Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On gifts and giving

Christmas 2011 #decdaily

My goal was to post this leading up to Christmas, but life has a way of changing the best laid plans. Still, as we bask in the post-family/present/gluttonous food* haze, the train of thought below may be even more relevant.

As you can see from the photo above, we were pretty darned blessed this Christmas. However, as I was putting together the list of wants Santa requested, I couldn't help but think about how I should be giving something back. I like doing stuff for other folks and have dabbled in volunteering and giving (from candy striper to teen hotline volunteer to giving circle member) for pretty much my entire life. I know that probably sounds like a humble brag, but it really isn't meant to be. I just want to provide some context for where I'm coming from. The fact of the matter is that I've stopped doing those type things the past few years and have instead largely focused only on me. I could give you excuses, but that just continues the whole "all about me" theme.

Anyway, the point I keep dancing around is that there are some amazing organizations out there that have reignited my enthusiasm for giving. I've already pledged to support at least one of these in the new year and thought that, with all of the resolutions being made, someone else might also be on the lookout for a good organization to support. 

Can you spare a few dollars a month/year? If so, do it.

Compassion International - I stumbled across this organization in much the way I stumble across any number of things online. I was looking for podcasts and found myself listening to an episode of the Simple Mom podcast where they discussed their recent trip to the Philippines on behalf of Compassion. [Don't even ask why I was listening to a podcast geared toward moms. I'll never tell.] Listening to the story of their trip and the children they sponsor, I was hooked. I ended up spending some time reading blogs from other Compassion participants and researching their rating on Charity Navigator. Nothing I found scared me away. In fact, I found myself even more impressed with the commitment this organization makes to children and to the real impact they have.

Girls Write Now - I was always encouraged growing up, but what if no one had been there to tell me I could do it? What if I hadn't been prodded and challenged? I'd like to think an organization like Girls Write Now would have found me and given me that structure. Maybe not. As someone who works for a nonprofit, I know organizations like this can't thrive only because folks think they are peachy. Money talks. Girls Write Now is in the final stretch of an end-of-the-year drive to raise $80,000. They're close and could use all the help they can get.

*The most sinful thing I ate this holiday season may have been during a late-night dinner Christmas evening at an Austin Dennys. I had a burger with a hashbrown and cheese sauce on it!

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