Donate your Birthday: Of Birthdays and Giving

May 18, 2011

I love birthdays- especially mine.

I’ll confess (to the surprise of absolutely no one who knows me) that I love getting gifts. But as I’ve grown older (or maybe just since I started living in Portland), I’ve been volunteering more, which I’ve found to be as rewarding- if not more so- than unwrapping presents.

I don’t know if it’s an actual trend but I’ve been reading a lot of instances in which people who are celebrating some sort of occasion in their lives would ask their family and friends to donate money to a particular charity they’ve chosen in lieu of gifts. I always like to point out to people that money isn’t the only thing they can donate. Time is a valuable commodity as well.

What I decided to do for my recent birthday was have a special volunteer session at one of my favorite local non-profit organizations- the Children’s Book Bank. I knew my core group of friends was already of the charitable sort so it wasn’t that hard to convince them to do this for me. I wanted to do something that made a difference, to make some sort of impact, and I wanted to share the experience with others. I, for one, enjoyed myself and appreciated my friends more in the process.

If there’s a charitable cause or charity you’re passionate about, ask the organization if they hold birthday volunteer sessions. Let your friends know what you’re planning and why it’s important to you. It doesn’t have to be a four-month advance notice like mine. (I told you, I love birthdays!) More importantly, have fun!

One thought on “Donate your Birthday: Of Birthdays and Giving

  1. Nita A.

    Like you, I love birthdays too, but unlike you, I don’t’ like gifts unless I can eat it. In the past ten years, I dedicate my birthday to my favorite charity called Heifer project. It is a global nonprofit with a proven solution to ending hunger and poverty in a sustainable way. Heifer helps empower millions of families to lift them out of poverty and hunger to self-reliance through gifts of livestock, seeds and trees and extensive training, which provide a multiplying source of food and income.

    I asked my friends and family to donate to my charity in lieu of getting me birthday presents and Christmas presents. In the last ten years, I got tons of seedling, flock of chicks, flock of ducks, goats, sheep and most of all a water buffalo that my husband got me four years ago. You see, it’s not bad at all not getting gifts in those special days, it’s like passing the gifts along to those who need more. In fact I feel great! I am humble and thankful to be surrounded by people who care about me and also care about others.

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