Why I give

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, a day when people around the world give to those causes that are important to them.

As Giving Tuesday has approached this year, I’ve found myself reflecting on my own motivations for why I give, of my time, my talent and my treasure.

Is it to serve others?  After all, ancient texts remind us it is better to give than to receive.  Maybe that is a part of being human, to be of service to others, to the best of our abilities.  Or is it the feeling I get when I give?  But that sounds selfish, to give because of how it makes me feel.

What I’ve noticed since the beginning of 2017 is that I like helping people.  I first became aware of this after reading Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.  In her discussion of the ten guideposts to authentic and wholehearted living, Brené’s ninth guidepost refers to meaningful work.  That had me curious – what did meaningful work look like for me?  I remember writing down what meaningful work looked like for me.  Aside from working with numbers and using my organizational skills, what showed up for me was I liked helping people.  At the time, I had been volunteering with my first charity on a Finance Committee for only a few months and had gotten a taste of what it felt like to help others.  The joy I received from serving was a sharp contrast to the work experience I had had to date, even when it wasn’t easy to serve.

Ever since then, this awareness has become more apparent in the work that I do.  Now, I feel like I do meaningful work as I help non-profits and charities with their accounting and tax needs.  Whether I am organizing a not-for-profits accounting records, or calculating payroll source deductions, I feel the same joy that I first felt when I began serving.

My hope, as Cyber Monday ends and Giving Tuesday begins, is that we all give, of our time, our talent and our treasure.  Not only on Giving Tuesday, but every day, to the best of our abilities.  This doesn’t have to be in big ways.  Even the simplest of gestures like a smile and a hello for a stranger or someone who looks like they need it can do wonders.  I believe if we do this, then the world can become a more loving, kind and compassionate place.


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