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
Last weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. It was also the day I’ll be giving away toonie #128. The best part about this challenge so far is hearing the variety of things that people say they’re going to do with their toonie. So being Thanksgiving I’d like to share some of the awesome things I’ve heard after handing over the toonie lately. May this encourage us to think about what we can do, even with a little bit, to help others and show our gratitude for what we’ve been given.
One man I recently handed the toonie to smiled as he took it and looked at me and said – this is cool… I’ll get back to you with how I multiply this to something even bigger. He didn’t disappoint. A few weeks later I saw him again and he told me how he got his extended family involved and how they all kicked in their own toonies at a big gathering they had. The pot is still growing and at the end of the year he will decide which charity to donate the money to. I love how this is now more than just a cheque he’s going to write and how the toonie was used to touch a lot of people along the way.
Another gentleman I gave it to last week told me about how he stocks up on Tim Horton’s gift cards and gives them to the homeless in his city whenever he connects with them. I loved hearing how he takes the time to talk with them and doesn’t try to avoid interaction. After getting his toonie he told me he was running low on gift cards and would use the toonie towards stocking up on some more.
I gave a toonie to a woman a few weeks back who is savvy on social media and she decided to use this as a chance to share the story and have others weigh in on where to donate it.
Yesterday I gave a toonie to a father of a 3-year-old and right after getting his toonie he handed it to his daughter who said – let’s add this to the jar for my new sister! They are expecting any day now.
Several people after receiving it have said they want to give this some thought and come up with an appropriate and creative response for how to pass the toonie forward.
Some tear up when I pass it to them. Some say no and politely refuse.
But one thing is certain – it takes next to nothing to make a small difference each day. I am literally giving away pennies and it is sparking something inside of people for how they can take their pennies and combine it with a little thought and a little effort and turn it into something greater.
Isn’t that really part of the beauty of giving? That when we give we’re not ever doing it alone. When we give we stand with others who are also giving and together we’re not just making a difference ‘out there’ we’re also changing a piece of us ‘in here’. When you do it you realize it’s not losing a bit of time or a bit of finances. It’s gaining and adding and multiplying and joining. Somehow you come out of it further ahead.
If you have a story of how you initiated something small and then watched it turn into something unexpected, send us your story – we’d love to hear about it and share it. We know that awesome things are happening every day. Inspire us and others with your simple stories.