There are many benefits for an organization to have a charitable giving program. What about you, as an individual?

There are many of us who are just starting our Life 2.0 chapters, the chapter of life where you have greater freedom to take on new challenges and experiment with a wide spectrum of interests, including the opportunity to be more intentional about charitable giving. And, for those who are younger, the mindset is already in place to have a positive impact in the community – a path simply needs to be set.

So, why does this matter? What happens when a family, friend or neighbor is faced with significant loss?

Unfortunately, I am learning the answer to that question. There have been many disasters in 2017 – many of them capturing headlines for days and rightly so. Then, there are others, just as devastating to those involved that do not gain the media attention.



My sister is in that category. She lived in the country with a quiet, meandering creek running through her back yard. The torrential rains overnight we experienced in the Kansas City area in late August changed that quiet creek into a roaring river. Her home was surrounded before she even realized there was danger. By the time she called 911, it had reached a point that she and her dog had to be rescued from her roof.

This is something you see happen to others not to you or your loved ones – right?

So, what do you do? There is plenty you can do. Here are just a few ways to step up.



  1. Show up – When a disaster occurs, the moral support an individual needs is immense. At my sister’s place, family and neighbors immediately went to work. A dumpster (at no charge) was brought in for all that was lost and had to be thrown away. A portapotty was delivered (at no charge) – there was no longer any plumbing or electricity. A front loader was brought in (at no charge) to help move all the debris. Meals showed up for all those working. People showed up to pack up and clean up what little could be salvaged, to fill the dumpster, to tear out walls to assess whether the house could be salvaged, to assess the damage and offer expert advice.
  2. Organize fundraising – Set up a gofundme site. It isn’t hard and the site has great tips for what works. Get the word out through your social media network, the local media and the community. As a reference, here is the site we set up —  Set up a fundraising event – it can be something simple like a bake sale or it can more elaborate. As an example, we held a fundraising event for my sister to thank all the people who helped including the water rescue team. We held it at a local winery (the owners were friends of my sister and offered to host it). We had a band playing (again friends of my sister who agreed to play for free). We had light refreshments. A cover charge was set and a money jar for additional donations was set out. All the proceeds went to my sister. It was good for her soul and a good way to keep her situation visible.
  3. Help with the homework – when someone has suffered a significant loss, it isn’t easy to immediately start to work on what is required to move forward – finding help, submitting claims, researching options for what to do next – are all necessary.

Whether it is to help with disaster relief or on an ongoing basis for a cause that is important to you, there is goodness in giving. What will you do to give back, support a cause, help someone else…?

Susan K Spaulding is an Author, Facilitator, Researcher, Strategist, Consultant, and Coach.

I work with businesses and leaders to take inventory, uncover the possibilities and navigate a path forward. Storytelling is fundamental to learning, teaching, connecting and inspiring.
Twitter: @SusanKSpaulding
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