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How I Define Giving on World Give Day

This post is part of a blog series inspired by World Give Day and hosted by GiveForward and Jolkona. To find other posts in this series please visit or follow the hashtag #giveday.

One Dollar, Sir! by Stuck in Customs (Trey Ratcliff)

I am part of an amazing group of 20- and 30-somethings who are changing the world. It’s a movement that the media is trying to capture but something that is built within the DNA of the majority of people I know. No, we don’t all work for nonprofits or social enterprises, but there’s a strong need to dedicate our lives, our passions, and our careers to doing “good.”

You all know what this means for me as I’ve written about my adventures in philanthropy multiple times. But it goes beyond dedicating my time to a startup nonprofit, it’s about knowing that the work that motivates and drives me tracks towards something that is larger than myself. And my direct relationship with giving has fallen into one of three categories: I give my time, my money, and myself.

I give time – to help build organizations and to cultivate the next generation of philanthropists.

I give money – in small amounts for causes I’m passionate about like providing healthcare for mothers and newborns in India and when disaster strikes and money is the most effective way that I can help.

I give myself – to people I care about to help them create and ignite projects that they’re passionate about. I also give a shoulder or an ear when needed. I strategize over coffee instead of networking at parties. I am there when the people in my life need me.

This is how I make an impact and give.

Small donations are the backbone of philanthropy

I’m going to borrow the definition of Jolkona, which is a Bengali word that means, “drop of water.” It represents the idea that small-scale acts and donations can have a ripple effect of change.

For Jolkona, that’s an easy vision to see. With your gift to, say, ignite girls’ leadership in Pakistan, you will empower and mentor a young woman through leadership training to become an agent of change today and a leader of Pakistan tomorrow. When I was in school, I had many opportunities where I went on a leadership training that shaped how I saw the world and my role in it. Those things can leave a lasting impression on a person and challenge them to greatness. By supporting a project like that one through Jolkona, can you imagine the opportunity that you will create for one girl?

By giving one small donation for less than $100, I can make a huge impact in the world. And while I’m not at the place in my life where I can make a ton of these contributions every day, I can make small ones every so often and together, they’ll add up to something big.

World Give Day blog seriesWorld Give Day

Today, I’m proud to be a part of World Give Day, a day to encourage people to give – whether it’s by making a donation, through their time, or even a simple hug. I am excited that Jolkona is a partner and that many of our friends are celebrating by writing blogs dedicated to the theme of giving:

You can read more posts from World Give Day Blogger Buddies, here. Meanwhile, I need to decide how I will celebrate giving today.

How do you define giving? What can you give of yourself that will make someone else’s life a little bit richer?

Thank you, Ethan, Desiree, and Cate at GiveForward for organizing World Give Day!

Photo by: Stuck in Customs

The Big News I Have Been Waiting to Share

Be the Change
The funny thing about living your life online is that when something big happens, you can’t wait to share it. And even when something hasn’t happened yet or is about to happen, you can’t wait to translate that giddy feeling inside of you into 140 characters of sheer glee and excitement!!!!!

And then, when something EVEN BIGGER happens in your life that’s a game-changer, you hold off and wonder what the best way to deliver the news is—Is it to be Tweeted about and risk losing it get lost amongst the noise of what everyone else had for breakfast? Shall it be a status update on Facebook that will encourage 10 or so “Likes”? Or will it be delivered in person, where you can give the maximum amount of details and receive the most amazing support from those who know you the most and how hard you’ve worked for it?

That’s what’s interesting about this whole ‘social media’ thang: social media is a form of marketing and now, more than ever, you have to act as your own brand manager. You are responsible for calling your own press conference. And you are the one managing your communications effectively to get the results and secure the ‘placement’ within your friends’ minds that you desire and deserve.

Read all about it: Laura is off the job market!

Nadia & Laura selling raffle tickets at SMC

For the past three weeks I’ve been elusive in my tweets and in my status updates, but it’s all for good reason. In the beginning of January, I started work as Jolkona Foundation’s second full-time employee.

For Jolkona, the startup nonprofit that I have been volunteering with since February 2009, hiring its first two employees means that the organization has reached a pivotal point in its life. I will be working closely with Nadia Khawaja Mahmud, who is the co-founder of Jolkona and the new CEO, as well as the volunteer leadership team and the 20+ volunteers who support them.

As the Director of Communications & Social Media, I’ll lead Jolkona’s marketing and outreach efforts, which include managing my own team, PR/Marketing/Social Media, and the following volunteer teams: Campus Outreach, Events, and Corporate Partnerships.

When I started with Jolkona, I signed up to run their social media with the goal to gain real-life experience that could bridge my way into a full-time, paid position. And it worked, as it landed me multiple contracts throughout the past year. But when co-founder, Adnan Mahmud, mentioned that in the ideally, they hope to look to their volunteers when hiring, I had no intention that that could be my reality.

You can read more about everything that Jolkona accomplished in 2010 and where we’re heading in 2011 in this blog post written by Adnan.

What makes this newsworthy?

For me, signing on with Jolkona full-time is a big deal, not only because I’ve been on the job hunt for almost a year-and-a-half and doing the job for almost a year, but because it’s something I’m truly passionate about. To friends, family members, and even in interviews with other employers, I always talk about how with Jolkona, I get to work with the most incredible, inspiring, and passionate individuals, working towards goals that are more strategic and more smart than any of my paid positions before. Mind you, this is a pitch I started saying last spring.

