Thank you for visiting and following the Spark Change Blog. We have exciting news and are moving to a new site. Please take a moment and follow us here: http://sparkchangeblog.wordpress.com/.
You will still find fresh and new content every week to inspire you to change the world, with the little things you do, every day. See you over there!
As we look at the little things we can do everyday to make a difference it is also important to look at the bigger picture, too!
Random acts of kindness usually just affect one person. You leave a positive note on someone’s car or a little present for someone inside the library. All powerful and positive ways to make a different in someone’s day, but what if your one act of kindness could reach more people?
Have you ever tried running a donations drive? By you, starting the one random act of kindness to get the drive started, you are able to affect many people. This drive could be for food, clothes, shoes, blankets, anything really! Start it at work or at school. Put out boxes. Tape up flyers announcing how long the drive will be running. Send emails to those working in our office or that go to your school. Let your local neighborhood or city know you have this drive set-up for those in your area to participate. Send out reminders and watch the donations pour in! With a donation bigger than you could have done alone, not only are you able to help more people, but you have also given others the opportunity to make a difference, too!
Happy donation drive running!
Random acts of kindness can reach all groups of people. You are able to affect those closest to you, friends and family, people you may never meet or see affected by this, or even people who may never be able to return the favor. In week 27, we are going to focus on helping those with kindness who are not able to help you.
The homeless are often those who are overlooked and could really benefit from your random acts of kindness. Really step out of your comfort zone and interact with them. This interaction could be as simple as a “Good morning” as you walk by them on your way to work, or if you are standing with them at a bus stop, ask them how they are doing. Something as simple as a conversion says you know they are not invisible. You might be surprised by the stories they share!
I tend not to give money to those in need that ask for money on the street corner. You never know what that money could be used for and it might not be helping them at all. There are some people who are not as truthful about their situation as it appears. A friend of mine sat down and had a long conversation with one of her local homeless resident and it turned out he wasn’t homeless at all, but takes the role of it and people give him money. It’s ironic because people give the homeless money to feel good about themselves, never questioning what giving them money will really do. If you are going to give money, find your local homeless shelter or soup kitchen to donate to. In my opinion, the people who frequent these places are attempting to turn their lives around and the organizations need your help to help others who really need help.
Personally, if there is someone outside of a grocery store and I am heading in, I’ll come out with an extra sandwich for them. Then at least I know they won’t be hungry and I have done what I can, knowing my money has gone to a good and positive resource. I once talked to someone who gives out chocolate bars instead of cash. She has her car stocked. I love this idea.
Don’t feel like you can help? Are you getting coffee this morning? Then you have the ability to get a coffee or a sandwich for the person standing outside who doesn’t have the means to buy their own.
Help someone who may never be able to return the favor to you, but know what goes around, comes around in some way or another.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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…
Last weekend was a weekend full of random acts of kindness. It was a weekend that left me with a lot of hope and a large drive to pay it forward.
My boyfriend’s parents were in town and on Saturday we decided to go to the Mariner’s baseball game. We didn’t have tickets or expectations, it was just a nice day in Seattle and it would be a nice thing to do outside. We had lunch outside and arrived to the game a little late (which was ok because the Mariner’s were loosing, no surprise there). We drove around for a little bit trying to find a cheap parking lot, but they were all $20 or more! We drove down a back street and as we started to approach, someone pulled out of a spot that was in the shade! And not only that, it was a free sport, which is pretty much unheard of down by the stadium. Perfect.
We started walking to the stadium to buy our cheap nose bleed section tickets out in the back field bleachers when a car drove past. Stopped a few feet back. Rolled down the window and shouted back at us, “Are you going to the game?” We acknowledged with a “Yes” half expecting them to say that it wasn’t worth it because they were loosing so badly, but to our surprise they replied, “Do you have tickets?” “No,” we said, “we were just about to go to the booth to get some.” “Here you go,” the woman replied, passing us four unused tickets. We thanked them about 100 times. I tried my best to think if I had anything in my purse I could give them to say thank you. A chocolate? A pack of gum? No, that would be weird. A gift card? Nothing. They drove away, all of us were full of smiles and the four of us danced our way to the game singing about our great luck and fortune.
