What do you give back to the world? Each day, each step, each moment on the planet is a gift. What do you give back? World Give Day is tomorrow, May 4. As part of the effort and outreach, Laura Kimball and Jolkona asked several bloggers to expand on the following statement: “Small scale donors are the backbone of philanthropy”

Giving is a series of moments.  Giving is not about the enormity of a gift or an idea. Giving can be simple, it can be small, it can happen in a moment. Giving is an attitude, a belief about the inter-dependence of the human spirit and the human condition.

Moment 1. In the line at the post office. Frustrated. Tired. Ready to go home. Sighing loudly. I wait, tapping my feet impatiently. The young man in front of me turns, smiles, and says, ‘Busy?’ – In a word, a phrase, a glance, my heart relaxes a bit. ‘Why don’t you go ahead – I’m just enjoying my day,” he continues.

Gift: gracious space. Gentle kindness. A reminder to live slower and just be. Thank you.

Moment 2. Flat on the floor, yoga, stretching, reaching. Tired, sore, worried. The instructor reaches over and puts his hand slowly on the small of my back. He stretches my feet out behind me, pressing downwards on the back of my ribs, reminding me to breathe.

Gift: Touch. A smile. Understanding. Support and friendship. I am so grateful.

My life is filled with moments of wonder as people all around me give gentle nods of encouragement and smiling reminders that we are all here together, working, doing, being. I am only humbled and wish fervently that I can be as generous with my time, money, and energy as everyone is to me.

In the spirit of World Give Day, I want to encourage you to remember that gifts don’t have to be monetary – we can give gifts of our hearts, minds, and ideas – and give them freely. Here are ten of my favorite (non-monetary) things to give.

Ten things you can give – every day:

  • 1. A hug.
  • 2. A smile.
  • 3. A Book or an idea.
  • 4. A listening ear.
  • 5. Advice
  • 6. A Lesson. Teach someone how to do something – for free. Share what you know with someone who needs it.
  • 7. Encouragement.
  • 8. time
  • 9. Space
  • 10. A thought or note. Appreciation and recognition.

What’s your favorite thing to give? What is the best gift you’ve received? If you do enjoy giving monetary gifts – and these are always highly encouraged – I admire many people who give 10% or more of their earnings each year. I strive to give 10% each year to people in desperate need. For those looking to give, here are some of my favorite organizations:

  • Jolkona is an organization built around the idea that small acts add up – quickly.  Connecting you to larger philanthropies, they show you how your giving makes a difference – and work really hard to make the experience interactive, so you can watch your dollars at work. (My personal favorite is teaching people with disabilities to dance – and then getting a video back! How awesome!)
  • Charity: Water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. With the tagline, “water changes everything,” this charity has become one of the biggest organizations in giving, with 100% of public donations directly fund water projects. Learn more or donate.
  • Kiva is a microfinance lending non-profit that funds entrepreneurs around the world through small loans given by many different individuals.  In lending a small amount, such as $25, your funding goes towards helping someone build a business or project. (To see the projects I’ve financed, take a look here.)
  • Red Cross. From money to time to blood donations (you can go every 8 weeks and they give you apple juice and cookies!) – the Red Cross gives around the world.
  • Salvation Army or Goodwill. When cleaning out your closet, decluttering, or moving – box up the things you don’t need and give them to someone who does need them!

“In 100 years, we will not be known for our technological advances; rather we will be known for how we used technology to tackle some of humanity’s biggest challenges.” ~ Adnan Mahmud

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“This post is part of a blog series inspired by World Give Day and hosted by GiveForward and Jolkona. To find other posts in this series please visit www.worldgiveday.com or follow the hashtag #giveday.”

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