Updated: May 17, 2021
Generosity is one of the most magical of personal practices, and I highly, highly recommend doing it however you can, with whatever you have that feels right to give. That said, Here is your reminder to think critically and never take a random person’s word for your financial health, whether or not they have a podcast, and to do your own research. Check in with your budget and financial planner before you do anything. If you want to give but all you can afford right now is Amazon Smile --check it out, if you don’t already know about it--then please start with Amazon Smile. You can always build. Little Trees, my friend. Little Trees.
The school district I work for used to offer elaborate professional development throughout the year. I’m talking teachers of English from different schools would meet and write together, and work on writing strategies that they could then bring to their classrooms with their students--and, at the same time, become stronger writers themselves. The theory for this one was that if English teachers were writers and had monthly exposure to writing strategies, that these strategies would make their way into schools, across disciplines, as the teachers shared with their faculties. It was great.
I was a professional development junkie. Learn how to facilitate kids sitting in a circle, passing around a talking piece, and truly listening to each other? Yes, please! You want me to learn how to run a department meeting so that each and every voice is heard? You betcha! I am down to grow my mad people skills.
At one week-long summer intensive, I met a woman. I don’t remember her name, but I do remember that she was beautiful, blonde, and had a thing for Pentel RSVP Medium pens,so much so that she had one tattooed on her bicep. She must have been an English teacher. Thus began my adoration of Pentel RSVP Medium pens, and for years I had them in every color, merrily grading papers in bright purples and greens--and never in red.
My obsession with Pentel RSVP Medium pens lasted until l discovered Foray Advanced Ink Ballpoint 1.2 mm bold. Now I only use those. In all the colors.
This blond woman and I became fast friends. I remember this was the summer after Hurricane Katrina and she was just back from volunteering a week of her vacation time cleaning out classrooms that were moldy and unusable from the catastrophe that had occurred the year before. She shared that, after hearing about a group who needed volunteers, she had paid for her own plane ticket to fly out there and help. She paid for her own lodgings, too. I was inspired and told her so.
“You have to give,” she told me. “When I am at my poorest is when I give the most. It’s the best way to get money to come back to you.” ...or she said something like that. 2006 was a while ago. I remember the sentiment, if not her exact words.
But her sentiment is spot on. Money is energy, and energy likes to move, not sit stagnant. The more we intentionally move money in ways that makes our higher selves happy, the more money we have access to. And giving makes our higher selves happy.
Volunteering our time is an important part of giving back to our local communities. However, to effect worldwide change, we need to give money to trustworthy organizations who champion causes we believe in.
Translation: Be a philanthropist to causes that are important to you!
So, what is important to you?
Last month in January, it snowed in Texas and was in the 90’s here in Los Angeles, in the same week. The next week it snowed at my friend’s house--also in Los Angeles. Is global warming important? Yeah. It sure is. We may even still have time to reverse the effects.
Homeless pets. Human trafficking. Clean water in developing countries. Clean water in Michigan. Civil rights. Getting books into the hands of children who don’t have access to school. There are so many really great causes that need your energy. Pick ones that speak to you, do your research to find a legitimate organization, and create a monthly giving plan.
Some people freeze at the thought of picking just one, or they feel guilty because in their heart of hearts they just want to help save animals and there are what seem to be other, far more pressing problems. I get it. There are an overwhelming amount of issues out there that need to be addressed. And they are all valuable, all necessary. But the thing is, we are led to where we need to be. You--yes, you!-- are so special, so important, that wherever it is that your heart leads you, is the exact right place for your heart, your time, and your money. If you do your part, and I do mine, and other people do theirs, the entire world will be cared for. The reason that there are so many opportunities for philanthropic work out there is because so many people have followed their hearts to help the causes they feel are most relevant. So, if you’re having guilty thoughts, just make a choice and know that’s the exact right one.
Once you choose your cause, and then your specific charity, figure out a way to give monthly. One way to do this is set up automatic payments from your bank. Give as much as you can--every dollar counts.
I have a friend named Janet, who Runs Angel’s Heart Dog Rescue in Perris, California. One of Janet’s many gifts on this planet is being able to go into a high kill shelter and find wonderful dogs that are overlooked. She gets them out of jail and then finds perfect homes for them, often paying for costly medical treatment out of her own pocket. Just $10 a month for Janet goes a long way; for each person who donates $10 a month, Janet can get another dog out of the shelter each year. Imagine what she can do with $20 a month. Or $30 a month.
My workday is spent battling illiteracy in middle school children through books and research skills, and computer skills and more. The majority of my monthly philanthropic work goes to homing pets and saving the environment--because dogs and breathing are both really important to me. I also use a crowdfunding site called Kiva, which offers microloans to people who need them. Kiva is super fun, because the people you help pay you back slowly over time--and then you can use the same money to help out someone else. I love it! If you decide Kiva is for you, too, join my team, AndieSpeak, and we can see how much good we can do there together.
Whatever sort of philanthropist you choose to be, remember first that you, personally, are doing good work for the world, second, that the law of attraction/karma/3 says that what you put out comes right back atcha, and third keep your receipts because they might be able to help you when tax time comes around. Charitable donations help you and help our planet at the same time, a double whammy of yummy goodness. I am so excited to see what you do!
For links to sites that rate charities, Kiva, Angel’s Heart Dog Rescue, and all the other things I mentioned, see today’s show notes on my website.
Some of my favorite charities:
Places to research charities:
Information about giving: