The GiveList is great idea from Allison Fine and Marnie Webb that is encouraging conversation and other ways to give contributions that aren't cash to charitable causes. The idea is that even if times are bad, you don't have to be stingy. In the last 24 hours since the project launched, there's been a firehose of ideas for giving that don't require getting out your checkbook or credit card and cringing.
Don't get me wrong - giving money to charitable causes is a good thing - but if you looking into your wallet makes you want to cry, there are alternatives. Need some inspiration? Marnie has summarized a list of the ideas from yesterday and here's a few gems from the last few hours:
- Cybersibek: Animal shelters always need old blankets/comforters. Shelters R being overwhelmed because people R losing homes/can't afford pets.
- ALSofGNY: Offer to make up Pre-Addressed, Stamped Envelopes/Cards for people with disabilities for them to send out for the holidays.
- ChildrensHealth: Children's hospitals always need toys this time of year. Don't wait till the last minute - it takes time to sort, distribute.
- RedCross: Send a free, downloadable holiday card to a hero http://www.redcross.org/holidaymail
In The Gift, Lewis Hyde explains through several folk tales and anthropological studies that the Gift Economy is not one of reciprocation at all. In fact, this obligatory reciprocation has sprouted from the idea of trade in our current market economy. A gift is not, in fact, a gift unless it continues circulating. So, I buy lunch for person A, then person A gives away her last $10 to person B, who uses it to buy sandwiches, which he shares with person C, who is now well fed enough to get creative and paint that amazing piece of art, which she gives to person D, who is so inspired by that art that he donates it to the local artist community, who displays it in their community garden, which many walk by to admire, one of whom decides to donate some money to a local neighbourhood beautifying project, which builds a spectacular park where I can now enjoy reading in, which will lead to all sorts of wonderful things.
The gift, as it moves along, actually becomes more and more valuable. In my example, a gift of lunch from me could turn into a large improvement in my community, but in really basic terms, the very nature of the gift is to continue to grow in value as it gets passed along and the increments don’t tend to be felt as burdens to the person passing the gift along, either as it is a natural process. Remember the story of the guy who ‘Traded up’ the paperclip for a house in Saskatchewan? Well, that’s kind of the idea…each ‘trade’ became a simple increment between a red paperclip to a whole house. And, at first glance, it may not seem like a very ‘gifty’ experiment (since only one guy got the house), but Kipling, Saskatchewan couldn’t be happier about the press and the sheer craziness of the act has sprouted many interesting copycat stories, re-ignited the swap industry and inspired many, many people to go out and try fantastic, crazy things.
I'm also in the process reducing clutter and stuff in our home as we prepare for a move. I've been looking at the books that I haven't yet donated to our library that sit on my bookshelf (yes, I'm so 19th Century, I do still read books in paper format). These are the books that are probably of more interest to nonprofit and social media folks than the local library patrons.
I've been reluctant to give them away on my blog because it would require that I shell out some postage money, but I thought why not a "pay it forward" book giveaway?
So, here's how it works. Leave a comment and I'll pick the random winners. The winners agree to actually read the book, perhaps blog a review, and give the book away to someone else.
I purchased and received an additional copy of Seth Godin's Tribes. Marnie Webb has a review of it here. Leave a comment by the end of the week and I'll pick two folks at random to get copies of the book. Make sure you include a valid email address in the comment field.