We give to charity regularly, in big (for us) and small ways. I don’t want to say never, but let me say that I don’t currently envision a life plan for myself that allows me to be the one dropping million-dollar gifts on nonprofits here and there.
Still, I do like to leverage my giving, and I like to see the organizations I support win big. The question I’ve been rolling around is how I can give a transformational financial gift to an organization I care about, without committing to more than I can afford to give, both in time and money.
Without going all e-evangelist, the internet is what can make my dream possible. I’m going to need help from other people, and since none of us have time to all get together in one place, at one time, it’ll have to happen in large part online.
The internet has made other dreams possible, as Mark Zuckerberg’s $100M gift to public schools in Newark announced on Oprah last week makes clear. Were it not for Facebook, he might not be ponying up that chunk of change.
Quibble all you want about the timing of the gift—true charity? PR stunt? guilt? Who cares? What I love about his gift is that it comes with very, very few strings. The only ones, in fact, are that the money be spent in Newark for public education, so that the schools have “flexibility to try out new things.”
That’s awesome. Sometimes, donors seem so caught up in accountability, measurement, and outcomes, that they forget the value of giving people enough resources so that they can truly learn how to do things the right way, a process which often involves doing them the wrong way first. Nonprofits, afraid to fail and risk losing funders, are at times overly cautious. $100M can help you dream big, and that’s what it will take to create change in public education.
But I digress.
My assignment for you right now is to think about how it feels when you are part of something bigger than yourself, doing good beyond what you could achieve on your own. Savor that feeling. Imagine those times when you’ve felt completely uplifted, alive, and full of joy and hope.
I want you to get ready so that when I ask for your help, you will summon up that feeling and decide to say yes to being part of a shared dream.
And, if you are wondering how a piggy bank and milk bottle can be my short- and long-term investment vehicles, allow me to explain.
Into the piggy bank go quarters, dimes, and nickels. I roll those and take them to the bank on a regular basis, pulling together probably $300 or so a year.
Forget those machines at the grocery store that do your counting for you. What, are you too lazy to count money? Both those machines AND most banks charge you to count your money, even though they are themselves making money off your money. I roll my own so the bank will not charge me a fee. I do it while I watch TV, and it takes no time at all.
The pennies I roll and deposit as well, but I have started holding some back as my part of my long-term investment strategy. They are in a third receptacle not pictured here, because you no doubt already think I have some OCD-related coin compulsion, so why give you additional photographic evidence of same?
I’ve started holding back pennies with significant dates for me, and really old ones that are in pretty good shape. The more I age, the more pennies with significant dates fall into the “really old” category, too. In 50 years, if I can sell a 1961 penny for $50, it will be a very good investment. Yes, mock if you will, but I’m simply creating a bigger opportunity for myself to find a lucky penny one of these days.
[Don't worry, mom. Penny-hoarding and change-rolling are not my only investment tactics. Just opened a new high-interest savings account this week, too!]
Back soon with more details on being part of the dream.