Generosity is not a thought experiment. It does not exist until a generous act takes place.
To be generous, you must act generously.
The more often you act generously, the more generous you are!
What’s Stopping You?
I know that giving on a regular basis can be challenging. Even though I’ve gotten a lot better, there are time when the tongue in my mouth isn’t lining up with the tongue in my shoes.
Here are some of the things that stop me. Do any of them stop you?
- I don’t have enough for me.
- I feel like what I can give isn’t important enough and won’t make a difference.
- I’ll get around to it later when I have more time and money.
- I’m too busy to deal.
- I don’t know what to do.
- I don’t know how to do it.
- I don’t want to make a mistake or do it wrong or look stupid or get taken advantage of.
That’s a lot of resistance! But once you know this about yourself, you can put strategies in place that help you live up to your giving goals.
Make It Easy
What is the first rule for overcoming your resistance and giving more? Make It Easy!!!
If giving is hard, you get to the end of the year and you haven’t given as much as you think you should. But the holiday season is a terrible time of year to give; there’s just too much demand for your time and money.
There’s a better way! Do a little something every month. Make it a to-do item that you check off. That way, you get to the end of the year knowing you’ve made a big impact.
No more regret. No more guilt. Just you making the world a better place.
A Generous Year: One Month At A Time
This world is a vibrant tapestry composed of countless individual threads representing the billions of people, animals, environments, and interests on this planet. Because each thread is crucial to the tapestry’s integrity and beauty, I chose causes that touched many different threads.
Below you’ll find a recommended cause to support each month, but you should always feel free to choose your own cause. It’s not important that you support all the causes I’ve chosen. What’s important is that you take a small action or make a small contribution of time, money, expertise for something you care about EVERY SINGLE MONTH.
To make Living Generously even easier, you can join a Virtual Giving Circle where your small donation is pooled with the donations of other people who care about the same cause. We are now YOUR donation team. We make sure you’re giving to the right charity, that your donation is going to be used in the right way, and that’s it’s going to make a big difference.
January: Homeless Shelter
Make a donation to your local homeless shelter. Homeless shelters get a lot of love for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but homeless people need to eat and need a place to sleep on January 2nd, too.
This month, make a donation of time or money to help your local homeless.
February: Love on a Senior
Valentines Day makes February the month of love, and you know who could use some love? Senior citizens! They spend a lot of time just hanging out and would love some attention and company. What could you do to let a senior know they are still loved and still valued? If your own grandparents are still alive, you could do something extra special for them. I remember when I put together a mixed CD of big band music for my grandparents, and my 90 year old grandfather looked at the CD and said what is this? So, I also had to buy him a CD player! He loved listening to that music.
Or call a local senior center, and ask them how you could help seniors in your community. They might need help hosting a special event or suggest a specific donation you could make.
March: Local Pet Rescue
Somewhere in your community is an animal shelter or rescue working hard to save animals and they’re doing it with barely enough resources. They would welcome a donation of money or dog blankets. They probably have dogs who need to be walked and cats who need to be caressed.
This month, reach out and support your local homeless pets.
April: Earth Day
Earth Day is a great time to appreciate our connection to the earth. Our lives on this planet are possible and vibrant because of her abundant natural resources. Air fills our lungs. Water quenches our thirst. Plants and animals provide shelter and food. And its natural beauty restores our spirits.
In April, give time or money to caring for her.
Education is one of the most important tools a young person takes into the world with them, and sometimes that education isn’t available without the generosity of people like you. Education today is expensive, and your donation to a scholarship fund can help one student to make it to college.
You don’t have to focus just on college, because there are important non-traditional sources of education, and instead of a scholarship fund, you could donate to help at-risk students enter apprenticeship programs.
June: Food Bank
Schools can be an important source of food for many families. School breakfast and lunch programs can really help struggling families, and when school is out, they need to find help elsewhere. Your local food bank is a master at efficiency and effectiveness and can turn just a small donation of $10 into 40 meals for families in your community.
So in June, donate to your local food bank and help families in your community eat.
The summer is hot, and we are incredibly fortunate to live in a country where we can just turn on a faucet and water comes out. But not every place is so lucky. Diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. You can do something about it by making a donation to help bring clean water to another community.
August: Social Justice
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” And while he’s right, he’s right because people take action to make it so. What human rights do you care about? LGBT? privacy? equal opportunity for education or legal defense, freedom to speak against your government?
In August, support something that protects or promotes human rights. Make a donation to a local or international charity promoting those right or volunteer your time to support an important piece of legislation.
September: Back to School
Kids are heading back to school, and they need a bunch of stuff: clothes, backpacks, notebooks, pencils. Teachers are taking money out of their own pockets to buy materials they’ll need to teach.
You can help with donations of money or goods.
Did you know that there are no less than 16 health conditions that use October as their Awareness month? The most famous of course is Breast Cancer. This month, take some time to give to improving our health. You could support charities that are researching and treating diseases, or you could support other health initiatives such as getting young people to exercise or getting affordable fresh fruits and vegetables to inner-city communities.
Veteran’s Day happens in November, and we will hear a lot about thanking our veterans. And while we all benefit from the freedoms and rights found in America, only a few have put their lives on the line to defend it. Because of their service, these men and women experience all kinds of hardships ranging from being separated from their families for long periods of time to serious injury and death. Veterans suffer disproportionately high rates of depression, suicide, unemployment, and homelessness.
Thank a veteran for all the sacrifices and hardship they’ve experienced with action. Donate to a charity helping veterans, and call your Congressperson and let them know that veterans are a top priority.
December: Keep Em’ Warm
Baby it’s cold outside. And that means high heating bills, and for struggling families sometimes that means choosing between being warm and eating. You can help families stay warm this month by helping pay their heating bills or making donations of warm clothing.