Week 24: Expand your community

Today’s post is the last in this four weeks theme of creating a larger community. For week 24 of the 52 Weeks of Good campaign we will  look at how we can reach and make a difference to people outside of the communities we’ve created. People we may never meet, but still people we can extend our helping hand to.

Online fudraising has been building steam and has become the new way to reach goals and connect with new people. You don’t even need to be part of a non-profit to jump on board! Have a film project you want to start? Need help raising money for your kids soccer team so all of the kids can get jerseys? Start an online campaign, send it out to everyone you know and ask them to send it out to everyone they know and see if you can reach your fundraising goal! Don’t have anything to post online, not a problem, there are hundreds of people who need your help! Here are some great site to check out to get started in making a small financial difference for you or someone you may never meet:

Start Some Good – a platform for social good initiatives to raise funds and grow a community of supporters.

Indiegogo – the world’s largest global funding platform. Founded on the principles of opportunity, transparency, and action, anyone with an idea can create a fundrasing platform.

KickStarter – the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.

Want to reach beyond and help internationally? Kiva is a great organization that changes hundreds of lives around the world. Unlike the others listed above, Kiva is a micro-loan program so you can get your $25 back and reinvest if you would like. With Kiva you can see a return on your investment over time and keep on giving and helping. It is a win win for all. To learn more about Kiva, click here.

Don’t think you have any money to give? Try skipping your morning latte and donate $5 to someone else. We all have the ability to give, it just comes down to priorities and making concious choices.

Week 23: Positive Comment Week!

In an effort to build a larger, and stronger community we need to focus on being positive and sharing out positivity with others.

Write a positive comment today and every day this week! You can do this on your facebook page, sent in a tweet, in person, by sending someone a text message, an email, or leave positive comments around town on post-it notes. If you are using Twitter, use the hashtag #positivecomment. Let’s create a positive community, starting with today!

Your kind and uplifting words have the power to change someone’s day, week, or even life. When you’re positive, so are those around you. What’s stopping you?! Just go and do it!

Week 22: Get involved!

In our second week of discovering new ways we can create a larger community, week 22 of the 52 Weeks of Good campaign will look at different ways to get involved.

So often I hear excuses on why someone isn’t contributing to their community. A couple common ones are: “I’m broke, so I can’t donate any money.” or “I’m too busy. I don’t have time to volunteer.” Excuses, excuses. News flash, WE’RE ALL BUSY! And, with the economy, we’re all watching our nickels and dimes. Getting involved with a local organization doesn’t have to be so complicated, exhausting or drain your bank account. Starting with a local nonprofit is a great place to start. I think many of us have put this idea of volunteering high up on a pedestal and have made it so unapproachable we end up just writing it off as not possible. If this sounds like you, I have 5 easy steps to find a way to get involved in your community, that suits your lifestyle!

Here are 5 easy steps to get you involved:

  1. Pinpoint an area that interests you. An easy block is getting overwhelmed with how many organizations are out there and the fact that you can’t help them all. Just start with one. Figure out what it is that you are passionate about. Do you like to run? Do you like to buy local or organic produce? Do you feel there is a need to empower women or our youth? Maybe you’d like to see fewer homeless people on the street? Maybe your dog or cat is your best family friend and you’d like to connect animals to proper homes? Or, you’re tired of seeing people throw items away that should be recycled, so you’d like to look more into an environmental organization. Whatever suites your fancy, there is an organization for you.
  2. Figure out how or what you can contribute. Maybe you are the busiest person on the planet and aren’t able to give any of your time, so maybe giving a small monetary amount is the path for you. Have two less cappuccinos a month and donate $10 every month. Doesn’t seem like much? To the organizations, every dollar counts, no matter how big or small the amount. Money too tight? Maybe you have a free hour on Thursday afternoons after work that you could give to an organization. Think about the skills you have to give. Are you a web designer? Do you have a large network? Are you an artist? Are you good at talking to people over the phone? Any admin skills? Like photography? Good at writing and telling a story? No matter what organization you end up helping, they need people of all different skill sets to help keep their organization going. Read More…

Week 21: Know your neighbors

Now that we have looked at how we can improve on our closest relationships (that of our friends and family), it is time to look at how we can expand our networks and relationships. What better place to start than with your neighbors? We live next to to all of these people, and yet we don’t know them. Sure, you may recognize the people that live on your street, may even smile as you walk by them, but do you know their names? Know where they grew up? What they do for a living? If you didn’t answer yes to all three of these questions, it is time to do something about it!

