Two weeks ago, I met a 12-year-old girl that saved my organization $36,457.83.
Her name was Mackenzie Hinson and she runs the Make a Difference Food Pantry in Goldsboro, NC.
At this point you probably have a lot of questions. Here’s the questions I had:
- Does she “really” run the pantry or is this her parents’ thing?
- Doesn’t she go to school?
- Where the heck is Goldsboro?
- How did she save you $36K?
Why do I care about any of this?
What Kenzie taught me in the short time I got to know her is that it’s much easier than you think to give. Just like a great business idea generates raving fans, so does a great idea for giving. Kenzie has created fans across the country (and across the globe).
The myths and lies about holiday giving
Most lists of “how to give this holiday season” start with a plea to sacrifice your family’s Christmas dinner and instead go to the soup kitchen. Great idea that the vast majority of us can’t or won’t do. Or worse, they give you the bad advice to donate your clothes or toys to disaster victims, which usually does more harm than good.
So how can you make a meaningful impact this holiday season?
Here’s 6 ways, whether you have money, time, or neither to give.
Kenzie’s Food Pantry. The Make a Difference Food Pantry has the time, equipment, and food to keep their operation going. What they don’t have is a way to make sure the lights stay on and they make rent in their facility each month.
Team Rubicon. Team Rubicon is an organization I am insanely passionate about. I personally volunteer about 4 full weeks a year in addition to a few hours each week. Each dollar you donate produces about $7 of direct community impact. Plus, it give military veterans back the purpose, identity and camaraderie they often lose when they hang up the uniform.
American DreamU. Another organization I donate time to is American DreamU, which brings world-class speakers and trainings to transitioning soldiers. I’ve taught workshops on writing emails, effective communication, and resumes. They are always looking for speakers, mentors, or companies looking to hire military veterans.
This cool T-shirt. If you want something tangible to show for your donation, here’s a super comfy T-shirt, 100% of the proceeds go to Team Rubicon.
BASICALLY ZERO COST
Amazon Smile. There are literally a million different organizations to give to through Amazon Smile (including Team Rubicon and American DreamU). And you don’t have to change your shopping habits or pay any more. Part of the profits of what you’re already buying will go directly to your charity of choice. The only you have to do is start at smile.amazon.com instead of the main page.
Southwest points or United Miles. Part of the reason that Team Rubicon and other organizations can maximize monetary donations is that we have partners like Southwest and Airlink that donate flights to us. You can donate your unused miles to get volunteers on the ground quickly in the wake of a disaster.
Giving back is central to my business and my life. No matter how little you have, nothing makes you feel richer than contributing to something greater than yourself.
So I challenge you to stretch your comfort zone and do something crazy this holiday season. You have no idea how big an impact a small gesture can make.