#GivingTuesday Infographic

Here’s a great infographic about how much #GivingTuesday had an impact. Lots of kindness and giving yesterday. Let’s carry it through the year.


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All About #GivingTuesday


Happy #GivingTuesday! After a long weekend of holiday shopping (or shopping holidays – Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, all leaking into other days) it’s time to give a little.

I have gotten myself on some sort of charity mailing list so I’ve been hearing about Giving Tuesday for a few weeks. And this morning 85% of my emails were about Giving Tuesday. But for those of you who don’t know what it is, let me explain –

“Entering its fifth year, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.”

It takes the idea of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday and puts it in the world of charitable donations. Traditional giving. It uses the hashtag as a way to help charities raise awareness. Typically charities that participate will set goals for this day, will give special incentives, and will often have a matching gift campaign so that your donation is matched.

Don’t know where to start when it comes to donations? Search the hashtag #GivingTuesday and see where other people are giving, see what campaigns are going on, it’s a great time to explore the world of charitable giving. Take a minute to discover a new charity, give to one you already love, and spread the word using the hashtag. You can also share why you give with the hashtag #MyGivingStory. I’d love to hear what you think of this new shopping holiday. Share in the comments your giving story!

Weekly Check-In

Better late than never… I took a break from Social Media and since I was off work for the weekend, my computer time was very limited and I forgot. But here I am. I was busy being grateful for everything, seriously too many things to list.

  • 4 hours Crisis Text Line.

Charitable Giving

  • $55 – World Wildlife Fund – I bought a gift for my niece that included a donation. Save the Narwhals!!

Personal Kindness

Self Care

  • Hiking and running.
  • Low tech weekend. I still had my smartphone but there was a lot less looking at screens this long weekend.
  • A little binge watching.

How’d you do this week?

Shopping for a Cause

It’s creeping all too quickly into the holiday season and a time that tends to involve a lot of shopping. I wanted to explore some of the options to spending in a charitable way. For me the best way to shop in a good way is to just give it a little thought and consideration. So here we go


First, there are items designated to give a portion of the proceeds to charity. It seems like this happens often with T-shirts and pink items (for breast cancer). This is probably the least effective way to give to charity. Often this percentage is on the small side. Your purchase won’t be included in any matching gifts provided by companies or donors.

These items are only something you should buy if you really want that particular item. You like the T-shirt design, you really want to spread the word about a cause you support, the percentage of proceeds going to the charity is very high and you want to support that specific charity, or it’s an item you’d buy anyway. But ask yourself if you’d do better skipping the t-shirt and making a donation instead or buying a T-shirt that you really love and make a donation with it.


Next, there are items that support a struggling community or group. It seems like there are many items from women in Africa, often jewelry. I personally really like this option. It gives people motivation and a job and often the products that are created are handmade and beautiful. This could also be as easy as shopping at your neighborhood bookstore or a locally owned clothing store. Shopping small can make a big difference in your community and in any community.


Next, there are the items that are a buy one give one model. Things like shoes or glasses where for each item you purchase another is given to someone in need.
I’m still unsure about these and feel like I need a bit more research into the topic. I’ve purchased a few but almost always because I wanted the product not because I was interested in the donation. I don’t always completely vet the organization that gives away the goods and I wonder if money would be more helpful.


Next, there are charities that sell items. The World Wildlife Fund and To Write Love On Her Arms are two that jump to mind (that I have supported). Sometimes this is the cause’s main source of revenue. Again I’d say only purchase these items if you want the item itself (and sometimes the items are pretty cool). If you don’t need another T-shirt or stuffed animal consider just donating the money. That way it can be matched and go directly to fill a need.


The last thing I’ll mention is AmazonSmile and shopping at companies who have a strong philanthropic record. Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. If you’re an Amazon shopper this is pretty easy way to get a little money going in the right direction. The drawbacks are you have to pick a single charity and if you’re someone like me who has reservations about shopping on Amazon this one is tricky. But here’s the thing, you can do this yourself – take your bank statement at the end of the month and multiple your purchases by .005 and donate that to your favorite charity. It’s only 50 cents per $100 so it likely won’t hurt your budget and you’ll feel great. BeingGoodeSmile!


Shopping this time of year presents a lot of choices and difficult decisions. There are so many stores online and and real life competing for your attention and your dollars. I think the number one thing to think about when shopping charitably is to treat it like any other donation of time or money – is this a cause you want to support and is this the best way to do it?


What are your thoughts this time of year?

Weekly Check-In


  • 4 hours Crisis Text Line

Charitable Giving

  • $25 – The Firecracker Foundation
  • $10 – The Mission Continues – Omaze is a fun company that offers the chance to win experiences in exchange for donating to different organizations. I’m someone who loves a raffle or contest or lottery. So donating paired with the chance of winning is perfect for me. And I might get to spend Earth Day with Jon Stewart.

Personal Kindness

  • So I’m going with some personal personal kindness this week. As a Crisis Text Line counselor I get these word charts that show the words that come up frequently in my conversations. It’s interesting and heartwarming to see things like “Thank you” included. Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 9.55.26 PM

Self Care

  • I feel like I took this literally this week. I’m getting back to running after my injury in January and it’s a slow process that required an extra rest day that I wasn’t expecting and a slower pace than I wanted. But you have to take care of your body and let yourself recover in the ways you need. So I’ll run slow and take more rest days.

