Friday, July 8, 2011

Joyful Giving!

My two sons--ages 7 and 6--spent an entire summer afternoon wrapping presents to give to each other, their father, and me. The presents, toys that they already owned, old matchbox cars, a couple of super-bouncy balls, a crayon, etc., were carefully wrapped with excessive amounts of Scotch tape and layers of multi-colored construction paper.

They delighted when I unwrapped my gifts--squeals of laughter--and proceeded to re-wrap the same gifts for another turn.

It struck me that we know from a very early age that giving is joyful, fun, and fulfilling. When we pick the perfect birthday gift for a friend--even when it takes a couple shopping trips or evenings on Amazon--we're almost as excited as she is to open it. This is how giving should be.

Sometimes, though, when we translate this experience into charitable giving, it isn't what we would first describe as joyful. We can feel inundated with invitations to attend galas, direct mail solicitations, and special requests from friends. And there are so many good causes--1.5 million not-for-profit organizations in the U.S. alone.

This blog is about celebrating philanthropy and helping people bring clarity, intentionality, and joy to their charitable giving. I have invited Ather Ahmed, a junior at Valparaiso University, to post to this blog as well. From time to time, he'll interview individuals and community leaders about giving and philanthropy and share what he's learned on this blog.

If you have a moment of joyful giving that you'd like to share with me, please let me know... I'd like to celebrate.

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