Give it away, give it away, give it away now

“Greedy little people in a sea of distress

Keep your more to receive your less.”


jeffro at 3/17/06 blog on via Creative Commons

Sure it also talks about Bob Marley and fertility, but “Give It Away” is the Red Hot Chili Peppers hard rock ode to living an altruistic life: the more you give away, the better your life will be. If the dating stories are true then we have a gift from Nina Hagen to Anthony Kiedis to thank for this life lesson in a song.

I believe the lyrics. But times are tough, right? Lucky for us, the Wall Street Journal doesn’t just report about market bubbles and the NASDAQ; It tells us how to give smarter. In this article from last month, the WSJ posted one of those “Top 10” lists. Actually it’s a top six list…even easier.

The basic message is:

  • Do your homework on the cause you want to support (check websites and call or email an organization if you have questions)
  • Figure out how to increase the benefit you provide without actually increasing your gift (look for matching gifts that double your donation)
  • If what you really have to offer is the expertise of a career or a willingness to stuff envelopes as you watch reruns of Magnum PI, volunteer your time and skills.

Personally, I give to about five good organizations with missions from economic development to college scholarships to environmental education. I give to San Diego Coastkeeper because I want Coastkeeper to give me a strong voice with people who make decisions about the importance of clean water. I’ve asked friends, family and perfect strangers to do the same. I give because I know Coastkeeper from top to bottom, and it’s my best bet for a healthy ocean. (And, yeah, it’s getting cold and I wanted the organic cotton sweatshirt).


Get your friends excited about your cause

Make it fun!

  • Host a party and invite friends to donate the value of a meal out (or more or less…the point is to excite new people about your cause).
  • Start a donation gift exchange with your family and friends for this year’s holidays.
  • Doing a Turkey Trot? Use Race Raiser to sponsor your organization for your next 5K, century or triathlon.

Have questions about Coastkeeper? Want to get involved? Come visit or call (619.758.7743 ext. 103 or email me!

“Realize I don’t want to be a miser.”

Whatever you do, if we all pitch in and invest smartly in good organizations, we’re on the right track. After I give, I give a little more because I know that the more I give, the more I receive.