How are you doing this week?


Empathetic Democracy 

It’s been a difficult week for a lot of us. Americans are feeling a lot of hurt on both sides of the political spectrum. 

I was at the airport on election night and as I watched the night unfold I saw the pain and jumped onto Crisis Text Line to help. It was amazing. It was amazing to hear how much real pain was being felt, it was amazing how many counselors jumped in to help, and it was amazing how healing it was for me to help. Crisis Text Line has helped thousands of people in the past couple of days. Seeing this community’s endless capacity for empathy is as unreal as election night felt. 

What I’ll say is there is so much we can do. I have been changed by the Special Olympics, the Invictus Games, Crisis Text Line, 826LA and everywhere else I volunteer. Volunteer more, encourage someone to come along with you, be kind to everyone you meet, spread empathy around like a virus. 

Weekly Check-In

Still running around trying to do all these wonderful things! I have one more trip coming up next week and then I can wind down the year being happy and calm in my house, snuggled up with my dog, training for a marathon and a half.

  • 2 hours Crisis Text Line. I had to switch my shift around this week because of work. It was a little strange doing it on a different day.

Charitable Giving

  • $0 – But I did buy a pair of Toms shoes. My black flats died recently and needed to replace them and why not replace them with shoes that give shoes!

Personal Kindness

  • I’m an Ally in the LGBTQA community and always have been. There is a resource group where I work and I’m proud to be a part of it. I went to an event this week and was so inspired to see all the people who work on these events and all the people there to support this community. I was happy to show up and clap and cheer and let people know that I’m here.

Self Care

  • I made a ton of doctors appointments. I got upgraded insurance with the job promotion so it’s time to get to all those appointments I’ve been putting off on the calendar.

How’d you do this week?


A couple of weeks ago now I attended my first volunteer conference. The conference was referred to as Palooza and it felt as much like a festival as it did a conference. 2016 seems to be a year of volunteer firsts since the Invictus Games was my first volunteer vacation.

When I found out that Crisis Text Line was having a conference for their counselors I knew that I’d move mountains to be there and between starting a new job, financial challenges, and Formula 1, there were a few mountains. Mountains were moved, planes boarded, and a few hundred superheroes without capes converged on Austin, TX to spend a few days in amazement. *Signs Amazing*

Although it’s great that this is a digital experience and I can log in on my couch and feel connected to texters and counselors, it’s nice to hug these people. Putting your arms around people who know what it’s like, who’ve taught you, and been there with you, is the best kind of comfort.

I think my biggest takeaway was seeing how different this organization really is. I’ve been volunteering all my life (seriously, I remember as a kid I’d be stuffing donor drive envelopes for the Ballet while watching the Disney Channel). I have never seen anything like this. Many organizations appreciate their volunteers, many rely on their volunteers, but I have never seen any organization that puts its volunteers first. Appreciated is an understatement and they let us know and feel that at this conference. You might be thinking – of course most organizations don’t do that, the people or the cause they serve should come first. But what Crisis Text Line has figured out (through data and not being afraid to breakdown assumptions) is that putting the volunteers first makes it possible to serve the texters. Supporting volunteers is the key to what drives empathy to people in crisis. Volunteers give their time for so many reasons and I think a lot of us do it with or without a thank you but Crisis Text Line is starting a revolution with this idea. I’m a better volunteer because I’m supported, validated, and celebrated. My first shift back from the conference I felt like I could take over the world, I took more conversations and was more engaged than ever. I was a better counselor.

When I signed up, it was a 4 hour weekly commitment for a year. It sounded like a lot and some weeks the 4 hours feels like a lot sometimes but I’ve passed my 1 year commitment by a few months and have basically left it behind. I will be a Crisis Text Line counselor as long as they’ll have me. I’ve found something amazing. I’ve learned to be open to the fact that even if my assumptions are positive, I can be wrong. I’ve been inspired to be open and listen to the things that challenge my assumptions.

Another thing that stuck out to me during the conference was how diverse of a group we are. Crisis Text Line isn’t just a genius idea because people in crisis can use their phones to get help in a new and easy way, it’s a genius idea because people can volunteer in a way they wouldn’t normally be able to. Caring people are no longer limited by location, time, or disabilities. So if you aren’t able to get somewhere to volunteer, your only free time is in the middle of the night, or you have a physical disability that might keep you from doing typical volunteer work; at Crisis Text Line these aren’t limits. For example, there is a growing hard of hearing or deaf contingent. There are older volunteers who might not get the same reaction or connection face to face with younger people in crisis. There are volunteers in remote locations – all 50 states. The only requirements really are empathy and the internet.

A million people die by suicide every year worldwide. A million people. It sounds overwhelming but also motivating. I can make a dent. My kindness, my words, can help. I imagine one of those big neon signs that show the donations for a charity telethon, but going in the opposite direction. I’m screaming out in the world that you matter and the number goes down. I tell people that I go to therapy and the number goes down. I work a shift on Crisis Text Line and the number goes down.

The Crisis Text Line conference was amazing and I’m still feeling the effects. I learned so much and it brought me so much happiness. I feel very connected to this community.

If you’re interested in volunteering you can find more information here.  Feel free to ask me any questions you have in the comments.