Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Giving Back to TED

It was a really hard decision for me to not apply to attend TEDxWaterloo this year. I attended my first event last March in Waterloo and have been to one other event since. I start almost every day with a TED talk. I really love the events but when the applications came out this year I had my head tugging me in another direction.

I'm a doer. I'm a thinker as well but I really, really flourish when I'm doing something.

So I made the decision this year that instead of spending the day thinking and listening, I'm going to devote my TED day to doing. Between appointments and other obligations I will be volunteering at a church food bank, helping some low income folks fill out their taxes and delivering a big batch of clothes from the FoodLove clothing closet to some local agencies.

Now I know that I'm always doing something to help others but this year, it was important for me to devote this specific day to really giving back to my community. In some ways, this is also giving back to TED. In the 2 events I've been to this year, I've been given a lot. I've been inspired a lot and in my own way, since I don't have any money to give them, this is the next best way I can give back to an organization that's given me oh-so-much.

To those attending TEDxWaterloo tomorrow, I hope you have a joyful and inspiring day. I also hope that you'll share the love with the rest of us by tweeting and blogging.

Happy trails!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Donating Creatively

Photo Credit: trenttsd
We often think of donating our old clothes to organizations that call our homes or to events like Open Closet. We give money at the cash register, through the mail and online. Sometimes these donations are large and sometimes they are small. One thing that connects us all is that we always wish we could do more, give more.

I'll often have a charity contact me for a financial donation that I can't give. I will in turn ask them what physical needs their organization might have. Beware the organization that tells you they require your money and only your money! Oftentimes an organization may be in need of something I have that I no longer need and other times, they are in need of something that I can reach out to my community for.

Ask questions, get informed and don't be afraid to appeal to your personal and business ties to solicit help for any organization you believe in.

Think outside the box!

  • Old instruments lying around? Ask you local school, daycare or community centre if they could use them.

  • An older printer, scanner, computer speakers etc? MANY organizations are always in need of these items that just aren't in the budget. Before you just drop it off at a recycling centre, contact your favourite charity and ask if they are in need.

  • Furniture? Before dropping it off at a thrift store, contact your local homeless shelter or soup kitchen and ask if they have someone moving out that is in need.

  • Renovating? Be careful with your demolition and drop off light fixtures, cabinets, windows, doors and old paint to a Habitat ReStore.

  • Last year's pencil crayons, binders, rulers and pencil cases? Call an elementary school and see if they  can give it to a kid in need.

Continue to think outside the box for new donations as well. While you may not be able to go out and buy a full school year setup for another kid, you can incorporate those purchases into every dollar store trip you make during the year. One of my kids likes to help other kids, the other loves animals. So every time we go to the dollar store we will buy a stationary item and a pet item. We stash them away and a few times a year, we'll make a trip to the Humane Society to drop off food and toys for pets and to various community centres to make up school packs for kids in need.

When you're short on disposable income it can make it seem hard to donate but with a little ingenuity, you can make every spring cleaning an effort in changing the world around you!

Happy giving!