December 29th, 2014
03:52 PM ET

Why giving shouldn't be a solitary activity

By Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Editor's note: Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn are the authors of A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity. This is the second in a series of three guest posts.

Secular people often make giving a solitary activity at the end of the year, one that feels like a sacrifice. That’s the wrong way to think about giving back. We learned a lot from churches and temples and the way they turn giving into an enjoyable, uplifting social activity. Our profile of a master pastor at a mega-church, Bill Hybels, reveals some of the magic he employs.  We all are social animals and when we do things with a group of people we like, the activity becomes more fun.

So form a book club and engage in a few volunteer or giving activities together—or link your book club to Book Clubs for Change, Choose a need in your community or an area of the world that you all care about. Then choose a topic and an organization you might work with. Or maybe consider an on-location trip to the area and meet some of the people you want to help?

Or join a chapter of Dining for Women, which is one of the secular organizations that borrows from the religious notion of fellowship and joyous giving for a cause.  DFW has guests bring a pot luck dish to a host's home and then they all donate the money they would spend at a restaurant to a chosen cause empowering women worldwide.   Some groups have a subcommittee screen a list of finalists and the group votes on a final selection. In A Path Appears, we list some other great organizations—there’s even one called Beer for Books—that make giving a social and fun occasion.

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  1. Timmy Suckle

    How's this for the "giving spirit"!!!

    I kissed my way up to CEO at a health insurance company. Now I take over $1,000,000 of your health care dollars for NO VALUE ADDED to your health care. And that’s just me. Now think about how many other CEOs, VPs, Directors, Managers, etc. are at my company alone. Now multiply that by thousands of others at hundreds of other health insurance companies. From 10 to 25% of your health care dollars go towards administration that adds NO VALUE to your health care. But my company’s PAC dollars will continue to fool you little people into thinking that a single payer system will be bad. Little people like you are so easy to fool. Little people also don’t realize that a single payer system is the ONLY system that would allow little people (as an entire country) to negotiate better health care prices. Little people don’t realize that the Medical Cartels already know that. And that is the reason why the Medical Cartels spend so much PAC money from the hospitals and doctors lobbying against a single payer system. Some little people say that a single payer system would cost you little people more. But if that were true, then wouldn’t the hospitals and doctors WANT that extra money? Yes they would. So why do the Medical Cartels lobby against a single payer system? It’s because the Medical Cartels know it would allow little people to negotiate better health care prices. And that’s what the Medical Cartels are afraid of. Period.
    But us big wigs at insurance companies, hospitals, and pharmacy companies don’t ever need to worry about health care no matter what it costs. We get our health care paid for one way or another by you little people. And we get the little people that work at our companies to contribute to our PACs. And us big wigs say it’s to protect the little peoples’ jobs. But in reality it would be in the little peoples’ best interest to NOT contribute to the PAC. Again, little people are so easily fooled. I won’t ever have to worry about losing my job with so many little people being brain washed by the Medical Cartels’ PAC money. Not only that, the Medical Cartels’ PAC money is used to elect so many republicans that will never allow a single payer system. Republicans have always fought against any meaningful health care reform. But that’s what our Medical Cartels’ PACs pay them for. Politicians can be bought so easily.
    Pretty soon the only people that will be able to afford health care is us big wigs. And that’s the way it should be. We don’t want you little people using up the resources when we need them. And once again, I thank you little people for capping my SS tax at the $117,000 level. Now I only pay 1.17% SS tax and you little people pay 6.2%. Also, thank you for extending my tax breaks. I’m using the extra money on my vacation houses.

    December 29, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
  2. Philip

    Form a book club? Would this book club be for openly gay priests??
    Shameful how these angles love to give to charity..give to little boys with long love.

    December 29, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
  3. Philip

    There are tens of thousands of openly gay priests today waiting to find a little boy to do their pleasure after being trusted by our stupid society.
    We need to stop the rich church. When?? Who knows. But the sooner the better.
    Get a clue.

