The Good Trade: How to Give Back When You’re Short on Cash Part II

In Part I of this series, we talked about attitude changes making meaningful phone calls are ways that simultaneously save money and give back to your community. In Part II,  we finish this series with other ideas that make you feel good without spending!

Missed Part I? Click here! 

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3. THANK YOU NOTES

While some people enjoy receiving gifts, all of us appreciate a kind word. It is one thing to say it, but it can be even more meaningful to put a note in writing. What if you made a commitment to write a thank you note to someone every week? Since the invention of stamps in 1840, this has been possible. Hallmark really innovated by coming up with the concept of greeting cards. In the early 1900s an aspiring entrepreneur, Joyce Clyde Hall, left Nebraska to sell his cards in Kansas City.  He simply had positive quotes, and put them in the cards. Soon we had cards for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and the like.

Now you can congratulate friends on a new job, express condolences for the passing of a loved one, or simply say you are thinking of them. You can think of any positive reason you like. Handwritten letters are memorable, and heartfelt.

4. INVITE SOMEONE OVER FOR DINNER

You never know what someone might be going through – a painful divorce, struggling through college, or just having a bad day. Opening up your home will make someone feel appreciated. In addition, it costs less than going out. The leftovers from this dinner can be packaged up for the homeless. That’s double giving!

5. SET ASIDE MONEY FROM A DAILY RITUAL TO DONATE

Giving doesn’t have to mean a life full of sacrifices. We can still buy an In-N-Out burger or get our nails done. But instead of buying several Starbuck’s coffees every week, you can drink one less.  Donate the money you saved: Even $5 can make a difference in someone’s life. In the U.S. it can buy a small lunch, but abroad it can be used to build a library or to buy mosquito nets to prevent malaria. In these cases, your money is scaling to help many people — your dollar goes even further. 
Difficult financial times does not mean your giving must shut down. Instead, it allows us to examine how our time and money are spent. Do you have time to write that kind note? Have a free moment to make a delicious home cooked meal? There are so many ways to give back that won’t hurt your wallet and will enrich your life.  It takes a different view of wealth. This kind of wealth consists of kindness, patience, and selflessness.   

There’s not a moment to wait – let’s get started giving of our abundance!

 

Click here for the full article on The Good Trade’s website!

The Pamela Positive: “Oh Still, Small Voice of Calm” – John Greenleaf Whittier

“Oh Still, Small Voice of Calm

Breathe through the pulses of our desire

Thy coolness and Thy balm;

Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;

Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,

O still, small voice of calm!

– John Greenleaf Whittier

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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807 – 1892) was an influential American Quaker poet and abolitionist. Highly regarded in his lifetime and after, he is remembered for his patriotic poems and a number of poems turned into hymns. Whittier grew up on a poor farm with a large extended family and little formal education. However, he was heavily influenced by Quaker ideologies of humanitarianism, compassion, and social responsibility, introduced to him by his father. He remained an outspoken proponent of abolitionism as a founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Many of his early poems dealt with the cause of slavery.  After the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, Whittier turned to other forms of poetry; his most famous include Snow-Bound and Dear Lord and Father of Mankind Starting around 1850, he also wrote folksy New England ballads and narrative poems, sentimental country idylls, and simple religious poems that appealed strongly to his readers.

The Classic Pamela Positive: Celebrate True Wealth

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Wealth is a state of mind and life. We tend to associate poverty with money. But poverty can be mental, emotional or spiritual poverty. I am often struck by this in my travel and volunteering in developing nations. Often, the divorce rates are low. Families not only stay together, but also spend time together. They gather food from the fields together, cook together and share meals together.

Contrast us: 15 minute family dinners if we are lucky. Fast-food and food distanced from its natural base. We eat alone; we eat in our cars. Divorces are easier to get, and in our mind it can be easier to allow those thoughts in as a possibility, rather than work through critical issues. So we lose the connection to family. We lose the connection to the local farm. We can lose the connection to long-term commitment.

We lose our greatest asset in natural wealth: relationships. Relationships with ourselves, our families, the earth. This wealth creates happy, balanced, productive, lower stress lifestyles, because we are connected in the way we are meant to be.

