cause its my birthday

What You Give You Will Get Back Tenfold

September 25, 2009 · By Sloane Davidson, Founder and CEO, Hello Neighbor

Tonight, I was on the phone with a friend. I was saying I was overwhelmed. This is too much. Yesterday, the day before yesterday, today, tonight - it never stops. The giving, the caring, the wanting so badly to make the world better and to make people care more that I can feel it in my soul and I ache from the wanting. I physically ache from it. I'm not saying people don't care. They do, they care a lot. I'm not saying I'm any better. Because I'm not. What I'm saying is that I know, for me, I feel it more. It aches. And it leaves me longing.

How can you really convey those things online? Here I am, I've built a portal, I've launched a campaign, and the wheels are in motion, and it's all happening. You can't go back, you can only go forward and here it is, it's almost here.

If it all ended tomorrow. It would be a success. Truly. It would be a success because people have showed to me that they want to be involved and they want to care, and they trust me to put their efforts into a place where they are needed and can make a difference. So it could all end tomorrow and it would be a success.

But it's not ending tomorrow. Not the Cause It's My Birthday campaign and not the feeling in my very soul that there is just so much more for me to do. So I keep pushing forward, and sending emails and looking for sponsors and press contacts and hosts for cities and putting together pieces. And I send targeted emails to friends asking for donations. I watch the donations trickle in, little by little each day.

Let me tell you something, when you're fundraising and an email comes in, it can be with $5 or $500, it means something. It means that person choose to click on the link, and choose an amount and pressed "DONATE." They entered personal information. They confirmed their donation. They did those steps because they believed in the power of GIVING. They looked at the screen, at words I very well may have typed or images picked for the website or a video made to talk about an issue and they said - I CAN DO MY PART. That means something. It means more than something, in my very heart and soul, it means everything. And to the people you're helping, it means their life, it means their livelihood, it means the freedom to dream again and to work towards their dreams.

Yet, if people really knew how much I was willing to give, how much I was willing to give up to make people care, maybe they would be scared. Think I was too good or too giving. Think they had to sit up straighter when I passed by. Which is flattering, that a friend would say to me that people sit up straighter when I go by. But I guess what I'm saying is I want people to sit up straighter because they feel the power of giving too.

The power of giving is my Formula 1, it's my skydiving, it's my fix. It's not all of who I am and it's something that not everyone understands. "Surely you're not really ok with my just giving $5." Someone says to me. I am. I swear I am. Because sometimes $5 turns into $10 turns into $100. And sometimes $5 is just $5. But it's something. It's a start. Think of what would happen if only we all just pressed "DONATE."

If you're obese and the doctor says you have to exercise or you're going to die, what would you do? If you walked out the door and tried to run 5 miles, you would die. You would collapse and think you're a failure and do nothing. It's a jolt to your system, it's too much. So what's the alternative? You walk to the end of the driveway and you get the mail. You walk to the corner. You do things that once felt impossible or unfathomable and you do them until they are normalized and then you keep going. You up the ante, you build your confidence and muscle memory and you up the ante.

With giving, it's the same thing. Start small, start anywhere.

If I can run a campaign, for Kiva, or for malaria or for anything and I can stand behind it and say, "this matters and it's real and I'm appreciative of EVERY SINGLE CENT you give, thank you thank you thank you for giving" and that can mean something to them, that's what I'll do.

At the end of the day, I'm bone ragged tired. I don't want to sleep more or take it easy, I want to get that one email every day that says "I gave today and it felt good, thank you for inspiring me." That's MY reward.

If today, that's you. If you give today and let the pure joy of giving become a part of your life, I guarantee what you give you will get back tenfold. And if today that's not you, hey man, maybe tomorrow. There's not always going to be tomorrow, but for the sake of argument tonight, I'll let you sleep on it and pick up tomorrow where I left off.