Return On Investment

“My life is my message.”

— Mahatma Ghandi

Sometimes when you give, it doesn’t give us much in return.

Just a few of the donated supplies at our office

Maybe it was a check you wrote for a cause that you didn’t really care about. Or, you chipped in a dollar for one of those checkout donation boxes. Perhaps you did an automatic tax refund donation by checking a checkbox on your tax return.

That could be called mindless, or automatic, giving. There are a few reasons why it’s not very satisfying.

  • It takes almost no time.
  • It often involves a small, monetary donation.
  • There was little forethought. Or afterthought.
  • It’s for a cause you know nothing about.

Why would you ever want to give under those circumstances? There are a few, good reasons.

  • Small contributions multiplied many-fold can lead to big results. Loaves and Fishes meal delivery service in Portland gets around $20K annually from those little checkout lines.
  • If someone is asking you directly for a small donation to their non-profit organization, it’s possible that they are not comfortable asking for money. No one I know likes to ask for money, but charities need money too. Helping someone build confidence to continue helping their charitable cause, helps everyone.
  • It’s an invitation to learn more about where your dollar goes, and who it serves. Jot down the website on the donation box, or look it up online when you get home.
  • You are still acting and giving. That tiny, seemingly insignificant act of thankless generosity speaks volumes about your character.

Sometimes, our return on investment may be small, or even non-existant. That small donation still makes a difference.

If nothing else it says a lot about who you are.

Yesterday’s gift of time … Donated some school supplies at my office. It was nice to see the large pile of supplies as our intern who organized the donation drive will be most happy.

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About Eric Winger

Our perception of time is key to how we use our time. The most fundamental way to change that perception is to give our time. This opens us up to new opportunities and ideas from which we can build to really make a difference. ... Yes, we *do* have time to make a difference!
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