    December 29, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
    • Philip

      There are not 10's of thousands you dipsh/t. And God's active force will cleanse not just the priesthood but the bunch of ya's world wide. That day is upon us.

      December 29, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
      • banasy©

        In my opinion, these trolls really need to get a life.
        Psst. @my troll. Stop projecting and do something more productive with your life. Just saying.

        December 29, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
      • banasy©

        Nice try

        December 29, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
  4. banasy©

    Not. Even. Close.

    December 29, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
  5. Philip

    "Taking shouldn't be a solitary activity." – The Pentagon

    December 29, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
  6. Philip

    Oh. Imagine that, Logged on just in time to bump into my old pal banasy. Bad karma?

    December 29, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
    • banasy©

      I was actually making a statement that the offerings above at 5:14 and 5:21 were not even close to an imitation of you.

      December 29, 2014 at 9:25 pm |
      • Philip

        Not even close bandazi? Well you are. You are very close to being a big fat cow. Just like chrussty and bobsnot.

        December 29, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
      • banasy©

        No. Not even close.

        December 29, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
      • banasy©

        Aww how sweet. My troll has missed me.

        December 29, 2014 at 10:06 pm |
      • banasy©

        You are right. Not even close. Get a hobby.

        December 29, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
  7. Philip

    "Mega church"...Lmao.

    December 29, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
    • Philip

      Mega million bingo every Thursday night.

      December 29, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
  8. Philip

    Lol. "Book club". When was the last time you saw a needy person with a book? Or even asking for one.

    December 29, 2014 at 5:43 pm |
  9. DFW

    Pot Luck Dinner this Friday. Discount double mastectomies afterwards.

    December 29, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

    I prefer my private giving to the joining of a givers club.
    The advantage to making donations through groups is the giver's reinforcement of a sense of individual inadequacy as he is reminded of Power to the People and other Christmas carols.
    The People United Shall Never Be Defeated!
    The best charitable donations are those rehired by law. Merry Taxes.

    December 29, 2014 at 6:31 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      It is impossible for you to decide who should receive gifts at Christmas.
      It takes a professional fund raiser to do that, or a journalist.
      Give your gift funds to social workers. They will ow what to do with the money.

      December 29, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
      • Saint Nick

        Does the expression Coal in your sock mean anything to you, Joey.

        December 29, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

        @ Saint Nick,
        Oui, mais...
        Santo, you never brought me coal. Also, thank you for making this one of my best Christmas moorings ever.

        December 29, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      Required by law, not rehired.
      Similar difference, however.

      December 29, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
      • South Park Jimmy


        December 29, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
    • Philip

      Me too. I prefer to seek out those deserving rather than throwing food everywhere.

      December 29, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
    • Saint Nick

      That was before you said "It is impossible for you to decide who should receive gifts at Christmas."

      December 29, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
  11. Observer

    Bad karma is all you have fillitup! More importantly its all you deserve! The way you treat people im surprised you would expect to ever have good karma!

    December 29, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
    • Philip

      The teachings of Karma dictate what happen's to you in your next life, Oservver. Not this one. Nice try, though.
      Karma –
      the sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences

      December 29, 2014 at 6:47 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

        So true.
        I have been told by psychics and other experts that I am a very old soul. I shall not be born again, at least for a long time.

        December 29, 2014 at 6:55 pm |
      • Philip

        I would have to agree with them on that, Joey. In that you ARE a soul. It's not something that you have. "Adam came to BE a living soul" says The Word, after all.

        December 29, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
  12. Philip

    Giving to major charities has obviously not worked. Or we wouldn't be having this discussion.

    December 29, 2014 at 6:55 pm |
  13. Philip

    You support Israel's IDF and MOSSAD like it or not. Donations to them are taken out of your paycheck before you even get it. If you think about it, it's outrageous. That each of US are required to support Israel, like it or not.

    December 29, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      It's OK to send American dollars to Israel et al. Our dollars aren't worth much anymore, and I we run short, we just reprint.

