Who Exactly Are We Giving To?
I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received with the headline “‘Tis the Season to be Giving”. Every one of them is asking me to give them some money. Now granted, they all profess to be a charity in business to care for one cause or another, and I appreciate that. But do they really get much out of those email blasts? Or are most people like me and have the causes they support already set (sometimes in stone) every year?
Do those email blasts proclaiming it’s #GivingTuesday, or #MatchingMonday, or whatever other cutesy hashtag someone comes up with really make a difference for someone directly? Call me a skeptic, but somehow, I doubt it.
Don’t get me wrong. I know many organizations including the ones I choose to support depend on the generosity of others to do the good work they do. But with so many putting their hands out via my email boxes (and I have several accounts so I get the same emails 5 or 6 times, minimum) could they be putting people off of giving because of the annoyance factor?
In my mind, it’s no different than the thrice-daily emails I get from certain companies telling me today’s sale is the best ever. Really? Isn’t that what you said about the last eleventy-seven days?
Giving More Of Myself and Less Money and Stuff
I suppose it’s a small thing to let bother me, but when you proclaim it the “Season of Giving” does that mean everyone and his brother either has his hand out for donations, or is exhorting you to buy, buy, buy?
Granted, in past years, I spent way too much on gifts, and was a great deal more generous with a variety of charities. My lifestyle has changed, and so has my outlook. Gifts are simpler these days, and the truth is, the season is a lot less stressful for me and my kids as a result. We focus on finding something very special but not overly extravagant for each other. As a result, the gifts and the holidays in general are more meaningful and exude togetherness, instead of consumerism.
Helping Charities Spend Less Time Fundraising
Call me jaded, but maybe the two factions should join forces. The companies exhorting us to buy might allocate a portion of all sales to the charities needing help—without raising prices in order to do it. I know it’s a lot to ask as retail stores depend on the holidays for a large portion of their revenue. But if they made it a year-long thing, they could allocate a smaller percentage of each sale and still make a sizeable donation.
In fact, I’ll bet the charities would love having smaller quarterly donations as their costs aren’t limited to once a year, but are incurred year-round. Although the animal charities I choose to support make a big push this time of year, they have various campaigns throughout the year. One has a $5 Friday campaign that goes on all year.
The same is true for charities like #GiveAnHour and Alliance for Hope. They all need operating funds to continue the work they do all year; not just in December or January. Granted, they do a big push like everyone else in hopes they’ll have funds to operate for a good portion of the next year.
Being Kind is the Right Thing to Do
What it all boils down to, in my mind is learning to be kind to each other 24/7/365. It’s realizing we don’t always need bigger, better, faster, more compact. Maybe we can invite someone into our home for a meal and some companionship instead of springing for an expensive meal for ourselves (and yes, I’m as guilty as the next person of this one).
Most of all, let’s not do a Random Act of Kindness (RAK), then brag about it all over social media. The purpose behind RAK’s is to do something from your heart without need or desire for recognition; because in the end, it was the right thing to do. If you need recognition for being kind, I fear you’re lacking something important in your life no amount of self-proclaimed RAK’s is going to give you.
It isn’t always easy to admit there’s a hole in your life or heart. Too many think they need outside validation, yet when they get it, the hole remains. But giving of yourself for the wrong reasons isn’t the answer either. In truth, I wish I had the answer and could heal the large numbers who walk around looking for the missing piece, little realizing the only place to find it is within themselves.
Giving of Your Heart and Time
The greatest gift I can think of is to give someone my time, but not to commiserate or help them fall more deeply into a pity party where there’s really only room for one. This season (and beyond) I’ll be looking for ways to help people cancel the pity parties for lack of interest. I’m not sure how much success I’ll have, but I feel like I have to try.
The best part of my plan is it’s well within my budget, and won’t put me in debt (which is definitely stress-inducing). I’m reminded of the story of the boy on the beach who’s putting starfish back into the sea. When it’s pointed out he can’t save them all, he replies he’s saved the one he just put back. I can’t help everyone, nor am I supposed to. But there are so many out there. Together, we can make a sizeable dent in the number of people feeling sad, alone, and unworthy.
Making the Holidays About More than Money
To the charities begging for my help via email, they might as well take me off their list. Funds won’t be forthcoming this year. My charitable contributions are already set. As to the stores proclaiming the magnitude of their sales, you’ll not hear from me this year either. My shopping was done weeks ago.
The time I save by not wandering through the stores or piling up tons of things needing wrapping will be better spent on more human projects. I know I don’t have to look far to find people who simply need a bit of time. Even the Grinch learned his cold, broken heart could warm and grow, not by giving stuff, but by sharing a meal and giving of his not-so-cold-hearted self.
If I have a few dollars left over by not shopping, they will go to the charities I choose to support; whose causes I believe are important to the greater good. Thank goodness what’s important to me isn’t the same as what’s important to you, so in some way, everyone should get a little this year. And who knows? Maybe some of those email blasts will actually yield sufficient funds to continue the good work they do in 2020. Here’s hoping.
Giving the Gift of Gratitude
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful I’ve learned I have so much to give that doesn’t have a monetary value.
- I’m grateful for the delete button on my email program.
- I’m grateful for smaller, less financially burdensome holidays.
- I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, and the hope I see.
- I’m grateful for abundance; love, compassion, time well spent, kindness without reward or recognition, friendship, warm hearts, passion, inspiration, health, peace, harmony, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward