You might assume that wealthy people are tremendously generous with their donor dollars. After all, they have a lot to spare. Plus we have absolute evidence of their munificence, with all those renamed hospital wings and university buildings and such to prove it.
But being rich doesn’t necessarily make you open-handed. In fact, on average, those who are swimming in it (P.S. not me – I don’t even own water wings!) can actually be a tad stingy. One analysis of income tax returns in the U.S. found that people who earned $100,000 and up donated only 4.2% of their discretionary income to charity, while middle-class earners gave 7.6%.
A new study at the University of British Columbia has now found that if you want rich people to up their donation game, you have to craft the charitable appeal accordingly. Wealthy peeps seem to enjoy donating when they’re made to feel like a bit of a hero, singlehandedly saving the world. Less affluent folks, on the other hand, will have their heartstrings surely tugged when they feel as though we’re all pulling together to make a difference as a community.
I won’t judge. I’m just the messenger. But if you run a charity for a good cause and you’re planning a donor campaign soon, you should probably be taking notes right now.
And if you’re considering giving to charity: Well, we know that donating money to help others can improve our own well-being. We gain both mood and health benefits. So whether you’re loaded with cash or working hard to make ends meet or somewhere in between: seriously, consider a few dollars in a kind direction. You’ll reap a few rewards, too.
Yes, all you non-Canadian readers, this is indeed what our paper money looks like here. I like to think it reflects our colourful personalities.
First we were distressed to hear that an elderly Toronto man with dementia had lost his beloved dog, Kimbo, and that the people who had adopted him through the Humane Society had no interest at all in returning the pet to his rightful owner.
Then, we were overjoyed to learn that a local man, after hearing this story on the news, successfully bribed the adoptive family with lots of money – and got the dog back for 80-year-old Karl Daniels, his daughter and his two grandsons. (If you don’t cry when you see this reunion video, you need to get your tear ducts checked by a medical professional.) “There’s not even a word for such a man. I like to call him my angel,” said Daniels’s daughter, Michelle. Their saviour, Lawrence Dalle Vedov, told reporters he had to do it. Even though it meant spending the $5,000 he’d saved for a vacation to Australia. See, Dalle Vedov had firsthand experience with losing a dog, thinking he was gone forever, and miraculously finding him again. He also remembered how much comfort a dog had brought to his father when he was in declining health.
And finally, we were absolutely stoked to find out that Expedia Canada had donated a free airline ticket for Dalle Vedov to reach his dream destination, and that a crowdfunding campaign had raised over $6,000 to pay him back for his generosity.
Such is the roller-coaster ride of real life as it unfolds, toying with our emotions, pulling us down, only to buoy us up to level 11. Speaking of which, it’s election day in the U.S., and my fingernails, despite their Canadian roots, are going to get bitten tonight…
Love your neighbours. Love your dogs.
Two good-news stories, both involving tall buildings, stood out last week. What has a skyscraper got to do with sweetness, you might ask? For one thing, it might lead to a baby raccoon getting stranded on – and later saved from – a window ledge high above the ground. This happened at the downtown Toronto Star building, so not only was the rescue witnessed by a crowd of newspaper workers, it was also diligently recorded and reported. The baby raccoon had been up there for a couple of days, unable to get down, so firefighters set up a long ladder and basket to try and help the trapped animal.
Although the first reports all referred to the animal as a “he,” it was later found that the raccoon was actually female. (You’d think newspaper staff, of all people, would have their facts straight. Sheesh!) The Toronto Star folks did show their creative side by naming her Scoop. And not, we presume, just because she was safely scooped up in a net.
Eight thousand kilometres south of here, an act of kindness was happening outside another high-rise structure. As Reuters reports, window washers at the Sabara Children’s Hospital in Sao Paolo, Brazil, decided to cheer up sick children by wearing superhero costumes while they worked. Instead of staring at a dull, grey cityscape when they looked out the window, the kids caught glimpses of Batman, The Flash and Spiderman industriously applying their squeegees. A smiling nine-year-old told Reuters: “There is nothing to do in the hospital and, with these activities, a child’s day is happier.” (Truth be told, a smiling nine-year-old hospital patient could say anything and I’d quote her here.)
These buildings may be made of hard concrete, but last week they were the settings for some pretty soft-hearted good deeds. (See what I did, there?)
If you look really closely, you’ll see a cute little sick kid waving from the tenth-floor window… No, not really. (FreeImages.com/pazham)
I’ve given this some thought, and decided it might break my heart to tell you the story of the little girl in Nova Scotia whose tragic early death has led to an unbelievable, exponential number of good deeds everywhere. So I will share a link to this article, stand aside while you read it, and let you be inspired to commit extraordinary acts of kindness, without any guidance from me whatsoever.
Now that we’ve all composed ourselves, let’s talk about a novel way to share book love. No Kleenex required. Thanks to this brand-new initiative in Red Deer, Alberta, small collections of free books are now circulating around the city via public transit routes. If you’re riding a bus with one of these on-board libraries, you’re encouraged to browse through the selection, grab anything you want at no charge, and take books away with you… or simply read while you ride. (Disclaimer: Red Deer officials are not responsible for missed bus stops due to engrossing bestsellers.)
It sounds similar to the Little Free Library concept I wrote about back in 2013. That was the movement that triggered a crop of cute little book houses all over North America (one came to my neighbourhood last year!), offering a range of titles free for the taking and the sharing.
Back in Red Deer, Books on the Bus will run for six months on a trial basis, maintained by volunteers. Book donations can be dropped off at any Red Deer public library. Fiction and non-fiction at all reading and age levels is happily accepted.
Just in case they’re looking for more ideas, I’ve come up with some themed classics. There’s The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck, The Lilac Bus by Maeve Binchy, Riding The Bus With My Sister by Rachel Simon… and that runaway bestseller, Practical Safety Inspection for Commercial Vehicles, published by the Ontario School Bus Association. We can’t wait for the next edition.
Books on the Bus: An idea that everyone can get on board with. (Photo courtesy of the City of Red Deer.)