Monday, March 30, 2009

Responsibility Project

I'm a sucker for a good commercial. They can be inspiring and funny, make you laugh, make you cry, motivate you.

Two of my favorites are those created by Liberty Mutual. The illustrate the power of the simple good deed of kindness and how it can inspire others to pay it forward. You can see them spreading change right before your very eyes! Watch these and be inspired to continue to do those little kindnesses for your fellow humans, your roommates of this house we call Earth. I say "continue", 'cause I KNOW you're already doing it!

While you're at it, check out Liberty Mutual's Responsibility Project.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Good Deeds are GOOD for you!

Everyone knows that good deeds make you feel good. Did you ever think about WHY?

There are the obvious reasons -- that we spread joy, spread goodness, spread change. It's gratifying. But there's also a physiological reason that has been studied. It's an effect called "helper's high".

Studies have shown that volunteering can help your stress levels, help you sleep better, make improvements in certain health conditions and improve your immune system.

Go check out the overview of the study. It's really fascinating. Go out and create some good health for yourself by doing good for others.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Teens Fight Hunger in Arkansas

Here is a story from my neck of the woods. Imagine a group of teenagers who raise money to buy food for 400 families and give up their spring break to do it!

You can read the story at Channel 11 News.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spirit Jump

Some time ago I did a post about Chemo Angels (and Senior Angels) on another blog of mine called A Passion for Letter Writing.

Recently I ran across a similar organization called Spirit Jump that has a slightly broader recipient base and looser format. With Chemo Angels there is some level of extended commitment that is difficult for me, personally, to participate in. I love the idea and when I read about it I realized with my lifestyle there was just no possible way to keep up with something on a weekly basis without completely messing it up at some point. (I think I've finally learned to be realistic about my capabilities.)

Now, a one-time mailing? THAT I can do! And that is one of the great things about Spirit Jump. From what I read you can do as little or as much as you like.

I hope that you will head over to Spirit Jump and learn about their program of supporting cancer victims by lifting their spirits through care, kindness, letter writing and gift-giving.

Get ready for some instant feel good!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


When I'm not writing here, I also blog about letter writing over at A Passion for Letter Writing. In my spare time I cruise around the Internet looking for awesome letter writing stuff.

Recently I was over at Lunalux trying to find some interesting paper. While I was there I happened to see they had something on their sidebar called "Good Deeds". Well, of course, I had to click on that!

This post is to showcase Lunalux as a business who cares about making a difference one good deed at a time. If you check out their good deed page you will see they have donated time and talented, among other things. I hope I have more occasions to highlight commercial ventures who go out of their way to spread care and kindness.

So, if you're in the market for some great stationery, head over to Lunalux and support their efforts to make the world a better place. And if you don't buy, at least leave a comment on their good deeds page to tell them what great human beings they are.

Do you have any talents to offer as your good deed? Can you make art for a fundraising auction? Make something for a bake sale? Design a brochure or flyer for a good cause? Print tickets for a raffle? Donate yourself for a bachelor auction? Sewing? Writing? Photography? Work pro bono?

One person at a time. One kindness at a time. Go! :D

Friday, March 20, 2009


Cheryl Mahoney over at UniversalGiving left a comment on my post. I was going to write a post about the place where she worked then realized she said it just fine without me having to add anything to it.

So without further hubbub, here's Cheryl:

Hello, I've been reading your blog posts and I love the positive stories, as well as the overall concept. As you say, not all of us have large amounts of money, but that doesn't mean we can't all do something!

I have another resource for getting involved that I thought you might be interested in. I work for Universalgiving, an online non-profit dedicated to connecting individuals to the best possible projects to donate to or volunteer with. All partner organizations pass a rigorous QualityModel to appear on our site, and we don't take any cut on donations. Many of our opportunities don't require large amounts of money--ten or fifteen dollars can make an enormous difference to someone. Check us out at if you're curious, or feel free to email me any thoughts or questions! I also write for our blog, which you can see at, where we've highlighted many simple and inexpensive ways to do good.

