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 get questions all the time around the small amounts of money that we encourage people to give towards the projects that interest them. Giving as little as $2 towards a project is not the typical opportunity that people are offered. So why offer it? I have two reasons. One reason links back to my days in high school and then university and college. The other reason was demonstrated by my 4 year old son, Jackson, about 5 days ago.
First off, small donations let all kinds of people from all different stages of life get involved. When giving as little as $2 becomes an option most people can afford to get involved.
When I was in high school and relying on my not-so-lucrative part time job at the local lumber mill to cover my spending, there was no way I could afford to donate large sums of money to charity. Not only could I not afford it, if I was to give a just a little bit I would feel like I wasn’t really doing very much. My $20 was a big deal to me, but seemed like a drop in the bucket for the charity that I was sending it to. No one intentionally made me feel this way, I put that on myself because I wished I could give more… and I knew other people who had more money were.
I never forgot that. And even though I’m no longer in high school or college, some people are. And people always will be. Just like people will always have young families, or unexpected expenses or changes in income. What only asking for $2 does is level the playing field. Now the wealthy and the student are on the same level and both can equally feel important in fulfilling a particular project. As with all kinds of giving, you don’t need a lot to start to get involved. You just need to start.
I think everyone should be able to get involved in helping others. Offering that opportunity for only $2 shows them they can.
My son Jackson helps illustrate thought #2. A few days ago he found ten cents at some point in the day. He kept it in his pocket and when he saw me later that day, rather than add it to his little piggy bank he held out his hand and said, ‘Daddy, here’s some money for you. I want you to have ALL of it.’ Literal emphasis on the ‘All’. He doesn’t yet understand the real value of a dime, but that doesn’t matter. Rather than keep the ten cents for himself, he made up his mind that he was going to give all of it to his dad. And let me tell you, that ten cents had more meaning for me than a hundred dollars ever could.
Meet my son Jackson
Thought #2 is this – you don’t need a lot of money to have a lot of impact. Often times it’s the small things that make a big difference. Giving isn’t only defined by how much money someone donates. Giving is so much bigger than that. It encompasses actions. And words. And time. And attention. Giving an hour to someone can be better than giving money. Physically helping someone with a need can be much more meaningful than writing a cheque. What giving $2 towards a project should demonstrate is that you don’t always need to give a lot of money. You just need to be a person who creates a habit of looking for opportunities to give.
If we create a mindset that we always have something to offer and then go out and do something about it, imagine kind of impact we could have together. $2 is a reminder that you don’t need deep pockets to make a meaningful difference out there. All you need is a little belief and a big heart.