Bill Gates and Warren Buffet inspired when they created their Giving Pledge. It set the tone for individuals to share their prosperity with others. The philanthropic point of view has been there all along, but it has taken on new life in recent times - and heaven knows the needs are there. But what's the difference to the giver whether the contribution is in the form of cash or in time and energy? Here are a few:
- When you are hands on, you see the tangible impact of your efforts. You experience the progress, because you are right there to see it happen.
- You build a deeper connection. Altruism, the desire to help others, runs very deeply. When you are there to work, to help, you see the face of the problem you are helping to solve. You see what's really going on, rather than a sanitized, public relations version of it.
- You meet compatriots who share your interests and values. Not everyone is interested in the same issues that you are, but you can find new friends when you show up to do your thing. You build relationships working elbow-to-elbow with them.
There is something about tough times that reminds people about the responsibility they feel for other people. Perhaps it's the realization that job losses can come to anybody, and financial reverses can dramatically change the lives even of the wealthiest. And serious, chronic illness plays no favorites - your family or your neighbor's family could be touched by it, no matter whether you live in a castle or a slum.
So even if things aren't going swimmingly for you right now, you can dig in and help someone else. If you're unemployed, you can give yourself a sense of purpose, and rebuild your confidence by taking some sort of action - you give your values life when you give to somebody else. You can help even when you can't write a check. And the world will be better for it.