpower, expertise, logistical support or contacts. In return, non-profit organisations can offer companies the opportunity to participate in their projects and hence offering the opportunity to gain useful and unique insights into their sphere of activities and to profit from their services.

The goal: Robust partnerships for civic engagement

It is important for a sustainable society that non-profit organisations and companies work together. The Marketplace principle is a way of promoting more robust cooperative ventures and encouraging a new way of looking at the challenges facing society.

Useful material for organising a marketplace

This website provides useful material and acquired know-how to help you creating your own Social Marketplace, to foster cooperation between business and civil society in your region. Experiences and material are based on more than 100 Marketplaces in Germany and over 500 in the Netherlands over the past 10 years.


The website of the marketplace method is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services you agree to our use of cookies. Learn more