No Money? Just Getting Started? Give Anyway!

21 Dec

Young, Broke and Giving
As a former development director for a nonprofit, a self-identified lefty, and a true believer in what giving does for YOU, I could not resist the temptation to write a quick note on the subject. The threat of malemployment* for recent college graduates is real.  Giving is a helpful tool to resist the temptation to let go of your dream life or, worse, give in to a “good enough” life. Below is my quick and dirty guide to giving selfishly.

Give from your Core: Choose a cause you really connect with. If it means your alma mater or your local homeless shelter, great. But if it means giving to an organization in Costa Rica because you recently had a transformative experience there, then stick with that. It may sound taboo but giving is as much about YOU the giver as it is about the organization or cause.

Give Continuously – The donation amount is important but what makes the difference in your giving impact is your commitment to the organization. You demonstrate that commitment by giving continuously.

Give over Cocktails: The true testament of whether or not you care about a cause is if you are talking about it everywhere, anywhere and to everyone. Are you talking about your volunteer work at all the parties you attend? Did I mention this is absolutely free? Did I mention this helps you demonstrate how well rounded, generous, cool and knowledgeable you are?

Give Yourself: It’s no longer expected that you volunteer to mentor when what you really want to do is revamp an organization’s archaic website with your awesome design skills. Nonprofits now incorporate business practices traditionally associated with for-profit corporations (think Return On Investment). This means you have more choices over how you can contribute to your favorite charity. Use that choice! It’s a win-win; you help the nonprofit and you add another website to your design reel.

Give NOW: Abundance is a lifestyle not a goal. Don’t wait until December 31st (when most people give in order to ensure the tax-write off), your next paycheck, and definitely not until you pay off your debt. Giving is an investment in your karma…and can you really put a price tag on that?

*A term used to describe college graduates employed in jobs they could have held without going to college. For more information about malemployment click here.

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