Thursday, May 31, 2012

Microphilanthropy May: That's A Wrap

It's the last day of the month, the last day of Microphilanthropy May, and I've given my last dollars away. Cue Peggy Lee friends—is that all there is?

For those of you who are just tuning in, my challenge this month was to give away $30 (in the most creative ways possible) over the course of 31 days. Here's a recap of where my donation dollars went:

$5 to the PETCO Foundation
$3 strategically left in a few books at the Watertown Public Library
$1 in the Stuff Your Bra Tank at lululemon
$1 to a homeless man outside of South Station
¢.50 in candy vending machines in Ann Arbor, MI
$1 to the Boston Medical Center Kids Fund
¢.25 in an expired parking meter
$2 to a random Nordstrom Cafe customer
$3 for a flower for a friend at work
$5 for the AIDS Action Committee 
$11 in food donations to the Watertown Food Pantry

And that's a wrap—the end of an awesome month full of thoughtfulness and generosity. A big thank you to the people over at GOOD for the inspiration.

So, what's up for June? I need to chat with Grammy before I can divulge the details, but if she gives her stamp of approval, this might just be one of my favorite months yet.

As always, more to come.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

And...I'm Out

That's right, the last $8 is out the window and my microphilanthropy well has officially run dry. Sigh...

So, what did I spend my last few donation dollars on? I stopped by the grocery store before work and picked up some non-perishables for the Watertown Food Pantry. After reading that the need for those who rely on the pantry is growing due to the economic crisis, I thought it would be a great way to top off the month. I have to say too, I kind of feel like a loser for never having donated to a food pantry before. What an easy (and affordable) way to give back. I'm hoping to make this a more regular occurrence.

My $11 donation to the food pantry (I was only supposed to spend $8, but I decided that if there were ever a time to not feel guilty for going over my budget, this would be it).

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Another $5 Bites the Dust

Three days to go, $13 still left in my microdonation fund, and I just so happen to receive an email from a friend asking for donations for a walk she's participating in this weekend—you got it girl!

And another $5 bites the dust, this time to support my friend Athena in her fundraising efforts for the AIDS Action Committee as part of the 26th AIDS Walk and 5K Run happening this weekend in Boston.

And I've still got $8 to microphilanthropically burn before Friday, woohoo!

Friday, May 25, 2012


Since there's only a week left of Microphilanthropy May and the well of micro-donation ideas is starting to run dry, it's time to get crafty. For these last few dollars, I'm trying to think a little harder about not just giving the money away, but using the money to buy things that can then be given away.

For instance, a coworker of mine is going through a major case of "when its rains it pours", so I used a few donation dollars and bought her this before work the other day:

And now we're down to one week and $13 to go.

Wishing a happy Memorial Day weekend to all (anyone want to invite me out on their boat or to their private beach? Kidding, but seriously...)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Coffee Or Tea On Me

After enjoying glorious weather all weekend and my first beach day of the season (thanks Hank and Ashley!), it was hard not to be bummed about the return of the rain these past few days. Since today was particularly gloomy, I thought it would be a good chance to drop a little microphilanthropy on someone to (hopefully) brighten their day.

On my way into work, I stopped at the Nordstrom Cafe and asked the girl at the register to give this to "the next nice person who orders something for $2". Luckily she didn't look at me like I was weirdo, and she even smiled and said, "I do this all the time when I go through the tolls". Maybe there's hope for humanity yet.

And there's still $16.25 to go before next Friday. Ideas anyone?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

"Would you like to donate $1 to the Boston Medical Center Kids Fund?"

The other day I went to iParty to do a little decoration shopping for a graduation party that a few of us were putting together for my friend Jenny who just finished up her masters degree (congrats girl!). As I was checking out, the clerk asked me:

"Would you like to donate $1 to the Boston Medical Center Kids Fund?"

You bet I would! And another microdonation was made. Whoever came up with the idea to partner with businesses to allow customers to make $1 donations to charities in addition to their purchases is a genius. I almost always do this, especially this month.

And then on the way into the Post Office, I noticed that my neighbors meter was out so I dropped a quarter in.

$11.75 down and $18.25 to go...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Gift of Candy

When walking out of the supermarket the other day, a microphilanthropic idea came to me: Drop a bunch of quarters in candy vending machines to surprise and delight the sweet-toothed recipient with a free candy waterfall.

Done and done. A lucky kid (or 20-something candy lover like myself) in Ann Arbor, MI will now enjoy a handful of M&M's and Mike and Ikes on my behalf.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Who Doesn't Like A Dollar Bill In A Bra?

