Generosity Day 2012Thursday, February 09, 2012
Sasha Dichter, of Acumen Fund, started Generosity Day last year as a day to say "yes" and be generous to requests that we may typically ignore or overlook. The idea is that you go through the entire day saying yes when people ask for help and taking opportunities to be generous.
Generosity Day is next Tuesday, February 14th (Valentine's Day). Generosity Day can look however you want it to: giving money to someone who asks for it instead of walking by and ignoring them, buying the groceries of the person ahead of you at the store, paying for coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks, or being generous with your time and volunteering at a shelter or event you normally wouldn't. Here is Sasha's TED Talk on what he learned from a month spent saying "yes." You can also read his blog posts on it here.
A quick note: The way Generosity Day is being marketed suggests that you skip Valentine's Day (celebrating love the other 364 days) and choose to be generous instead. I think this is unnecessary as the two are not mutually exclusive. More than that, I think it is dangerous. From my own non-profit days, I can tell you that about 80% of the issues families working with many "good cause" organizations face stem from a person acting more married to a cause or their work than to their spouse. So skipping flowers or gifts for your partner (especially if gifts are one of their top love languages) in favor of giving a few dollars to the homeless person who sits outside your coffee shop may seem noble, but it's probably going to leave one of those people nursing hurt feelings. Do both. Love, by its very definition, is generous, so Valentine's Day and Generosity Day go hand-in-hand and celebrating doesn't need to be a case of choosing one over the other.