Love and Generosity decided to team up. Great duo. Generosity Day will be celebrated on Valentine’s Day. You didn’t hear about this? Well, the first annual Generosity Day was just this year. You might have missed it The idea came out of Social Media Week. Ellen McGrit, Senior Writer for Fast Company, attended this event and wrote an article yesterday, “Re-Booting Valentine’s Day for Good.”
It all came about when Ms. McGrit was talking with Katya Andresen of Network for Good, Sasha Dichter of Acumen Fund, and Scott Case of Malaria No More, (three outstandingly innovative and effective philanthropists), after a panel session that the four of them had participated in at Social Media Week where they were brainstorming ideas for social entrepreneurs. The four of them, still in brainstorming gear, spawned the concept for Generosity Day based on the fact that people are hungry to connect. It is so ironic that despite the advent of numerous ways to communicate – instantly, no less – we feel the great craving to form human connections. Generosity guarantees the act of connecting. From material assistance to emotional support to spiritual encouragement, generosity can cover just about any human activity.
Mr. Dichter had created the Generosity Experiment back in December of ’09 when he decided to say “yes” to any and all requests for one month. You can read about this on his blog: http://sashadichter.wordpress.com. If Sasha Dichter was generous for an entire month, then surely we can give it a go for one day.
Okay. What can we do? How about being generous with your time? Instead of watching 3-4 hours of television tonight, why not call an old friend or visit a neighbor? There are lots of other ways to express generosity. When you ask someone how they are doing, don’t accept the standard response, “Oh, I’m fine.” No, take an extra minute to really find out how their day is going. Be friendly. Talk to the person next to you in line at the grocery store, at the post office, at the coffee shop. Sure, they might think you’re crazy for striking up a conversation, but tell them it is Generosity Day and see what they think about that. Tip more than you normally would. Say please and thank you. Read your kids a longer bedtime story. Don’t skip the pages thinking they won’t notice. Give your significant other a tighter squeeze. A longer kiss. Give your dog an extra treat. Brush your cat. None of this will cost you anything.
Who knows what good may come of this new holiday. The more the better. Spread it around. What if people became happier on Generosity Day? How much happiness can you take?