      December 29, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
      • Philip

        I never said it's not OK. I said it's outrageous that giving to help support the IDF and MOSSAD is required.of each and every one of US workers.

        December 29, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
  14. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

    @ Philllip,
    Sorry - just realized I've spelled your name incorrectly all of these years.
    We agree, probably, on souls.

    December 29, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
    • Philip

      That's alright. I called you Joe the other night. And yeah, the idea that souls do not die is ridiculous.

      December 29, 2014 at 7:18 pm |
  15. Philip

    Merry old soul, mean old soul. Young soul, old soul, dead soul.

    December 29, 2014 at 7:19 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Jeb Bush surges to double-digit lead among 2016 GOP presidential contenders.

    Now that the economy is moving forward , it's time to elect another Bush .

    The Turd times the charm !

    December 29, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
  17. Thomas

    Jeb Bush surges to double-digit lead among 2016 GOP presidential contenders.

    Now that the economy is moving forward , it's time to elect another Bush .

    December 29, 2014 at 7:25 pm |
  18. Tori

    Thomas no please, Jeb can't be elected.

    December 29, 2014 at 8:04 pm |
  19. Observer

    And thats why i said "the way you treat people WHY would you ever expect good karma!" No matter which life it is. Though i don't think God will see fit to give you another life!

    December 29, 2014 at 8:09 pm |
  20. Philip

    So why is it when a neg ro gets shot by a cop, Obama and Eric Holder are on the news condemning the police. But when nig gers shoot cops, Obama and Eric Holder make no public appearances.

    December 29, 2014 at 9:26 pm |
  21. Philip

    It's not up to Thomas. That hillbilly doesn't even have a voting card. May be for the best. Jed will never be president. Just being a Bush and related to G. W. Bush who BTW is not only dyslexic, but re tarded as well, will be enough to give Jed a defeat.
    Is that right Hubserver..YOU know what God wants for me because he spoke to you.
    You're just a regular Moses aren't you dipsh/t.

    December 29, 2014 at 9:39 pm |
  22. banasy©

    New York Mayor, Bill De Blasio is a disgrace. I am glad that the NYP turn their back on him. De Blasio cannot lead and should resign since he will never be able to fix the mess that he made.

    December 29, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
    • banasy©

      Noble try.

      December 29, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

        Not even.

        December 29, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

        We New Yorkers did make a mistake in electing this mayor, whom I supported.
        It isn't just about law enforcement.
        When aspiring artists move to Manhattan as (usually) hungry youngsters, they need material goals as well as creative vision.
        I was prodded by knowing that I could not enter a park without a key to the gate.
        Cars should not have to move too slowly because irresponsible parents don't know that their children need to be taught not to play in the street.
        Our mayor is another upside-down fruitcake.
        God bless New York's finest.

        December 29, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
  23. banasy©

    CNN really should block these nas ty trolls. Lol

    December 29, 2014 at 10:39 pm |
  24. banasy©

    I am flatered. But really. Please, use your own name.

    December 29, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
  25. banasy©

    I trust that my stupid troll will not be here tomorrow.
    Thank you, honey.

    December 29, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
  26. Blue Saffron

    Don't worry banasy, that ugly troll at 10:31 will not be back.

    December 29, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
  27. Philip

    Blue Saffron and banasy need to get a life. Pair of bores.

    December 29, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
  28. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

    I have a pretty full dance card until next year. On the town, as they say.
    Hoppy New Year.
    I miss many here. Some have left the board but not the planet.
    I wish I'd met some of them.
    Where did folks like Justin go? I wonder whether he ever got any Bengals.

    December 29, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
  29. Philip

    I agree with the real banasy and JIF. De Blasio has shown his true colors. He did not calm the situation in NY, he took sides, and alienated himself from the police dept.

    It is ashame, that it took the vice president of the United States to bring together the city of NY and the police department since the mayor of that city cannot do it.

    December 29, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
  30. Blue Saffron

    Me too.
    I worship Modi. I love India.

    December 30, 2014 at 12:16 am |
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