Each year at this time, we seem to be faced with an endless list of choices to make about everything imaginable. Where to spend the holiday? Which grandparents or parents do we visit this Thanksgiving? Do we fly? Drive? what gifts do we buy, and for whom? What’s our budget? What to fix for holiday dinner? Do we go to the office party? What to wear, whom to bring, when to leave? It goes on and on. Somehow we all volunteer for an annual overdose of adrenaline and stress hormones. One decision we may also be considering is where to make the donations that will make best use of the scant dollars we may have to give. I have a few suggestions for you to consider, perhaps just a bit out of the ordinary, but I hope you’ll give these ideas a look.
If you do not normally click on those “donate” boxes on the web sites you frequent, make this year a first. We all benefit from free apps, web sites, software downloads and all sorts of pro bono information, so why not send the developers a few dollars? I know it’s easy to just drop your pocket change into a bucket on your way into the store, but giving what you can to all those developers who work hard to produce a product that increases your productivity, makes your pages more interesting or interactive, or makes your life a little easier or just a bit more fun deserve some love, too. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but it all adds up, and I think sometimes we take all that free stuff for granted. the creative imagination required to craft and develop, market and maintain the high quality products we enjoy in such a competitive field is worthy of your few pesoss, isn’t it?
Another of my favorite ways to donate is anonymously. Have you ever wanted to help out a friend or family member, but didn’t want to insult them, damage your relationship or bruise their dignity by offering? Giving Anon is the best way to send money to someone you choose to be the recipient of a monetary gift, without ever having to reveal your identity. You still receive the pleasure of their gratitude by way of a recorded message, thanking you for your generosity and sharing how your gift will be used. Yet, they will not know you are their benefactor. I just love that. Go here: Giving anonymously.
Check out their new “Giving Widget” that allows you to add a button to your web site or blog to raise money for yourself or your favorite cause.
Help bring home the holidays to seniors or those who are isolated. Use your gifts as a tech-savvy Samaritan to set up a web cam and Skype center so that they can chat “face to face” with loved ones. You do all the work, they just sit down and let the love begin. That’s one way you can make a difference even if you don’t have a dime to spare. Use what you have at your disposal to bring joy to others.
Finally, teach someone to fish. You know, “better to teach a man to fish than to give a man a fish.” Or, words to that effect. Teach someone whom you may know to be technically intimidated how to use some gadget or gizmo that you just know will make their lives better or easier. Whether it’s a friend, a relative or a complete stranger, the knowledge you think of as just the ho-hum minutiae of your every day can unlock a new world of possibilities for someone who let tech pass them by.
These are just a few ideas to think about as you ruminate on the best way to use your donation dollars this year. Got other great ways to give? Share!