For 14 years now I’ve been obsessed with a single thought. It’s a question really. A question I’ve asked a million times. And it took flying all the way to Africa to even realize it was bothering me. The question is – Why is a charitable donation so disengaging? There are other words I could
It only took one lunch with ‘bottomless’ fries and two beers to convince my friend to lend me the key ‘nuggets’ on blogging. Not that there isn’t more to it than that, but I like to try and keep things simple. One thing he said that stuck with me was to come up with a theme and some kind of consistent thought to focus on. The focus was obvious for me – I want to talk about why I think we might have it all wrong about giving. And by all wrong, I don’t mean that I know and everybody else doesn’t. What I mean is that what comes to our minds when we think about giving and what we typically experience when we give, is often not what giving really is. In many ways, its far from it.
The theme nugget was the shiny nugget that grabbed my attention. I wanted a theme that could be woven in and out of the conversation. And then by chance one day it occurred to me. I’ve always had this feeling that it doesn’t matter so much about the amount that you might give, but that you give.
Mother Teresa said,
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
I also like what Michelle Moore said,
“If you haven’t done much giving in your life – try it and see how you feel afterwards.”
Don’t worry about the amount, just give and see what happens.
I’ve launched a non-profit called Givesome that allows people to give as little as $2 towards meaningful, tangible projects. One of the reasons I designed it this way was to show people you don’t have to give a million dollars to feel like a million bucks. And the receiver rarely needs a million dollars – often what they need is someone who cares and is willing to help them with a need. So I decided that for my theme I would take on the challenge of giving $2 to someone new every single day for an entire year. I’m not a coffee drinker, so for this next year it will be like drinking a cup a day, and probably a better high than caffeine.
If this was a journal entry, here is where I’d capture how I’m a little nervous. I know not everyone will like being given $2 from a stranger, and I think there may be some not-so-joyful recipients. I also imagine I’ll receive some irritated looks and some colorful comments. But what I look forward to is some of the subtleties that might emerge, like – how does intentionally looking for people to give to change me? What does this exercise teach me about giving, about others, about the amount of what you give and about the connection with the people you give to?
I hope to meet some awesome people who teach me more than I could ever hope to teach them. I look forward to getting to know some new people in my neighbourhood, to stepping out of my comfort zone and talking with strangers who would have otherwise remained strangers. What will this do to my heart? Will there be a toonie given that for some reason changes someone else’s heart? And will their changed heart be because they received two extra dollars, or because some stranger decided to walk up to them and give them something unexpected with no strings attached?
I look forward to sharing about what I learn and what happens over the next 365 days. I also welcome anyone else who wants to take on a similar challenge and who wants to share what they learn on their journey of small giving. This kind of thing is something that we can all do. Maybe now is when you decide to step out and do something you wouldn’t normally do. And if so, who knows, maybe we’ll exchange a toonie for a toonie one day.