You Don’t Have to Be a Billionaire to Make a Giving Pledge

In August of 2010, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet announced that they had convinced over 40 billionaires and their families to sign the Giving Pledge. According to the website:

The Giving Pledge is an effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes either during their lifetime or after their death.

Though the initial idea was focused on Americans like Mike Bloomberg, George Lucas and Sandy Weil, the pledge site now lists people from countries around the world like Brits Richard Branson and David Sainsbury. It’s a very powerful idea, and, like Weil stated in his pledge, “we are firm believers that shrouds don’t have pockets.”

Ok, so you’re not a billionaire. Many of us are struggling with the high cost of living and college to be “thousandaires.” But you know deep down that giving is good. It feels good, it is good for you, and it is indispensable for the recipients of your generosity. You don’t have to make a promise, right now, to give it all away before you die. But, you can enjoy feeling positive and happy on a regular basis by being more mindful and conscious of your giving.

This is one of the motivations we have for creating One4All. As Jason Hausske has told me, One4All puts the individual in the center, and shows her how she can have impact and influence, one gift and one donation at a time. The site is setup to let anyone donate to any of the over 1.3 million nonprofits in the U.S., using a personal giving account. Technically, when you set up a One4All account, you are setting up your own charitable fund. It’s an exciting and innovative way of enabling each of us to be a philanthropist and make a difference.

Even more powerfully, I’ve discovered, is the ability to send a quick, meaningful gift to anyone via Facebook or email. A friend recently told me that it was “the best gift I got all day” and she immediately donated it to a hunger organization. She told me that she had some other gifts she wanted to give. So, in being generous, I’ve stimulated the generosity of others. Our circle of friends isnot going to catch up to the estimated $125 Billion dollars the Giving Pledge will generate in the next few years (unless we work really hard) but that’s not the point.

One4All recognizes that casual givers give occasionally when inspired and almost always to form deeper relationships with others. One4All wants to turn the occasional inspiration into a sustained experience.People who enjoy giving, who feel happy when their friends are happy and feel good not only from their own giving but from the donations that follow it. Many people complain that there’s a “Slactivist” vibe out there – that clicking on “Like” and signing electronic petitions are replacing actions. Donations are actions – they are votes for support of different organizations and different causes. They are votes with the wallet, or putting our money where our mouths are. And I, for one, will keep casting ballots.