Thursday Two Questions Meme - Giving Back

Giving Back @ Amazon
Giving Back @ Createspace 

Today I want to talk about volunteering and donating.  I grew up in a large family, Mom, Dad, me and three younger Brothers.  Giving back was instilled in us at an early age.  We were not rich by any stretch of the imagination and my parents always had to cut corners in order to make ends meet.  They scrimped and saved in order to send us all to Catholic school where they felt we would receive a good education - and we did.  I remember at a young age when we were all asked by my parents to give of our toys and used clothes to the community where less fortunate children could benefit from what we had.  We were always taught that whatever we had should be shared even though we did not have much.  I remember thousands of times my Mom would literally empty her wallet of bills and her coin purse of coins to help us and others.  These memories have always stayed with me.

Over the years I have always donated to causes which were important to me and gave what I could afford.  I however always felt that I wanted a more "hands on" experience donating my skills and time in order to help causes in which I felt most passionate.

As most of you know I now work at the Botanical Gardens which is a non profit organization and although I am a paid employee there I felt that I wanted to do much more.  I see volunteers, hundreds of them daily who help as docents, help in gardening, help with teaching children etc...  I wanted to do the same and to be honest was reluctant because I am a paid employee there and there are few of us who are on paid staff.  As a result I never did anything about this burning need in my heart to donate my time to them.

As it turns out, I found out that my friend Steve Ketchpel had just authored a new book titled "Giving Back" which focuses on volunteering and donating.  I contacted Steve and asked him if I could buy an autographed copy from him of which he graciously signed and sent to me.

Once I started reading this detailed guidebook, I could not put it down.  After only three chapters I was finally able to take my first step by going through the appropriate volunteer application procedure at the gardens and was granted a one day per week volunteer gig which I begin on Friday of this week.  I was so excited I could hardly breathe.  I never would have taken that step had I not read Steve's book, Giving Back.

After reading his book I also decided that KIVA was an organization I felt worthy and excited about donating my money.  I like the idea of helping those less fortunate realizing their dreams and KIVA is the perfect fit for me.  

This is one of the most detailed books I have ever read.  It guides you along the path to volunteering and donating with helpful exercises, concise and practical tools along with inspirational stories of others who have made a difference applying their skills and donating their time to the worthy causes that are important to them.

This book employs everything from the basics of getting started to finding your niche, the how to's of researching different organizations to starting your own non profit and much more...  Giving Back is a learning experience combined with an inspirational outlook that will answer any questions you may have about volunteering and donating.  Once I finished reading this book there were no questions in my mind about what I had to do.  I say had because I always wanted to do something but did not really know where to start or what to do until I read this book.  

I also want to mention that this book is a guide for families as well as individuals.  There are many exercises geared directly towards families and children.  

To purchase a copy of this book, you can use either the Amazon or Createspace links under the book cover shown above.

Now, to my two ?'s.

1.  Do you or have you ever volunteered?

2.  Which causes or you most passionate about?

Click the above widget for more Thursday Two Questions meme fun.


Yes, I have been a volunteer and will be again.

The causes I'm most passionate about? Childhood hunger, the rights of seniors and the differently abled, humane treatment of animals, and literacy.
Steve Ketchpel said…


First of all, Thank You! This is the best sort of letter to read. We don't often get to hear how our words and deeds influence the lives of others, and your choices are just the sort of action that I hoped my book would encourage. Yay!

In response to your two questions:

1) Yes, I do volunteer: mostly through my church as a board member for things that connect the church with the broader community (coordinating service days, providing financial support to non-profits). I also try to do targeted volunteering with organizations that can use my professional skills of data analysis and web metrics. Finally, since writing Giving Back, there's a blending. While I hope it will pay the bills, it's also a meta-volunteering project, encouraging other people to volunteer, too.

2) I'm most passionate about peace, justice, and poverty alleviation. There's a lot that gets wrapped up in that (education, environment) but ultimately, it's about giving people the freedom to pursue the skills and aims that are most meaningful to them.
Icy BC said…
1) I have volunteered in schools helping the children who need the extra push and attention, and in the lunch room as well. I love it.

2) I have a soft spot in my heart for the homeless. Once in a while, I donate money to disaster relief.
What truly touches me is neglected and abused children. They break my heart. I have volunteered in head start and tenant's patrol.
Cathy Kennedy said…
I prefer to volunteer myself and time to people I know. Sometimes I volunteer by giving of my resources - used clothing, canned foods, or money. There are many ways to show you care. What a great focus on today's post!
Self Sagacity said…
Nice write up about volunteering. Reading your post, I many times nodded my head. I think part of not doing is not knowing what to do. I would like to do the much more depth and breath of volunteering and donating one day I am capable, otherwise, I need to be quite rich and have found a volunteer to care for my children. I will have to add this book to my goals.
1) I have volunteered. Not deep enough or long enough period. I like to be able to take control of my life, flexibility is key.
2) I like the KIVA idea. It sounds very interesting. Something I can do, and with a hands off right now kind of thing. I would like to research it more. How do we know that these folks will get the money?
Everyone, thank you for your words and comments.

Amanda, KIVA is a huge non profit org. based here in San Francisco. It is very well known and has an excellent reputation.

The basics are: When you make a donation to KIVA to help someone build their business in a poor and/or third world country, it is basically a loan. You are lending them the money for their business and they in turn repay it over time. KIVA takes care of all the details with their field partners etc... Go to their site and read up on them.

Thanks for your thoughts.
betchai said…
1. i most passionate about helping abused kids. i have volunteered in tutoring them, and though they are very tough to teach because of the emotional and mental trauma they have, but it is very touching to know them deeper that inside, they wanted to really better their life and make better of the situation that happened with them.
2. oh, i also answered #2 in #1 :) in addition to helping abused kids, I also love to send kids in poverty to school because I believe in the power of education. However, I do give to other causes sometimes, or volunteer to other causes soemtimes, like feeding, etc.
JamericanSpice said…
This is a wonderful post! I will have to find that book.

I try to teach my children this because I want them to grow with this spirit of giving.

I volunteer at church and when we do local projects for our community. Or at school

2. I'm most passionate about helping children.

Happy weekend.

Popular posts from this blog

Music in Nature - Contest Winners