The Art of Giving

By: Gen Bisson

The way we give back has dramatically changed over the past few decades and continues to do so today. Some might look at the world and all its problems and feel discouraged. However, I personally made a vow to myself to look at the other side of the medal. I want to continue to be swept away by this wave of positive change. Basically, it’s about being proactively part of solutions. On so many levels we are witnessing progress. Every day innovative ideas are imagined and implemented. Learning about them gives you a brighter outlook on things.

It’s amazing to see the amount of businesses becoming more socially minded. On the other hand, NGO’s are increasingly operated like businesses.  It seems like the best recipes requires a nice mix of both.  Sweet results with a smaller chance of bitter impact.

The social business and entrepreneur trend has also taken on a life its own. There are many reasons why more people are taking the jump towards a more socially minded way of doing things.  This win/win attitude is one that needs to keep trending. I think it will, as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. so elegantly said, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

In the means of funding, new ways are immersing.  They often don’t revolve around the act of simply giving money. There seems to be something missing in that equation. My guess would be balance.  Empowerment comes when there is a real exchange.

One particular concept that I love is the one of “creatibution”. My friend Sunita introduced me to it and it has resonated with me ever since. The idea is to organize an event based on something you can do or something you would like to try or experience, invite people to participate and raise funds.  For example, I organized a Zumba dance fest for my goodbye party, got a free teacher from my friend Julie and charged a class fee. Instead of spending money on a dinner, like we always do, we danced, laughed and, now because of it, we helped a small dance troupe with this money. Simple yet effective. In the Philippines we have been collecting books in an attempt to provide more children with access to quality reading material. We found the best way to do so is to use books as a so-called, “currency,” where people donate books in exchange for a dance or yoga class. We also have a deal with Viva cafe that they provide a beer or another drink when you bring a book. “A book a beer.” Again, simple yet effective.

The ways we can give back are becoming more creative and in these, “world problems,” lies an enormous space for innovation and opportunity. It’s just about looking at it from a different perspective and choosing a different, more proactive angle.

Pandoo Nation was actually created out of a problem turned into opportunity. Anthony, the CEO built this social enterprise based on his experience watching his two children, Joslyn and Sawyer, play games. It bothered him that there was no better game out there for them, so… he decided to build one. Now, kids like his will get to be a part of this new trend of giving back. The best part is that it all starts from something they already enjoy doing. It’s just adding an element, the social twist that makes this game truly mean something.

These kinds of projects are becoming more and more sustainable, something that was often missing in the past.

With a game like Pandoo Nation, your kids can play, have a blast, learn AND help.  They will be the ones who contribute, and this shift of power will ripple into children who better understand the importance of innovative thinking and the impact of giving.

Some of my biggest personal goals associated with this project are to develop and fuel more change makers. Also, I find it important that we contribute to the demand of smarter products and that it inspires more innovative ways to contribute positively to our world.

See? Many reasons to feel hopeful about progress and even more reasons to feel motivated to become a part of it.

Come on, Jump in!