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
I’ve found it interesting that the majority of people I meet with and talk to about giving have a particular passion within the context of giving. Not long into most conversations, I can begin to pick up their reason for their interest in giving.
The biggest category I’ve noticed so far has been the interest in either local or global giving. Many people are much more passionate about one over the other. And I’ve heard very good reasons for both. In favor of global giving, people express the fact that many, if not most other places around the world don’t have it as good as we do here in Canada. They want to help share the wealth that we have here with others around the world. They’ve heard of a particular story of an individual or a community that has grabbed their heart and attention and they want to help with a need ‘over there’.
From those in support of more local initiatives, I often hear their desire to help with those we rub shoulders with. While it’s true that there are needs ‘out there’, we also have tremendous needs right here in our own backyard as well. You don’t need to look far to see the disparity in our own cities. They have a heart for helping those people they see every day and take on tremendous initiatives right where they live.
For others, the burden is for a place they’ve traveled to and where they were faced with a very real expression of hopelessness and need. Their eyes were opened and they understood, maybe for the first time, that not everyone enjoys what they enjoy. They’re moved to do something about it and to take up a cause.
For many others it’s a documentary they watched, or a talk show, or a news feed that for whatever reason, this time tugged at them. When the program ended their journey began.
It’s amazing how many different ways people get locked onto a mission or a desire through which they begin to take action.
A conversation with a friend, a book, an article, a dream, a chance meeting with someone with a story, a personal passion for athletics, art or music, a specific skill in medicine, teaching or building, an inspiration from someone else who said enough is enough.
Here’s the point. Giving doesn’t have to feel tough, or boring, or disconnected. There is such thing as passionate, joyful giving. And it doesn’t need to be something that’s reserved for the few. Or for the extra special. This is something that we are all capable of. Every one of us. I know this because of the incredible variety of people I’ve met and the great number of personal reasons that they’ve jumped in and gotten involved. The ones who seem to have the most joy and give unconsciously are the ones who have made some sort of meaningful connection with it. They don’t give because they have to or because they feel they ‘should’. They give because they want to. They’re convinced and they’re motivated because it’s become personal.
For those who haven’t found that ‘thing’ but would like to, I recommend looking inwardly first. What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? What motivates you? What do you care about? Are there certain types of injustices or needs that get you fired up more than others?
Take a minute to think about it and to listen. Become aware of what’s happening inside of you. Then keep your eyes and ears open. Look and listen. Begin by spending one day, or even one-half day, an hour, looking at what’s going on around you. Pretend, at first, that you’ve been missing something that’s always been there. Look in anticipation of finding something. Prepare yourself.
This is why with Givesome it’s about the project first. And then the charity behind it. We want to offer people an opportunity to discover that ‘thing’ that really interests them. We will focus on the project and the action that is being taken so that people can support those initiatives that really motivate and grab their attention. What draws us in is often unique which is why we’ll offer a heap of different projects to connect with. First find a project or a cause, then learn something about that charity, then see for yourself the difference your giving makes.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the people who make a difference it’s that they come in all shapes and sizes. They’re all awesome, but they’re all so different. There’s no prototypical giver. Which leads me to believe that any of us can be one. We’re all capable of helping. We all have something to offer. It is not an action reserved for the gifted. But it is reserved for those who take action.
What’s one small thing you can do for someone today that’s a reflection of you?