The 10-Day Give Round-up

Today is the last day of The 10-Day Give, so here’s a summary of my efforts and experiences (for full details, check out my other blog that focuses on charity).

Day 1: PayPalled $15.64 to The Baobab Home, an orphanage in Tanzania that has expanded locally to address other child poverty issues. I’ve since exchanged a few emails with the American woman who started it up and runs it with her Tanzanian husband. There’s going to be a fundraiser for The Baobab Home here in NYC next month – an auction in TriBeCa. Cool!

Day 2 & 3: Unsuccessfully tried to give $5 to a bum…walked 2 miles around the city but just didn’t see anyone who felt “right”. So I doubled my coupon-collecting efforts for the Overseas Coupon Program, which means I send current and <2 months expired coupons to a US military base abroad. I picked one in Okinawa because (a) I think it’s one of the biggest foreign bases we have, (b) food in Japan is expensive, and (c) it’s really hard to eat “American” (aside from McD’s and KFC) in Japan because the cuisine is so different – yes, it’s delicious, but 3 meals a day, every day? For little, non-Japanese kids? For people who can’t read the directions on Japanese packaging? So I raided the recycling bins in my skyscraper apartment building on Sunday afternoon and clipped $500 worth…took hours.

Day 4: Ever since I came across the concept of “snowflaking”, I’ve wanted to do it – but I have no debts and my emergency fund is healthy, so I was having trouble coming up with a purpose for it. Well, that’s been resolved. Snowflakes are not a monthly donation to The Baobab Home.

Day 5: I was kind of busy with work that day, so I took the first opportunities that presented themselves: $1 to my favorite bum with the kind eyes and $1 at the drugstore cash register for the Walk To Cure Diabetes.

Day 6: Finally, Kiva had more than 3 loans in need of funding! I had over 150 to choose from, and picked an egg seller in Ghana. Why? Because she sells eggs, not cosmetics or candy or liquor like so many others.

Day 7:  I doubled the contents of the coupon-savings Snowflake Jar, from $10.75 to $21.50. And judging from the results of my coupon foraging today (Sunday, Day 10), I’ll be able to put in another $6-10 this week. I project that my Nov 15 donation to The Baobab Home will be around $40-50. Very happy about that!

Day 8: No Give today – but I knew I’d be making up for it on Day 10.

Day 9: Another Kiva loan, this time to a small group of women in the Dominical Republic who are a higher risk than most loans for defaulting. Most Kiva borrowers have been in their line of work for a while, even had cashflow/expansion loans before. These women are just starting out.

Day 10:  First, I scavenged 27 paper recycling bins that service 220 apartments for unwanted coupons. Know which flyer is best? The P&G Brands one, which only comes out once a month. Keep your eyes peeled – it’s due either next Sunday or the one after that. Second, I gave one of my “Half-price Thai massage for Thai charity” sessions at during an unpopular time slot today, raising another $50 for Thai Freedom House. Their program brings Thai language lessons to hill tribe people and Burmese refugees (adults and kids) in the northwest of Thailand, so that this underclass can do something other than $1-a-day construction work. The kids also get nutritious snacks. This brings my October contribution up to $245 from 3 one-hour massages…$165 in fees, $40 in tips, which I match with another $40. The director told me that her operating expenses are ~$1500/month, so I’m psyched that I can help out with such a sizeable chunk.

What I learned
I was unable to do anything particularly personal like so many of the others did, like pick up a stranger’s tab or give away homemade cookies because that sort of thing would be looked upon with suspicion or indignation. Early on, I actually did attempt something direct for a stranger (another PF blogger), but it would appear that I creeped her out. I guess I’m too new to trust yet…oops. I think I’ll just stick with fairly remote giving.

I also discovered another thing about my preference for giving to small charities – there’s a temptation to “give til it hurts” because $50 is a significant splash in their bucket, whereas it’s not even half a drop for an organization like Unicef or The Red Cross. I think it’s a smart move on my part to put parameters on my giving, like the coupon snowflaking and the massage-for-donation offer.

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3 Responses

  1. I have had a few unsuccessful attempts as well! It is funny how difficult it can be to just do something nice for someone sometimes! A lot of people seem to get freaked out by it 😉

  2. just came across you blog. it’s great! I like this 10-day give idea. I will have to explore it more. hmmm. but it is funny how it can freak someone out. Nice just isn’t a daily factor. 🙂

  3. Thank you for giving me this link! These are fabulous ideas–I knew about Kiva, but you have some interesting orgs here I knew nothing about. (And a special shout out to the Walk giving. I work for a different diabetes-related non-profit. It’s quickly becoming an epidemic. Muchas gracias for giving to the cause!)

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