November 27, 2018

The Power of Giving

Today is Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday was started 2012 by the 92nd Street Y (an organization I’ve lectured at before!) and the United Nations Foundation as a response to the increasing commercialization and consumerism in our world, specifically around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The purpose was to create an international day focused on the act of giving at the beginning of the holiday season.

Especially in times where there is so much violence, so much competition and so much separation between humans, it’s important for us to regularly reconnect with the fact that we are all made of the same stuff, and struggle with similar issues. And that we all could use (or need) a little help sometime.

From my experience, giving not only helps the recipient, but also the person performing the act of service. In times when I’ve felt completely helpless with situations happening in our country the only thing that eased the pain just a little bit was to show up and give in any way I could. I organized a fundraiser in my building when families were initially being separated at the border (more to come with the most recent unthinkable tear gassing situation) and I feel fortunate to have a platform where I can share about charities that are trying to do good in the world. It’s not enough, but it’s something and somewhere we can all start.  

This isn’t just me and my experience.

According to research done by philanthropy advisor, Jenny Santi:

“We learn early on that it is better to give than to receive. We are taught to give and it feels good to help someone in need. But is there a deeper current to giving?

Today, scientific research provides compelling data to support the notion that giving one’s time, talents and treasures is a powerful pathway to finding purpose, transcending difficulties, and finding fulfillment and meaning in life.

There is a growing body of evidence that shows we are evolving to become more compassionate and collaborative in our quest to survive and thrive.”

Yes – there is actual science proving that altruism through giving, acts of service and extending kindness is beneficial to your health and happiness.In addition, I believe when we give our time, energy and resources, we are disproving the subconscious belief that there’s not enough (money, time, fame, love, etc).

Are you sold on the power of giving?

Here are a few easy ways to celebrate and give today:

  • Donate to a cause. Here are a few ideas of charities to give to:
    • Families Belong Together
    • Planned Parenthood
    • Ronald McDonald House Charities
    • Breast Cancer Research Foundation
    • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
    • Boys and Girls Clubs of America
    • Your alma mater or your child’s (grandchild’s) alma mater
    • An organization that you received support or scholarship from
  • Give your time or energy. Here are a few more personal ways to give:
    • Send a friend $5 for a tea or coffee – This is an idea I picked up from Rachel Cargle – Venmo/PayPal/CashApp a friend $5 out of the blue for an afternoon tea and tell them how proud you are of them.
    • Write a gratitude letter or email – Think of someone who’s done something for you (even if it’s as simple as being a good friend) and write them a letter expressing your gratitude. Bonus points if you actually snail mail it.
    • Leave an extra generous tip at your favorite restaurant or coffee shop.
    • Stash a note in a loved one’s pocket or purse (especially great if you’re traveling and won’t see that person for a while – they’ll find your note after you’re gone but still feel you!)
    • Volunteer! There are so many opportunities to give your time – seek out a local soup kitchen, animal shelter or school, or use a search engine like VolunteerMatch to find a non-profit that could use someone with your specific skills.

I feel more empowered and motivated to make giving a priority just by writing this newsletter to you.

Let’s get in the giving spirit together! Pick one way you’ll give this week and then leave a comment below when you’ve done it and how you feel to inspire us all.

Photos: Caitlyn Mitchell

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