Further, we often pass by our heritage and where we come from. In many emerging nations, and especially in the continent of Africa, we see tribes value their connection to their heritage as primary importance even above their nationality. There is a deep-rooted connection to rituals and history which keeps people grounded in who they are, and the deeper, long-term meaning of being a part of a larger community in their lives.

Poverty is about money, at times. It has to be addressed as people should have the opportunity to live productive lives and make choices about what they would like to devote their lives to. Poverty is also about our well-being. Often when we get beyond “money poverty,” we forget “well-being poverty,” and get trapped in a go-go-go consumer culture.

I hope we can celebrate the healthy wealth that is accessible to us all in positive, committed relationships with ourselves, one another, our families, our earth, our communities and our heritage. How wonderful this is available to us all.

One of the Top Things I Love About Our Interns: “I believe that perspective and point of view matter.”

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Every intern at UniversalGiving as part of the hiring process and submits a writing sample.

That sounds simple, and yet it is so profound. Some interns post papers from school; I learn about a new international issue. Some submit creative writing.  Others provide a link to a blog. Each writing sample I read thoroughly, and I learn from them and about them.  

Below is one of my favorites from an intern this summer. This was a kind, good-hearted person who is already making a difference at her college. It’s heartfelt, true, real, and encouraging. She believes everyone’s story is important. So let’s read her profound words below, and cherish what she has to offer. I think she’s courageous.

I am an average women, Caucasian, blue eyes, blond hair, and of average height and weight. This is not the story, simply where the story is contained. From the beginning, my pen has been scratching at these never ending pages. Pages that have been stained with love, divorce, abuse, laughter, depression, anger, and kindness. 

My chapters have written of a fearless single mother who would do anything for her children, an estranged brother who over the years became a best friend, and a father who never knew how to be around. Some characters will stay through the end where others have made only guest appearances. The perfection of life is that our stories are not the same. 

Our skin, hair, or eyes may be similar. Some of my own words may have been written in your pages but it will never be the same entire novel, never the same chapters. I believe that this is what makes life, I believe that perspective and point of view matter. In life we must be comfortable in our own story so that we may accept others’ stories as real and true to them. 

My beliefs are my beliefs. They may be similar to yours but they may not be. We were made for our own story not someone else’s. We were made to tell of our own heart, put into our lives and the lives of others for reasons we may never realize until we skim those words again. 

My book has been bruised and beaten, sometimes put on pedestal, moved from place to place… Some have applauded it while others walked away from it. My story would be nothing without the others who have taken the pen for a while, some of the words have been hateful and degrading while others spoke encouragement and love. 

In both moments I learned who I wanted to be and how I wanted to be with others. I learned who and what I wanted to fight for, I learned it was your story that was what I wanted most of all. I wanted your story to stand up and teach people about their own lives so even when it has faded with time it will never be gone for you inspired people to write their own. You made mistakes and you claimed them, you fell down but you always stood back up. Maybe yours has been a song, a poem, a short novel but realize that you have never stopped writing. 

Every moment inked into life, it is your story I believe in, it is your story that matters. 

The Good Trade: How to Give Back When You’re Short on Cash Part I

In August, The Good Trade, a website that promotes brands, items, and ideas dedicated to social good, published our article about how to give when you’re strapped for cash.
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Giving Back Doesn’t Have To Involve Money

The global economy is a rollercoaster. China’s growth rate goes down 6%, Brexit occurs and global warming is at its worst with record breaking global temperatures. The world feels as if it is in turmoil. On top of that you’re worried about job security or paying back student loans, and charitable giving seems like a secondary priority. Don’t lose heart. Giving back and making a difference doesn’t have to break the bank.  Here are some low cost and meaningful ways to give.

 

1. CULTIVATE AN ATTITUDE OF ABUNDANCE

First, let’s start with our minds. Be courageous and realize that you have more than you think. If you have a bed, shelter, clothing, a job, and family or friends, then you are in a very “wealthy” state. Understanding your own abundance will allow you to see how much you actually have. 

Go over the positives in your life. Write down heartfelt quotes that inspire you. As you fill yourself up with this goodness, you will be able to give to others. This gratitude will not only make us feel happier, but also keep our hearts healthier.

2. PICK UP THE PHONE 

Instead of being constantly worried about where our world is going, why not pick up the phone and find out how someone else is doing? Forget your concerns for a moment. Instead of calling someone to vent, why not call them to tell them you care?