Here are five ways to help you connect with your neighbors and build a stronger community:

  1. See them moving in? Offer to help! You don’t have to help them all day long, but when it comes to moving furniture up or down stairs, having someone else would be a huge help to them. You never know when you may need a favor yourself.
  2. Be old fashion! Welcome them by bringing them a freshly baked pie or cookies. Now you will be unforgettable to them!
  3. Extend your hand to them and give them your email and phone number (if you feel comfortable with that). Maybe they are new to the city and could use some advice on good places to eat or they could use your help feeding their cats some day or just to keep an eye on their house while they are out of town. By you lending help to them first, you will have started a good trusting relationship.
  4. Start a block party if you don’t already have one. They are a great (and a less creepy way) of getting to know everyone. Set a date. Leave invitations on everyone’s door and have everyone contribute their favorite dish. You’ll be surprised by the number of people that come out of hiding. You could also turn this into a block watch group by collecting everyone’s email addresses to send quick notices to everyone. It is a great way to keep each other safe.
  5. As you get to know some of your neighbors, invite them over to your place for dinner or some drinks. You’ll be able to get to know them a lot better.

Happy socializing!

Greening your spaces

Today we have a guest post from our Environmental Queen at Brown Paper Tickets, Erika Harder. She has been working hard to find all of the ways our company can be more environmentally friendly. Here she shares some more ideas on how to reduce, reuse and recycle, at Brown Paper Tickets, that will hopefully give you some new ideas on how to green your own spaces. Here are her tips:

  • Just like greening your home, the first thing to do is identify the waste in your space. Paper is a big thing. Every week, the checks we cut for our producers generate a lot of “stub” paper that we keep in the office. We try to use it as scrap paper for jotting down call notes, but we don’t keep up with the supply. Currently, we have been thinking about donating our excess to a school as to not waste it.
  • Our ticket stock, check envelopes, and checks all come in boxes that would be great for home organization.
  • Lights are another thing – we had the fluorescent ceiling lights in one of our buildings upgraded a few months ago from the “old, bulky, inefficient” tubes to the newer, more compact and efficient tubes. The City of Seattle offers some sort of rebate for upgrades like that right now, and I expect (or I hope to see!) more incentive programs run by municipal agencies to promote energy efficiency in the future  – I know there are currently several across the country.
  • Read More…

Week 20: Send some love!

In the age of texting, email and online messengers, we have severely decreased the amount of really personal communications. Time we spend talking to one another in person or over the phone has decreased. We send emails instead of letters and tend to send a quick text message instead of calling. While technology has helped us in so many ways (for example, being able to communicate faster) we have lost a lot of the personal touch.

This week, it is time to bring that personal touch back.

One thing technology has done is to make old ways of communication feel that much more special. When you get a hand written letter or a present full of little surprises, you know that person really was thinking of you. They took the time to think about what to write or to fill the box with and then went down to the post office to send it to you. Yes, it would have been 10 times easier and 20 times faster to just send an email, but emails are not nearly as fun. This week, send someone you love a little present, card or flowers for no reason other than to say hi, letting them know you are thinking about them and that you care. It is easy and pretty fun for you to put together, and even more special for the person who receives your surprise.

The picture above is a little gift I received in the mail a couple weeks ago from my best friend that lives far away. To you it may just look like a mug, but it is from my favorite breakfast place about an hour from where she lives in Chicago that we ate at last time I visited her. This means she went all that way back to the restaurant to get this for me and then sent it to me. She is so thoughtful. I use it every day at work and it makes me very happy.

What will you send?

Top 5 Gift Ideas for Mom

If you don’t know already, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13th this year. (Yes, that is this Sunday.) Don’t have your gift for her yet? Not a problem! Here are 5 great ideas that won’t empty your wallet:

  1. A thoughtful, handwritten card. This could even be free if you made the card yourself!
  2. Have your mom over and make her dinner. She really wants nothing more than to spend time with you.
  3. Something for the garden. This is a gift that will last all year with her green thumb.
  4. Frame a picture of you or a family picture. This is a great one if you don’t live close so she can feel like you are with her all year round.
  5. My favorite, spend the whole day with her. This one could be a little more expensive depending on what your mom likes to do, but even if it just running errands, the time you spend together is important.

Have a great Mother’s Day, everyone! Let your mom know how much you care.