One day a year to give to the causes you care about most

Thank You

Here’s a big THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this year’s World Give Day so great! You are all so amazing.

The giving doesn’t have to end just because World Give Day is over. Make giving back a constant part of your life!

Happy World Give Day!

How the GiveForward team celebrated World Give Day… giving out tons of free hugs!

Congratulations to Anne-Therese Ens for winning the World Give Day Video Challenge! Her amazing video for Team Jackson got 1480 views in one week.

Watch the beautifully touching, winning video for yourself!

Congratulations!

This moving post is by our friend Jennifer Barbour. Sometimes the greatest gift you can give is to tell your story.

Philanthropy Friday: The Gift of Telling a Story (for World Give Day)

GiveForward is hosting a blog series in honor of World Give Day, which happens annually on May 4th.

The prompt is: “Small gift, big impact: tell us about a time when you saw a small act of giving create lots of unexpected joy.”

I’ve worked within the nonprofit sector, specifically in the mental health and substance abuse treatment field, since 2004. Though not a therapist, I have worked with women in treatment who have stories to tell. Being on the public communications side, it’s always a difficult journey to travel to tell these stories. Not everyone is ready to tell them, and not everyone is ready to hear them.

I’ve heard stories from women who have been through hell and back more than once in their lives. They’ve endured the kind of physical and mental abuse and pain that no human being should have to experience. The kind of stuff that you just can’t imagine. As a result of the decisions they made to deal with that pain, they’ve lost their children to the state, ruined their careers, gone to jail, and damaged every meaningful relationship.

Yet, somehow, they’ve made it to the other side.

What is always awe-inspiring to me is the strength that it takes to even get to the point of thinking about telling these stories.

Walking through the door of a treatment facility is one of the most courageous things a person might do in their entire life. Yet, so many people never get through that door.

Stigma and shame are a horrible, yet very real part of dealing with a mental health or addiction problem. The stories that these women have shared with me were shared because they wanted those that hadn’t walked through the door yet to find the courage. They wanted to be an inspiration. Whether it was sharing their story for a blog post or a news story, they knew that they could save a person’s life by showing that it is possible to get to the other side. Someone, somewhere, did it for them.

The small gift of encouragement that empowers a person to make a turn in the right direction. A story to give them hope for a future.

That’s one powerful gift.

This post is part of a blog series inspired by World Give Day and hosted by GiveForward. To find other posts in this series please visit www.worldgiveday.com or follow us on twitter@worldgiveday.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

The GiveForward team started World Give Day off right by handing out hugs in Chicago this morning. Take a look at how our team created unexpected joy in honor of World Give Day!

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Need a hug?  Stay tuned for info on where you can get your afternoon dose of hugs!:)

Milaap is a great site that enables you to lend to India’s working poor so they can get access to education, clean water, safe lighting and more. They put together this post for World Give Day so you can give a loan for free! Check it out.

Make a FREE loan on Milaap this World Give Day!

We have come a long way since our launch in 2010, and we are extremely grateful to all our lenders and supporters, because this would have been impossible without you.

Today, May 4th, is World Give Day, and as a way of giving back to you, we have US $40,000 that you can lend for FREE on Milaap, courtesy of one of one of Milaap’s earliest supporters, UnLtd India!

All you have to do is go to milaap.org/redeem, register or login with your Facebook account and enter “UnLtd” as the coupon code. Once you do this, you will get $50 in Milaap credits, and you can help kick start an artisan’s small business, train an unemployed youth for a job or help a family build a toilet so that they no longer have to use the bushes.

You have shown that it is possible to evolve from the traditional concept of giving to the newer one of microlending, and that slowly, we can reinvent the way Indians think about giving by making it pervasive, compulsive and every day.

Now, you can pay it forward! It only takes a click, so visit milaap.org/redeem to change someone’s life today for free.

Here is a post by writer Imogen Reed as part of our WGD blog series. Follow her footsteps this WGD and talk to a stranger — it may make more of a difference than you realize!

World Give Day – Food for Thought

I like to think of myself as a rather giving person. Of course, my friends and family are the ones who tend to get the best deals. I’m always the one who picks up the bar tab or pays the restaurant bill and I give regularly to local charities, supporting the RSPCA as well as a local animal shelter. I was going to write about some of these wonderful causes, but then I started thinking – It’s often the gifts you don’t expect that make the biggest impact.

An Unexpected Give

A few months ago, I was out with some friends for one of their birthdays. It was a night of the usual shenanigans – drinks at a local bar, head off to a nightclub, then stumble to a taxi in the early hours of the morning and head home for a few hours’ sleep before work. It was a great evening and it’s always good to catch up with friends, but eventually the night ended and we went our separate ways.

Now usually, I would flag down a taxi right outside the club and head straight home, but by this point, I was absolutely starving. Chips, I thought. I’ll go and get some chips.

There’s a great little chip shop that we always go to in Cardiff, but it was on the other side of town. Not a problem, I thought. It’s not that far. And it really isn’t – especially if you take a shortcut through the lanes at the back of the club.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t recommend stumbling into a dark alley in the middle of the night just so you can get some chips. It was cold and miserable and to be honest, a bit scary. But it was alright. There definitely wasn’t anyone there.

You’re Never Alone in the City

“Excuse me…” The voice behind me sounded aggressive, menacing even. I put my head down and quickened my pace, but he called out again. “Oi, mate…” I paused, not sure whether I should turn to face him. I was alone in a dark alley with someone I could only assume was a murderer. I slowly tilted my head over my shoulder and saw a black silhouette stagger towards me. He stepped forward into the flickering glow of a street light and then I could see his face. It turned out he wasn’t very threatening at all. He was pale and thin and to be honest, a bit scruffy. “Have you got any spare change?”

After the initial relief of not being stabbed, I recalled some random ‘facts’ I’d been told about homeless people. Don’t give them any money they’ll only spend it on booze. Drugs and alcohol, that’s all they want. And as I thought about it, he sighed and his shoulders slumped. “Look, I’m not going to lie… I’m desperate. I haven’t eaten today and I just want some money for food. Can you help me out?”

“Tell you what,” I replied. “I’m quite hungry too. Let’s go and grab something.”

He looked surprised. Truly surprised.

A Small Price to Pay

There was a Burger King just around the corner, and by the time we got there and ordered some food, I found out why he was so taken aback. His name was Paul and he’d been living on the streets for several months. In that time, only a handful of people had even bothered to look him in the eyes. It was heart-breaking to hear, but he told me all about his time on the streets, about people who were too scared to pay attention to him, or too repulsed to care. And this was a man who used to own his own business – something to do with finance that I could barely understand. He was intelligent and charming… not at all what I’d come to expect of a homeless person. He wasn’t drunk or looking for drugs. He was just someone who’d been unlucky. Someone who had lost everything and had no-one to turn to.

As we sat there, eating our burgers and talking like old friends, I realised something. It wasn’t the gift of a hot meal that had meant so much to Paul. It was the chance to talk to someone, to be treated like a human being again.

So I urge you – This World Give Day, talk to someone who might need it.

This post is part of a blog series inspired by World Give Day and hosted by GiveForward. To find other posts in this series please visit www.worldgiveday.com or follow us on twitter@worldgiveday.

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