Calling someone “for no reason” is an important opportunity show them that you are thinking of them. You are taking time out of your busy day to reach out. Everyone needs someone to just listen sometimes. They may be filled with joy or sadness. Be there to celebrate their good news, or support them with compassion.

A side benefit to you is that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems and live longer. Remember, listening does not cost anything financially, and look at the good you are doing!

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Stay tuned this Friday to see other ways to give when your wallet is slim!

Can’t wait until Friday? Click here for the full article!

Goodnet: How to Donate Your Time and Money to the Right Cause Part III

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This is Part III of our series from Goodnet, a socially conscious magazine, with an article on “How to Donate Your Time and Money to the Right Cause.”

Missed earlier installments? Read Part I and Part II here!

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7. How do you measure success within your organization?

First, we set “hard” goals and objectives in order to quantify our impact. These goals include: the number of donors and volunteers working with our NGO partners, aggregated annual volunteer hours, the number of corporate clients we work with, and our client retention rate. The more data we have on our work, the more we can continue to enhance our services moving forward. Second, we truly believe in setting and achieving “soft” goals. These include creating a positive team culture, encouraging UniversalGiving’s core values in everything we do, and developing a sense of leadership in our team members. We believe that all of these quantitative and qualitative objectives are critical for running a successful organization, especially in social entrepreneurship.

8. Facebook or Twitter?

Both Facebook and Twitter are so useful in getting the word out about exciting opportunities with our NGO partners, new UniversalGiving initiatives, highlighting our marketing partnerships, and connecting with our supporters. If I had to choose one, I would use Facebook for the greater diversity in content that you can feature, event invites – and certainly photos! A photo can move your heart more than the letter of an alphabet. Get people’s hearts moving, and their giving, will too. I also see so much value in unique social media platforms like Snapchat and Pinterest. Do something different, test it out, and find out what works!  

9. What do you want Goodnet users to know about your organization?

Goodnet users should know that at UniversalGiving we are always innovating. We’re stretching the boundaries of what’s possible in the social impact sphere. We do this through our website innovations, and also ensuring we are a model of sustainability through our corporate service. UniversalGiving Corporate helps manage global Corporate Social Responsibility for companies, including the strategy, operations and NGO Vetting. Showing you can bring in revenue and providing financial sustainability for your organization is important for social entrepreneurs everywhere.

10. How can people get involved?

You can get involved by giving $25 to provide a month of meals to a child in Haiti or volunteering with migrant children in Beijing for a month. Both of these opportunities will have an enormous impact on the people you’re serving – and on yourself.  We’re not just changing other people’s lives – we’re being changed into more compassionate people, too.

Please remember, we are all “philanthropists” every day. Philanthropy isn’t just about giving money or doing a service project overseas, it’s about the love of people. You can start at home. Find someone who needs your help and begin.

The Pamela Positive: What We Have In Common

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You, me, the night building manager, the cleaners and homeless people all have something in common: We need to be nourished.

The other night, I was helping lead a Full Circle Fund meeting, which is working to provide economic opportunities for people across our world.  It’s a wonderful group, focused on providing financial support and volunteer time to help serve the community.

That evening, we had leftover sandwiches from dinner.  While I usually take any leftovers from the meetings I attend to homeless people, I thought perhaps I would give myself a rest from it this evening.  It was a huge tray I would have to balance, carrying my many bags as well. Yet something made me gather up the sandwiches, and hope there would be someone who would appreciate them.

When I approached the night building manager downstairs, he was a bit hesitant at first… but after positive encouragement he took two and with much gratitude. Two of the cleaners said no, hesitantly… but when I spoke to them in Spanish, they took two to three sandwiches each! As I then turned outside, a lovely man cleaning the outdoor tiles in the rain lifted up his hood, smiled widely, and took two.

I passed an elderly homeless man in a wheelchair underneath the cover of a prominent office building, who reached out to take two sandwiches as well.   As I walked down the street, a gentle, petite Asian man, with bags and bags of recycling beside him, was persistently searching through the refuse to find more cans.  He was so slight of frame and with a smile that beamed. He took the entire rest of the tray.

Within five minutes, 15 sandwiches were given. And my heart was given to as well, filled by being able to help other people in one small way.

Make the effort to give, of whatever we may have.  For we all need to be nourished.