When I approach a new employer, I always say, “Give me a challenge, and let me show you what I can do.” It’s probably not the best strategy, but it’s the honest truth. And I’m incredibly honored and thankful that Nadia and Adnan have given me the chance to show them just what I can do for Jolkona.

We have a big year ahead of us, and I’m ready.

Photo Credit: Feggy Art

Help Me Change the World, One Life at a Time

Laura Kimball (lamiki) and newborn Lucius Howe

This month I became a first-time auntie. Being with my sister (who lives on the other side of the country) for the final weeks of her pregnancy, through labor, and helping to welcome her first baby home was one of the most incredible things I witnessed this year. I will never forget her strength and watching her transformed into a mother.

As an auntie, my job was to support her and my brother-in-law. There were some things that I could do, like make sure they were comfortable at home, but when we arrived at the hospital, all I could do was provide moral support while the midwives, doctors, and nurses stepped in.

I don’t know a lot about pregnancy and giving birth. But I do know is how important it is to have a midwife or a doctor to ensure the safe delivery of her baby and her own well-being. And while all expectant mothers make a birth plan, circumstances may change that and access to services skilled health care providers when we need it is something we take for granted in the States.

Many mothers around the world are not as fortunate. According to the United Nations:

  • More than 350,000 women die annually from complications during pregnancy or childbirth, almost all of them — 99 per cent — in developing countries.
  • The maternal mortality rate is declining only slowly, even though the vast majority of deaths are avoidable.
  • Every year, more than 1 million children are left motherless. Children who have lost their mothers are up to 10 times more likely to die prematurely than those who have not.

What breaks my heart is that most maternal deaths could be avoided through access to skilled health care workers, services, equipment, and supplies. This is why improving maternal health is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals the United Nations is dedicated towards achieving in an effort to end poverty by 2015.

Luckily, we can do something to help work towards that goal and change those statistics.

My goal is to adopt a total of 5 mothers and their newborns through Jolkona, the nonprofit I volunteer with.

You can support this campaign by making a full gift of $235 which will support one mother and her child for 3½ years or by making a partial donation for as little as $5.

You will not receive a proof-of-impact for a partial donation. However, if you make a partial gift, let me know and I will put you on a private email list and share with you updates about the mother you supported. To respect the privacy policy Jolkona has for their beneficiaries and partner organizations, I cannot share with you any photos or the name of the mothers and their children. But I can share their stories and tell you about them.Campaign Widget, Powered by Jolkona

Help me save a life, actually 10 lives. For more information on how to donate, visit my campaign page on Jolkona or learn more by going here.

Will you help me make an impact for the holidays?

Update: Thank you for all of your support! As of January 14, 2011, this campaign was complete and with your help, we exceeded the campaign’s goal and supported 6 mothers and their newborns! Thank you so much for making such an enormous impact!

One Thing Laura Kimball Doesn’t Need: An Uninteresting Way to Save the World

Note from Laura: This is a guest post (the first ever on lamiki!) by Sam Davidson. I first met Sam online and have been reading his blog and perspective on life for the past year. He’s a writer, entrepreneur, and a man with a lot to say, 50 of which he shares in his new book, 50 Things Your Life Doesn’t Need, and I’m excited to be a stop on the 50 Things Blog Tour.

Readers of this blog know that Laura looks for ways to make a difference. But, she doesn’t limit her volunteerism to some of the most common ways people lend a hand. She likes to take part in things that are new and different. Need Proof? Check out what she’s done with Workstock, or take a look at her sidebar and learn more about the work of Jolkona.

What this highlights can be summed up in one word: passion. And there’s a lesson here for all of us: we can make a hell of a difference if we know what excites us. Laura’s figured it out and bases her volunteer experiences on it. But what about you? What is it you care about?

As a volunteer, you’ll be more useful and make a more direct impact if you’re excited about the opportunity to give. This is why Laura doesn’t need a way to save the world that’s not innovative or fun; it would be meaningless to her. Chances are, you’re much the same.

So, I’ll ask again: what is it you care about?

If you’re not sure, I’ll keep pushing, this time with an excerpt from my new book, 50 Things Your Life Doesn’t Need. I hope this question can help you tap into something deeper and help you discover something you may be passionate about. (more…)

Wordstock: Ode to the Black Shirt Team

Wordstock Festival Black Shirt Team

Wordstock VI, October 2010

The success of every organization relies on the hard work and dedication of its staff. This is especially true for nonprofits, most of which are volunteer-run.  My career began while interning for one, and I’m serving on the leadership team for another. For the purpose of this post, I’m going to talk about a very specific group of volunteers—the Black Shirt Team.

The power of volunteers

The Black Shirt Team is a group of individuals who spend countless hours and infinite email threads planning, coordinating, launching, and managing the massive book festival that is known as Wordstock. They are professionals looking to stay involved in their community, they are graduate students gaining experience to launch their career, and they are passionate individuals looking to support a cause they believe in.

On Sunday night after the festival closed the doors on its sixth season, the Black Shirts went out to celebrate. I looked around the bar at people who I have known in various ways throughout my involvement with Wordstock—the event manager who has been with the festival from the start, the executive director who has shaped what the festival has matured into, core volunteers who I worked with during year one, and new faces who I deeply respect for the fresh ideas they bring. (more…)

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