How To Be Generous Even If You’re Broke

Illustration of donation support iconsWhen you break generosity down to its raw form, it’s made up of two parties: one with surplus and the other with need. And the decision to be generous is a form of love.

In 2015, I decided I wouldn’t wait until I was “wealthy” to start giving. Generosity was a journey I desired to embark on now.

I believed generosity was less like an arrow and more like a boomerang. It always comes back to you.

But my giving at the time consisted of whatever I have in my pocket to give to the beggars around. Later I graduated to having a percentage of my per month income to give to the needy. Which was great! It was a solid starting point and it helped form the perspective on money that I needed at that time in my life.

But eventually, I began feeling small. Almost like my contribution wasn’t truly making a difference. At the time, my income wasn’t high and I just couldn’t afford to pay off debt, survive in Abuja, and give 5%-10% to a cause that I cared about.

But then I realized generosity is rarely about money.

It’s about time. It’s about friendship. It’s about opportunities, introductions, and bro-deals. And sure, it was about money too. So here’s what I did:

1. I Created a Time Account

Over the next few years, I created not only a giving account at my bank, but a time account on my computer. I decided I would donate 4 hours per month helping people do things like move their house, design a business card, or just give them a friendly introduction to an important contact.

2. I Paid For Dinner

This is my favorite way to give. For such a small cost it seems to create a huge sense of gratitude. It might be because the cost of dinner is a real necessity. We go into our meal believing we will be covering our portion of the tab and then, BAM! Someone picks up the check… and a rush of financial relief floods in. What a gift. Next time you’re at dinner with a friend, pick up the tab. I promise your kindness will be returned.

3. I Gave More Effectively Than Anyone Else

I believe every human life is worth exactly the same. This means the child who needs to eat in Nigeria is just as valuable as the man who needs money to fund his ALS treatment in America. What this also means is your generosity toward either of these individuals is equal. But the cost… is drastically different. It may only take N10,000 to feed a child in Nigeria for a month while $5 wouldn’t even dent a fraction of ALS treatment in America. I call this effective self- denial. I began looking for charities where my money had an impact somewhere else in the world. For example, for $10 you can provide someone clean water for 10 years with Living Water International. Or for $7 you can provide life-saving vaccinations to a child for 10 years with End 7. Also you can give to Joyce Meyer Ministries doing great to humanity. It was charities like these that made me realize that generosity, even in its smallest form, can still be significant.

The question is, will you join me? Not that I earn a lot or i boast am the best giver in the world, but we can always do better and put others in need to whatever need we have.

Do you give to anyone? Do you support a cause or maybe your church? What’s stopped you in the pas? Let me know in the comments below…

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Giving To Charity When You Don’t Have Money To Spare

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody. I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty, than the person who has nothing to eat.” – Mother TeresaLet us beg from Our Lady to make our hears "meek and humble" like her Son's was. We learn humility through accepting humiliations cheerfully. Do not let a chance pass you by. It is so easy to be proud, harsh, moody and selfish but we have been created for better things. Why stoop down to things that will spoil the beauty of our hearts?    - Mother Teresa

The life of Mother Teresa is a great example of a charity giver and lover of kindness to humanity. She believed in loving people more than yourself and do the little you can do to contribute to one’s life, adding a smile to someone’s face can go a long way.

Portraying my point to the subject matter, giving to charity when you don’t have money to spare. This can have a negative effect on you. However, if you value being able to help others and contribute, you may feel upset or even guilty that you’re no longer in a position to do so. Or perhaps you’ve rarely or never given to charity in the past, but you’ve been moved by the suffering caused by the financial crisis – yet you yourself have little money to give.

The good news is that there are a number of ways you can make a real difference, without much money. Here are three ways that you could put into practice today, whatever your financial circumstances. Why not give one a try?

You might not be able to contribute N5,000/month to a good cause, but how about N200- N500? Foregoing a fast food package once a month could give you enough for this.

Remember that next time you think that your N200 or N500 note won’t make any difference. It’s like voting; each individual’s act may be as insignificant as a single drop of water, but add those drops together and you have a river strong and powerful enough to sweep change across the world.

Save Your Spare Change

Do your pockets end up full of small change? Many of us have a jar of coins gathering dust at home. How about saving up all your nickles and dimes for a month, and donating them to charity (dropping them into a donations jar is an easy way to do this). You’re very unlikely to miss them!“Go out into the world today and love the people you meet. Let your presence light new light in the hearts of people.” - Mother Teresa

You could take this idea further by asking friends or colleagues to join in. How about putting a big jar in the kitchen (or some other communal location) at work, and asking people to drop in any change that they have? One of the reasons why many of us contribute little or nothing to charity is because we just don’t get around to it – you’ll be giving your colleagues an easy and quick way to change the world!

Get Sponsored to Do Something

If you don’t have any money of your own to give to charitable causes, how about giving someone else’s? No, I’m not suggesting a Robin Hood plan of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor … instead, you ask people to sponsor you to do something. (If possible, get your whole family, or some work colleagues, on board.)

Your options here are really only limited by your imagination. And don’t think that you’re too old, or that your kids are too young; tiny children can participate in simple events like sponsored walks, and one a person who is between 70 and 79 years old I know has just abseiled from the roof of a hospital building to raise money for their geriatric ward.

Doing a sponsored event is also a great way to break out of your comfort zone, or to do something you’ve always wanted to try but never plucked up the courage to attempt!

Here are just a few of the many sponsored events you might consider:

  • Ask people to sponsor you to lose weight (get healthy and raise money for a good cause)
  • A sponsored walk (anything from your local park with the kids, to walking the Great Wall of China)
  • Running a marathon or taking part in an organized cycle event
  • Abseiling, bungee-jumping, hang-gliding…
  • Using one of your skills: For example. If you’re a writer, how about organizing a “sponsored write”?

Helping Others Brings Happiness

I also believe in the wisdom of the saying: “What goes around comes around”. When you help others it does come back to you. And it does not have to be a big thing, even a small token of help can make a huge difference in the lives of someone else. So the next time you are feeling down or overwhelmed with your own issues, help someone else. It will bring much happiness into your own life. And you will have made a difference in the life of someone else. And is that not a purpose of each of our lives – to make a difference to other people.

Have a blessed weekend guys!!