Wishing you all the best with your site. I love it that you're suggesting ways to get involved!

Cheryl Mahoney

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wish Upon a Hero

Did you see this recent story in the news? It's amazing! ABC's Person of the Week

Go right away to the Wish Upon a Hero web site and sign up to start making people's wishes come true. It doesn't necessarily cost money -- you can give a little or a lot. You can write cards or letters and do a lot of other amazing things. Join up as a group with some of your friends and take on a bigger wish. Or make connections... maybe you can't pay for someone's dental expenses, but maybe you know a dentist who can help!

Be creative, be proactive, be a hero!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Time Banking

Thanks to JM Donahue, I get to tell you about Time Banking!

This is such a fascinating and beautiful "budget philanthropy" concept and works on the premise that you earn one "Time Dollar" for each hour of service you provide to another person in your community. This is people helping people directly.

Here's an example below:

  • Bob earns time dollars after spending two hours grocery shopping for Daisy.
  • Bob spends his dollars having Mary tidy his house.
  • Mary spends her dollars having Lucy watch her kids while she gets a manicure.
  • Lucy spends her dollars when Bob comes over to mow her lawn.

The web site has a directory of existing Time Banks and also has information about how to start your own Time Bank if you don't have one. I looked up on the list and there are none in my state! (I live in a very rural area.)

The concept is so elegant because it doesn't depend on returning any favors or having to pay something forward. Since you work with a group of people from a database, you don't have to know a lot of people or wait a long time for a way to earn or spend dollars. And best of all it doesn't cost money. It's all about giving of yourself and spending time to make life better for someone else. And that's what we're all about here at Spread Change!

Even if you don't want to join a Time Bank, please go learn all about them so you can at least spread the word about them. This is a unique and worthy service that deserves promotion and can help change lives in small, but significant ways. And if there's no Time Bank in your area, would you consider starting one? Just think how many lives you could change by being a Time Bank leader.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pi Day!

March 14th is Pi Day! No, I didn't spell that wrong!

It's the day to celebrate the mathematical wonder that is "pi" or 3.14..... to infinity.

Have I lost my mind? What does math have to do with good deeds? NOTHING. But "pi" has a lot to do with good deeds, because "pi" sounds like "pie". Get it?

Celebrate Pi Day by donating a pie or two for a good cause. Give pie to elderly neighbors. Give pie to sick friends. Give pie to a teacher to share with her students at snack time. Give pie to your mom because she is cool and she changed your dirty diaper twelve million times.

Clear your mind and focus... who REALLY needs a pie from you?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Care Across the Cities

Sassypants Wifey has started a new good deeds blog called Care Across the Cities. She's described it sort of as a cooperative where people get together to work on the same cause, often using the principles of budget philanthropy.

I bet you'll enjoy it if you go over there and check it out. You can't have too many good deed blogs!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Charities You Can Trust

How do you know the charity you are giving to is financially solvent and responsible? It is so easy to scam and be scammed.

Charity Navigator is a highly-rated independent organization that evaluates the financial health of the largest charities in America.

Specifically, Charity Navigator's rating system examines two broad areas of a charity's financial health -- how responsibly it functions day to day as well as how well positioned it is to sustain its programs over time. Each charity is then awarded an overall rating, ranging from zero to four stars. To help donors avoid becoming victims of mailing-list appeals, each charity's commitment to keeping donors' personal information confidential is assessed. The site is easily navigable by charity name, location or type of activity and also features opinion pieces by Charity Navigator experts, donation tips, and top-10 and bottom-10 lists which rank efficient and inefficient organizations in a number of categories.

So, if you're thinking about donating to a charity, consider checking out their scorecard first.

Bear in mind, there are a million charities in the country and they haven't been able to rate them all. Just because a charity isn't listed doesn't mean it's not worth donating to. But how do you know a charity is taking good care of itself and its cause? Charity Navigator also has guidelines on how to evaluate a charity not listed on their site.

