January 1, 2011
Call it karma, call it feeling good, call it whatever you want… but it works.
I discovered it one Saturday night when a homeless person asked me for help as my friends and I walked to a night club. I had leftovers from dinner in my hands, and he lit up in gratitude when I handed him the bag. Suddenly I felt a lift in my spirit and I was in a great mood for the rest of the night.
Now, rather than leaving these moments to chance, I make a “sacrifice to the party gods” before the weekend begins. I like that term because it’s an acknowledgment that not everyone is free, and not everyone can even eat. But rather than feel guilty about it, I turn it into an opportunity to do something. And call it a placebo if you like (placebos are proven to be quite powerful)…my weekends are much better when I do.
To me, giving is about finding projects that excite me, where I feel like my hard-earned money is making a major difference. Here are the organizations I have chosen:
This is literally saving lives, and 100% of my donation goes directly to the work (because sponsors cover their operation costs). Every $20 saves a life. How amazing is that? I’ve already had one well funded (serving 250 people) by rallying friends and family. Now I auto-donate monthly so it never skips my mind.
Human Traffiking and sex slavery is the 3rd most profitable organized crime. It breaks my heart to know these kids are going through it. Oddly enough, it was a song by the New Pornographers (“When I was a baby”) that educated me about all of this. I also auto-donate here to make sure I don’t forget.
This site is really cool because you have the power to greenlight projects. It’s entirely focused on under-funded schools. Last time I funded a project the teacher sent me a package with photos and letters from the kids who were thankful for the supplies I bought them.
Try getting into giving as a habit…I find it feels oddly selfish and enjoyable when you do it right.