8 Ways to Celebrate the International Day of Charity with Quality Giving
The United Nations chose September 5 as the International Day of Charity to commemorate the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Every day can be a day of charity for us, but let’s take some time this day to reflect on our giving strategies and improve on them. Here are eight quality giving ideas for September 5 and beyond.
Plan and Choose Gifts with Care
We’ve all been there – scrambling to buy last-minute gifts as loved ones’ birthdays or holidays approach. We can end up buying gifts without considering their usefulness, recipients’ tastes, or our budget. To prevent this, I began planning for special days and preparing gifts in advance. I’ve been feeling more peaceful and confident about gift-giving ever since. Here’s what I do:
- At the end of each year, I set goals, resolutions, and to-dos for each month of the New Year. As I do so, I write down special days and birthdays of loved ones and plan when to purchase birthday cards and gifts (usually a month before the big days).
- I purchase a stack of birthday cards at the beginning of the year and throughout the year, so I always have them handy. I consult my calendar for loved ones’ birthdays and write birthday cards a few weeks in advance.
- At Christmas, I channel my inner Santa and make a gift list a few months in advance (no ‘Naughty’ column on that list!). I also shop for gifts throughout the year; if I see something that my loved ones might need or enjoy, I buy it even if their birthdays or holidays are far away. Then I have a nice collection of gifts (often bought at sale prices) to give when those special days arrive.
Check Expiry Dates on Food Donations
Speaking of giving with care, let’s check expiry/best-before dates on food items we donate to food banks. Part of my job at the local food bank is to sort donations and discard anything that has expired. I’ve seen donations of food that have expired at many different times, including the ones that expired over a decade ago! It’s nice to want to help those in need instead of wasting food, but we can apply the Golden Rule here (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”) and give good quality food to those we want to help.
Offer and Spend Quality Time
According to Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the book, 5 Love Languages, there are five core ways people communicate love, and one of them is through quality time. When we spend time with ourselves and others, how focused and genuine are we? I know I often zone out during conversations with loved ones (don’t tell them!); even during self-care time, I jump from one activity to another and end up feeling more flustered and unrested. Let’s give ourselves and our loved ones attentive and focused quality time; it could mean active listening during conversations, not multi-tasking, or being completely present during leisure or social times (e.g., enjoying the beach instead of taking photos of it and posting them online).
Pass Down Family History to Younger Generations
I’ve never seen my family tree; I heard we lost it either during the Korean War or when extended families moved from one place to another. Not knowing my family history before my grandparents’ times affected my sense of belonging in a tremendous way. If you have children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren, tell them the history of your family or about your ancestors – share anecdotes, family recipes, or old family photos. Giving a gift of family history can be a source of great pride and a sense of belonging for younger ones in your family.
Hand-write Letters and Cards
My first blog article with 365give was about writing thank-you letters. I LOVE writing letters and cards, and I still write them by hand. My family and friends tell me how much they appreciate my handwritten letters and cards in the mail. With the advancement of technology, fewer people hand-write letters these days, so hand-written letters have become gifts that people cherish more now. I find that, when I hand-write letters, I take more time to think and reflect on what I want to say; my hand-written letters are better in quality than some of my electronic communications. Next time you think of someone to communicate with, why not try a hand-written letter or card?
Review Your Regular Donation Amount
Inflation has been causing the price of everything to go up. We hear on the news about people’s wages not catching up to the high rate of inflation. Charities are also struggling with increased prices of goods and services they have to purchase. Are our donations catching up with inflation? Perhaps we can take some time today to review our financial giving, and (if we are able) adjust the amount of donation to help charities continue to serve their communities and clients during this challenging time.
Donate Securities, Mutual Funds, or Cryptocurrencies
If you would like to make financial gifts for charities and causes you support, these are ways you can give in addition to or in lieu of cash donations. Some charities accept the gifts of securities, mutual funds, or cryptocurrencies (365Give accepts the gift of securities: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/365give-society/). Be creative with ways to give, even with financial donations!
Our everyday shopping habits can make a difference. Choosing fresh, wholesome, and sustainable food items and natural cleaning products can be better for our health and the environment. Buying local products can help reduce our carbon footprint, as well as buying natural products or products with minimal packaging. These days, there are many low-quality products that are cheaper in price; people often purchase them to use them a few times and discard them easily, only to buy cheaper, low-quality items to replace them. Why not invest in higher-quality items that will last longer? Whenever you purchase an item, consider the potential effects it can have on you, others, and the environment, and choose carefully.
Quality giving doesn’t have to involve big and fancy gifts or grand gestures of charity. But we can always look at what and how we give, and think of ways to make them better.
Find many different giving ideas in our blog at 365give.ca to help you become a better giver!