Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Generosity. It is a term that is frequently used in the contexts of monetary giving, emotional attention and the allocation of time. I was wondering, considering the challenging economy, if people's generosity in all contexts has been suspended or expanded?

I have heard stories of people who still are driving luxury cars but feel the need to cut back on their charitable contributions. No question charities are getting hit hard overall...but how can we encourage generosity despite the national tone of fiscal conservation?

Here are a few suggestions of how we can continue to be generous on many levels despite the difficult times we are in...

1. A close friend bought me a birthday present a few years ago and it was one of the best presents I have ever received. It was a "gift certificate" of sorts to the website Kiva.org which provides micro finance loans to primarily women of developing nations. The loans are paid back over time by those granted the funds, and the money is mostly used to help these women start small business. It is amazing how twenty American dollars can go so far to improve the life of a whole family somewhere else in the world. Each donor or recipient of a gift certificate can search through profiles on the Kiva website and decide who they would like to lend their money to. The next time you're thinking of a hostess gift, or a birthday present for a friend...give them the gift of generosity and send them a gift certificate from Kiva.

2. If you know of a woman who just gave birth, a person who has lost their parent recently...or even just a neighbor who has been going through a hard time lately, make them a soup, or roast them a chicken and drop it off at their home...

3. Generosity of time can often be more powerful than money. Volunteer to tutor a child at a local community center or even just call an old friend and lend them an year for more then a quick few minutes. Although alone time is important in the busy world we live, often we get more re-charged from feeling that we step outside of our own selves, then we ever could from relaxing in front of a movie.

Do you have any suggestions of how to encourage generosity, in any form, during these times?

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