In September, I accepted a part time job being the volunteer coordinator for a small, growing, non-profit called Giving Anonymously. (www.givinganon.org) I call it a job, but the entire non-profit is run by unpaid volunteers – so I am not hiring childcare and will be doing most of my work in the afternoons during naptime & “quiet time” and in the evenings. The beauty of it is that I can do almost everything from home during very flexible hours. Ideal for a stay at home mom!
Giving Anonymously (GA) is an organization that facilitates people giving each other anonymous gifts. You see a friend in need or a family member who is struggling and you can give them a financial gift with complete anonymity through the organization. Just go to the website, enter your credit card & the person you want to give to and GA takes care of the rest. A volunteer (maybe me!) contacts your recipient through email or phone and once they have confirmed their address we mail them a check with our name on it so they don’t know who the gift is from. If they want, they can call and leave a thank you message and we will forward it to the gift-giver as a voice file email. That’s it!
Friends of mine started Giving Anonymously in 2007 and the husband was managing the entire thing by himself in the evenings AFTER working his fulltime job, going to grad school for his MBA and managing his consulting company on the side. This summer, the NY Times found the website and did an article about it. NPR read the story and did an interview with him a few weeks later, and by August, NBC national news was sending out a film crew for interviews. NBC did two stories weeks apart and by then everything exploded and he was suddenly swamped with anonymous gifts, way beyond his capacity to handle alone. That’s where I came in….
Before I had kids, I spent my entire career working with non-profits. I loved it and managed to land my dream job at World Vision exactly 9 months before giving birth to Saben. Making the decision to stay home with him was so hard for me because I loved that job! When I heard Giving Anonymously needed help desperately I thought there was no way I could fit it in…but my heart yearned to help them and I felt absolutely giddy about working for such an amazing non-profit, using skills that had been inactive for years. So I offered a few hours and loved it so much….I got to call people and let them know we had money for them! It was a blast and next thing you know, I had become “volunteer coordinator” and was helping organize many aspects of the day to day responsibilities.
Giving Anonymously excites me because it is such a new way of giving. At World Vision, I was always fascinated by Child Sponsorship – how they take the time & energy to connect people with a real child, a face & a story. It would be easier for them to just ask for money, but World Vision wants to engage & educate donors, not just take their money. Sponsorship is one of the ways they do this. They take it so far too – if you are traveling to the country where your child lives, they will actually spend time & money to help arrange for you to meet your sponsored child. That would be such an incredible experience.
In my mind, Giving Anonymously is an extension of this. It encourages thoughtful giving, it lets you see need in your community and respond to it. It engages people in the giving process. So many times when you donate, you just let the non-profit take on all the responsibility of solving the problem with your money. There’s nothing wrong with this, and I wholeheartedly support non-profits. But I still love the idea of a more personal sort of giving.
So that is my story of why I am THRILLED to be volunteering for this unique non-profit, I feel like this “part time job” is a dream come true and I am so excited to have the opportunity to pursue it.
*I wrote this when I resigned as president of a local moms club, so if it sounds oddly formal, that is why. I am still involved with the club, just no longer president, which actually is a huge relief. : )