This post is sponsored by GiveForward and Find Your Influence. All opinions are mine.
There have been a lot of times in my life where I have been on the receiving end of another’s generosity, and I’m not just talking about holidays and birthdays. My family wasn’t very well off while growing up, and bags of (hand-me down) clothes would often show up on our doorstep, among other gifts of kindness. After getting married, my husband and I faced several financial hardships, from paying for the wedding itself, to paying for college and expenses, to becoming parents to twins, moving, going through a major car accident, and not making a lot of money as my husband worked as a teacher, and now on more advanced degrees. I have often felt like we were just in the stage of life, as newlyweds, as recent college grads, as new parents, of just needing help. We received many great gifts, often from strangers, or anonymous gifters, always coming at just the right time. How grateful I am for the wonderful people who throughout my life have taken the time to care for those less fortunate, to bless the down-trodden, and to give and serve without recognition or praise.
And having received so much through my life, especially in the 6 years of my marriage, my husband and I finally feel more in a position to give, albeit still not a lot, but much more than ever before. Due in large part to the success of this blog, we are in a much better place financially than we’ve been before. We can not only make sure to pay off more of our debts, but give more to charitable organizations, to our church, to friends, and so on. We no longer need every penny going into our checking account. We have room to be more charitable, and it’s a pretty wonderful feeling.
You know what’s really interesting? This Ted Talk I listened to the other day, called Money Can Buy Happiness. Over and over again through the years we’ve heard the phrase that money can’t buy happiness. But, this presenter, Michael Norton, argued that, well, it just depends on what you spend your money on. He believes that if you spend your money right, if you spent it on other people, even a little bit, will give you these good feelings. Giving money to others, even a small amount, in whatever way you want, can make you happier.
While large charity organizations are fantastic to support and the great work they do, I, personally, would rather help individuals directly, like I have been directly blessed by others in my life. And that is why I love sites like gofundme.com and Giveforward.com. On these online platforms, like Giveforward, communities can come together and support a loved one (or even a stranger) in their time of need. These are real people standing in need financially and emotionally. I have seen various campaigns for people come up on these types of sites. I have seen money being raised to pay for unexpected funeral costs of a newborn baby. I have seen money being raised to help pay for legal fees as someone fights for custody for their children. I have seen money being raised for a couple trying to pay for IVF so they can conceive a biological child. I have seen money being raised for a family suffering from cancer. And the list goes on. There are just times in our lives when money can help. Of course money is not taking away the pain and hurt or the trial these people are facing, but it is in some small showing that you care. That you hear them. That you are there. And that you love them, and are just trying to help in whatever way you can, especially if you are far away from them.
And I think that is such a beautiful thing.
Anyone can GiveForward and create a fundraising page to both raise money for those times of need, while also gathering words of encouragement and support for your loved one to help them get through their tough time. GiveForward really believes that no one should ever face life’s most difficult challenges alone, so they do everything they can to help you through those times by connecting you to your communities and providing fundraising coaches to help you with anything you need.
GiveForward started in 2008 and to date, they have helped families raise over 140 million to cover unexpected costs and help ease the stress during hard times.
So one of my goals for 2015 is to donate at least $5 to these campaigns that come across my newsfeeds and emails this year. I encourage you to adopt a similar resolution for this year. The good news is, it will make you happier. And probably some else as well.
Also, if you are looking for another great organization to support, Monkey Do Project, based in Indianapolis (where I used to live), is fantastic.
How will you choose to give this year?