The Virtual Marketplace

The Virtual Marketplace (like The Marketplace) is a high energy, 30-minute exercise that can be used to help people identify and exchange gifts, favors, and advice. However, the Virtual Marketplace is done online just like at Shoppok. It was developed by Neighbor Up members in response to COVID-19.

It brings to life our interconnectedness by showing that we all have gifts and we all have value. When a diverse group of people gather to engage in real time exchange, we take the time to:

  • see each other as part of a support network
  • learn to ask for what we need,
  • continually explore and reveal the value that we have in our community.

As a result, we increase abundance in our community and build relationships across differences.

This exercise is optimal for groups of 15 to 25, and it’s FUN!


  • 1 Virtual Marketplace Leader
  • 1 Virtual Market Time Keeper
  • 2-3 Virtual Market Scribes


  • A video conferencing platform like Zoom with the capability to call in, too
  • A Google spreadsheet for the scribes to record the offers, requests and declarations

Before You Start!

  • Someone (possibly the scribe) can be sharing music at the beginning so it’s not quiet when everyone enters. You can do this by going to “Share” at the bottom of the screen → Advanced→ and clicking Share computer sound. 
  • Tips for Market Place Leaders:
    • It is helpful to have 2 people tag-team the hosting role so that multiple people can share the responsibility of guiding through this together. We usually have one person handle the Welcome, Intros and Marketplace instructions; another person handles the Virtual Tips and Responsible Community Building sections. The Virtual Tips & Responsible Community Building are a little bit easier, so they are a great first step for someone interested in hosting. Decide who is going to do what part before you start.
    • Also remember to make the Scribe a co-host of the event so that person can share their screen if asked.
  • Tips for Scribes:
    • It helps to have 2-3 Scribes 
    • Decide who will be in charge of collecting which information beforehand. For example, someone may want to be in charge of collecting the offer/request while someone else collects the matches and contact information. 
    • Have the Virtual Marketplace sheet  up and ready before you start. Please make a copy of the Template Tab to use for your Marketplace. Follow the instructions on the Welcome Tab to make a copy. 


  • Thank you SO very much for joining us today! My name is_______ I’m a member of the NUp Network!
  • Who else here is a member of the Network, raise your hands or get a heeey!
  • If you aren’t a member, we are also happy to have you! 
  • Today we are here innovating together by taking the Marketplace, an activity many of us know and love, virtual! So we ask for your feedback later, and your patience now.
  • One of the core beliefs of Neighbor Up is that everyone has something to share, some way to participate in community.  We all have skills, talents, and knowledge to offer the world and each other. 
    • The Marketplace is a simple practice that gives us a chance to make requests, offers and declarations. It’s our way of making sure we support each other. 

Virtual Tips

(It’s good to read this verbatim)

And now for some quick tips on using Zoom so that we can flow a little more easily. If you are a Zoom expert already, we thank you for your patience as we bring everyone along to participate:

  • Muting: Unlike many zoom meetings, we invite you to keep your mic unmuted! However, if you have a lot of background noise, you may want to mute your mic from time to time until you are ready to talk.     
    • To mute yourself you can hover over or tap the bottom of the screen and select the microphone button. If you are on the phone you can press Pound 6 to mute and unmute. If you are on the computer, hitting the spacebar and holding it down while you talk will unmute your microphone
    • If it’s too loud we may ask you to mute yourself. No offense. 
  • Chat Function: To maximize your participation, please open the chat function by maximizing Zoom on your screen and then hovering over and clicking the “chat” button on the bottom of your screen. You should then see a chat bar on the side of your screen. If you are on your phone, you can tap in the bottom right corner of your screen to get the chat function.
  • Video does eat up your battery, so turn it on and off if necessary or be prepared to plug in and charge. You can turn off your video by clicking on the camera at the bottom of your screen.
  • If the screen is freezing or the sound is cutting out, consider stopping your video. You can still see us and hear us, and we can hear you when you’re not muted.