The game was quick and fairly uneventful. Well, for the Mariner’s that is. The White Sox, Philip Humber, pitched a shutout, making him the 21st person to throw a perfect game. Now, if you think of all the major league baseball games, throughout all of the years baseball has existed, between all of the team, that is pretty amazing that he is the 21st. And we were there to see history. Amazing.
The sun was out. The skies were blue and we were happy.
With so much good fortune all I could think about was paying it forward. All of these great things happened to us, so now it was our turn to pass along the good to others that crossed our paths. So, that is exactly what we did and continue to do. This Mariner’s Saturday reminds that everyday is an opportunity to pay it forward and make someone else’s day as bright as that other family made ours.
What have you done to pay it forward today?
In an effort to foster our close relationships, it is important to act.
There is the saying: “it’s the thought that counts,” but that only can go so far. If you only keep thinking about talking to your friends or family, but don’t actually do it, you haven’t really achieved anything. So, this week, pickup the phone! Call your best friend that lives in Chicago or New York. Call your mom that lives in Ohio. Call your grandparents that live in Florida. Call your Aunt and Uncle that live in Germany. Even if you are not a big phone person, it’s the thought that you would take the time out of your day to call and talk to them, that really counts.
Make the effort. Catch up. Listen. Let them know you care.
The 52 Weeks of Good pledge, that is.
Now that we are a few months into the 52 Weeks of Good campaign, I want to challenge you to take the pledge! Pledge: “I will make a concious effort to make a positive difference in my community with the little things I do, every week.” You have the power to make a difference. So do it! Join and start making a difference!
I’ll be here to help every week with new tips, stories and ideas as we take this campaign head on. As you take your journey, please let me know how it is going! Have a new idea? Have a story you’d like to share? Please send me an email: Kelly@BrownPaperTickets.com with the subject line: “52 Weeks of Good” or leave a comment below. The more we share, the more good we do.
Looking forward to hearing from you and congratulations to you for taking the pledge!
YOU are making a difference.
We are so absorbed in our own space, focusing on our daily tasks that we often don’t pay attention to who is around. Who is sitting with us on the bus, who is walking by us on the street, or who is sitting at the adjacent table from us at the bar. By not noticing that someone is there, it is like saying that it doesn’t matter to you one way or another if they exist. That the things you have going on are far more important than acknowledging their presence. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to combat this behaviour.
Next time you go for a walk, take a minute to be conscious of the space you are in and not just where your mind is. Notice the people out on the street and give a smile or quick hello to those who cross your path. It may feel uncomfortable at first to interact with a complete stranger, but the feeling they receive makes all the discomfort worth it! It gets easier too, I promise. By making the quick connection with them, it is your way of telling that person that they matter. That you care about their existence and that you hope they have a good day. You will also help to pass this chain on because now that you have made a connection into their world, they are more likely to smile at the next person they pass, and so on. Read More…
As you probably know, Brown Paper Tickets is a ticketing company. We sell tickets all over the world to events and have an unbelievable list (in my opinion) of free services and tools for event producers to put their events together. What you may not be fully aware of is this whole other branch of the company that is very involved in giving back to our communities. This is the realm I am fortunate enough to be immersed in.
One of the most recent additions to our companies giving came from the Marketing and Communications team. The VP of Marketing and Communications, Kelsye Nelson, was given a budget of $25 a month to take her staff out to lunches or coffee, so instead, in the spirit of Brown Paper Tickets, she and her team decided to vote on one person a month who they feel has been rocking their job and exhibits the essence of Brown Paper Tickets. This month I was honoured with their votes, and the grand prize, I get to choose who the money goes to this month at Kiva. Read More…