Let me first start by saying that I'm writing this post on an the sky...flying at 32,000 feet through the air. I can't help but stop for a minute and really think about this—are you serious? Is it not totally incredible that this is even possible? Kind of reminds me of this clip,  Everything's Amazing and Nobodys Happy, from Conan O'Brien a few years ago.

But I digress...

As I was lying in bed the other night brainstorming ideas for this month's Lent, a funny one came to me. A few weeks ago in the store (lululemon, that is), we got in a new tank called the Run: Stuff Your Bra Tank. The gist of this top is that it has 7 pockets sewn into the front and back to stuff things in when you head out for a run (think: iPod, house key, cards, etc).

So, although the people who shop at a store that sells $98 yoga pants, in a mall that refers to itself as a "Collection" and not a mall, probably don't need any financial assistance, I decided to stuff a dollar bill in a Stuff Your Bra Tank with a little note that read "Finders Keepers", just because. Even if you're a millionaire, you'd have to at least crack a smile to find a mystery dollar bill in your new tank, right? And if all goes as planned, I might even inspire the finder to pay it forward (a girl can dream).

Then on my way to the airport this afternoon, I saw a homeless man outside of South Station and dropped $1 in his cup. That makes $10 down and $20 to go.

But now it's time to get back to Skymall and complimentary Coca Cola, awagis I go...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Library Love Notes

After I blew through 1/6 of my $30 microphilanthropy budget last week voting for the cats, I knew I needed to cool it for a few days before making my next move. It's easy finding good causes to donate to, but it's definitely a challenge giving money away in such small increments. What to do next...

When I was researching ideas for this month, I remember reading a story about a woman who tucked money away in a book that she donated with a little note attached. I though this was a cute idea (who wouldn't be psyched to find a surprise like that?), so today, I headed over to the library and left a few bills with Post-its attached in selected books:

In a book about finding your first job out of college.    

In the coffee shop section of a travel book

$22 to go for the month (and still looking for ideas on how to give away tiny amounts of money, open for suggestions!).

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The First $5

So, it might not qualify as a "creative" way to give money away, but as I was scrolling through my news feed on Facebook this morning, I saw that a friend had posted a link to vote for her cats in the PETCO Foundation “Pets are Family Too” Photo Contest. To vote, you donate a minimum of $5 (which in turn, gives you 5 votes) and the proceeds from voting for her cats benefit Animal Care & Control of NYC.

A microdonation you say? All over it. Donated $5 and 5 votes to Nano and Flash. $25 to go!

How could I not vote for these guys?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Microphilanthropy May

Up until a few days ago, my May Lent was totally up in the air. I had a few ideas up my sleeve, but nothing that I was super psyched about. Anxious to find an idea that really resonated, I decided to check in with the folks over at GOOD to get some challenge inspiration from them (they do a monthly 30-day challenge as well). After poking around for a bit, I stumbled on this one: Creative Microphilanthropy. This video (that Blogger is cropping off, thanks a lot) explains what it's all about:

Cool, right? I definitely don't have money to burn (let's be honest here, I work at the mall), but I can certainly scrounge up $30 to give away over the course of the month. I have a few ideas to get me started, but I need your help too. Any ideas for how to creatively give away small amounts of money? Your suggestions are much appreciated, thanks guys!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April Unplugged: Wrap-Up

Wait, it's May 1st already? Is that all there is to April Unplugged? Cue Peggy Lee (sorry, I'll never get tired of this).

So, I guess this is it. My technology vacation is over. I'm officially off of internet arrest. My iPhone can come out of its sleeping bag. One word to describe how I feel about this? Bummer.

Like I wrote about the other day, I'm usually more than ready to let go of whatever restriction I've placed on myself, but this month is a little different. I really liked my limited tech time. Only checking email twice a day was kind of life changing. No technology after 10 was great. And I absolutely loved Sunday Sabbaths. So, what now?

I do what i try to do every month and take a little bit of my challenge with me back into my "normal" life. So, to keep my shoulders from stiffening back up and my brain from always operating in panic mode, here are the technology limitations that I'm attempting to implement in my life:

1. Only check email twice a day, 3 times max.
2. No technology after 10, work related or not (except for a little House Hunters International here and there—the only thing I missed this month).
3. Only check my phone when there's a reason to, i.e. hearing it ring or beep, or if I'm expecting a call or message from someone.
4. Make an effort to keep up with a "Sabbath" day once a week.

And that's it guys. I'll leave you with a quote I read last night in "The Power of Less" by Leo Babauta:

"Focus on less to become more effective. Focus on one goal in order to achieve it. Focus on the task at hand instead of multitasking and you'll be more productive. Focus on the present to reduce anxiety and stress".

Next Up? Microphilanthropy May.