Happy Donating!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Paul Smith is trying to travel around the world in an unusual way -- in a way that nobody has tried to travel before. He's using only resources provided by users of the microblogging / networking service called Twitter.

He's utilizing various methods of technology so that people can track where he is at any given moment on the globe. He will only move if a Twitter user helps him and if nobody from Twitter gives him accommodations, I guess he's sleeping under a bridge or on a random park bench somewhere.

Along the way he is also raising money for the non-profit organization charity: water (which I've written about before).

Go check out the Twitchhiker web site to see where his location is. You can follow his progress. And if you're a Twitter user maybe you're in a location where you can help. Or donate a few bucks that he can pass on to a wonderful charity.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Alfred Edmond Strikes Again!

Wow! Remember the story I posted a few days ago about Alfred Edmond, the man who repaid a policeman $8 about 20 years after the policeman helped him out of a jam?

Well, now the cop has been so inspired by Edmond's integrity that he has decided to "pay it forward" and start his own charity initiative called "Give 8 Ask 8" to help the homeless.

The idea is you donate $8 and ask 8 of your friends to do the same. This is EXACTLY the kind of budget philanthropy we've been talking about all this time. See the power of it? See the magic of it?

I've got goosebumps. You can read the story: at this news page

What will Alfred Edmond inspire you to do today?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dress for Success

I recently learned about the non-profit organization called Dress for Success. What a cool idea!

The basic idea is to help disadvantaged women enter or re-enter the workforce. If you're in a position where you have very little resources it might be difficult to get a great job because you can't dress properly for a professional interview.

This is where Dress for Success comes in. They provide an initial interview outfit plus shoes and accessories and if you get a job you can come back and get additional clothing for a week's worth of wardrobe changes.

In addition they offer a lot of great employment counseling programs to help women achieve success. I was reading about their program and it sounds incredible! I can't believe I didn't know about this before.

The group has many affiliate offices around the world. So, here is a list of action items from minimal to community-level committment:

  1. Go through your closet to see if there is anything you can donate. (Please read their donation guidelines first!)
  2. Have a "Dress for Success" party with all your friends and co-workers. Have them all bring one outfit to the party to donate.
  3. Organized a suite drive! Work with friends and other volunteers to go through the community and get as many suits as possible. Check with your local affiliate first to make sure they are taking suit donations at this time. Alternatively you can do a shoe drive or an accessory drive. You might consider coordinating your suit drive with S.O.S. Weekend which is in February.

(Of course, you can always donate money, too! Dress for Success is a four-star charity.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Good Deed Returned... 20 Years Later!

In order to counteract my previously hideous mention of good-deed-hater Ryan Sullivan, I feel the need neutralize all that bad juju by telling you about THIS awesome story.

Twenty years ago, a kind-hearted police officer did a good deed for a citizen. This month he was repaid for his kindness. See the full story and video at this NBC news station.

Somebody somewhere needs to declare today Alfred Edmond Day!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tsk Tsk: Ryan Sullivan

In the spirit of giving, I normally like to keep the blog light and upbeat because 1) it's my style and 2) who needs more negativity?

However, I've decided to add a new segment called "Tsk Tsk" just because every now and again you hear a story that just makes you shake your head and want to say, "Shame on you!"

The flagship "Tsk Tsk" award goes to Colorado Trooper Ryan Sullivan who gave a ticket to a man who helped two old ladies across the street AND saved them from getting hit by a car by throwing himself into the car's path.

You can read the whole story at Rocky Mountain News.

And if you just feel like raising a big ruckus, why not write a note and express yourself! In fact, express yourself here, too. Did Trooper Ryan Sullivan do the right thing or should he have let it slide this time?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Do Good with LHJ

Ladies Home Journal has a "Do Good" section of their web site.

There you can join a group of other people working toward the same philanthropic goals. You can do a weekly challenge. You can also create your own "life list", goals you aspire to. It's a fun way to work on good deeds in a community type setting.

Go check it out and let it inspire you to great things! Come back and relate your stories here. What have you done lately?