If this is too much for you, just know that it’s okay. You don’t have to worry about any of these details. Just hang in there. We’ll help you as we go along. If anyone is new to Zoom, feel free to raise your raise hand now and we will do our best to support you! 


Before we get started we are going to see who is on the call today! When someone passes to you, please say your name and your neighborhood and then choose someone to throw it to next. As this happens our scribe ___________ will be writing down your name and neighborhood to set us up to connect later. I will start, my name is _______ I live ___________, and I am going to throw it to____________.

*Go around to everyone, starting with known Network members so people can see how it works. Make sure to remember the folks on the phone. If someone forgets to pass it to the next person,  prompt them to do so or do it for them. 

*Right now the Scribe is adding each name to the Marketplace Place spreadsheet. This is important because it gets everyone’s voice in the room and participating.

Responsible Community Building

  • Before we dive in, we want to make sure that as we continue to build community during this time of physical separation, we are doing it safely
  • Here are some guidelines:
    • We are being asked stay home except for essential needs including:
      • Health and safety reasons
      • Groceries/Pharmacy
      • Walking/running exercising outside
      • Delivering items to people who cannot go out
    • So as we are offering each other mutual support, remember that it is important that we do so without spreading COVID-19. Even when delivering items, the best practice is to leave items on a person’s porch without making physical contact.
  • Following these guidelines is how we can truly support and take care of each other.

Marketplace Instructions

Okay now we are ready for a quick review of the Marketplace, this is how it works:

  • Today we will take about 30 minutes in the group to see if there are any requests, offers or declarations that are pressing for folks. This is a quick and fun way to promote mutual exchange – since we are all getting used to technology we may slow it down a little bit.     
  • There are 3 roles in the Marketplace:

The Leader: This person keeps us moving quickly through the marketplace. I will make sure I get your information and will repeat it so everyone can hear 

The Scribe: This person will record your name and your request, offer, or declaration, as well as the names of those who want to match with you. You will be able to get this information at the end of the call. Today our scribe will be …. Finally, we need…

The Timekeeper: This person will keep us on track and on time. At the end of your 1 minute the timekeeper will alert us all, and we will clap for you before we move on to the next person. Today our timekeeper will be… 

One thing to note is that your 1 minute needs to include your request, offer or declaration AND leave some time for people to match with you. 

  • We will also be asking for your contact information so people can follow up on matches. The document (ask scribe to share screen for a moment) looks like this, and will be shared with everyone at the end of the session. This information is listed publicly at for those on the phone. If you do not want your contact information shared publicly, please make that known, and make sure to leave your contact info in the chat so the people on this call can still connect with you. 

If we’re not able to capture all the names for all the matches, you can still type in the comments, by saying your name and who you want to match with, for example: “Erika wants to match with Natalie.”

  • Everyone will have a chance to make an Offer, Request, or Declaration, or you can pass. I will call on you when it’s your turn.  Don’t forget that passing is okay- it allows us to get to everyone! 
    • An Offer is something you have to give. For example: I have extra toilet paper if anyone needs some. OR I know a lot about the city parks and would be happy to suggest beautiful walks to people. 
    • A Request is something you are looking for. For example: I am looking for someone to teach me to use Google Docs.
    • A Declaration is just that, a statement you make to make publicly. For example: I am going to sit on my porch at 7PM everyday to say to anyone who walks by. 
  • Okay let’s get started…

Start with those people who are most familiar with the Virtual Marketplace so that everyone can see how it is done. Read each person’s name on the sheet and let them say their Request, Offer or Declaration. Sometimes people use their one minute to make more than one.

After the Marketplace:

  • That was awesome- thank you!! 
  • The link to this document is provided here in the chat and it will be on so you can refer back to your matches. If you DO NOT want your information out there, please message us right away. 
  • Remember the Marketplace is all about personal exchange. It only works if we follow through on the connections we make today!