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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soundoff (1,377 Responses)
  1. chri§§y

    SMH again! Nothing changes!

    January 8, 2015 at 10:13 am |
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    January 8, 2015 at 12:34 pm |
  3. chri§§y

    Nothing new i see lmao.

    January 8, 2015 at 12:42 pm |
  4. chri§§y

    At least it will make the transition of this site being shut down, much easier knowing nothing wouldve changed. We would still have the same tired old bickering going on...if it was still up and running! But....i am glad for the friends ive made here and will always stay in touch with!

    January 8, 2015 at 12:47 pm |
  5. bobcat2u


    Farmers Fred and Luke were fishing on the side of the road. They made a sign saying "The End is Near! Turn yourself around now before it's too late!," and showed it to each passing car.

    One driver that passed didn't appreciate the sign and shouted, "Leave us alone you religious nuts!"

    All of a sudden they heard a big splash.

    Fred grinned at Luke. "Do you think we should just put up a sign that says: 'Bridge Out' instead?"

    January 8, 2015 at 1:02 pm |
  6. bobcat2u

    The following are actual statements found in insurance forms where drivers attempted to summarize the details of an accident in the fewest words.

    Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don't have.

    I thought my window was down, but I found out it was up when I put my head through it.

    A truck backed through my windshield into my wife's face.

    A pedestrian hit me and went under my car.
    The guy was all over the road, I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.

    I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother- in-law, and headed over the embankment.

    I attempted to kill a fly, and I drove into a telephone pole.

    I had been driving for forty years, when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.

    I was on my way to the doctor with rear end trouble and my universal joint gave way, causing me to have an accident.

    To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front, I struck the pedestrian.

    An invisible car come out of nowhere, struck my car and vanished.

    I told the police that I was not injured, but on removing my hat, found that I had a fractured skull.

    The pedestrian had no idea which direction to run, so I ran over him.

    I saw a slow-moving, sad-faced old gentleman as he bounced off the hood of my car.

    In indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.

    I was thrown from the car as it left the road. I was later found in a ditch by some stray dogs.

    The telephone pole was approaching. I was attempting to swerve out of its way when it struck my front end.

    January 8, 2015 at 1:39 pm |
    • banasy©

      Thanks for this, Rawr; I have a friend in the insurance industry and some of the excuses she tells me are mind-boggling.

      January 8, 2015 at 7:48 pm |
  7. chri§§y

    Good job @ bobcat lol! GPS should go out with a "kitty, kitty, bang, bang!" lmao!

    January 8, 2015 at 1:49 pm |
  8. bobcat2u

    Speaking of "bang bang" :

    Seems there was a young soldier, who, just before battle, told his sergeant that he didn't have a rifle.

    "That's no problem, son," said the sergeant. "Here, take this broom. Just point it at the Germans, and go 'Bangety Bang Bang'."

    "But what about a bayonet, Sarge?" asked the young (and gullible) recruit.

    The sergeant pulls a piece of straw from the end of the broom, and attaches it to the handle end. "Here, use this... just go, 'Stabity Stab Stab'."

    The recruit ends up alone on the battlefield, holding just his broom. Suddenly, a German soldier charges at him.

    The recruit points the broom. "Bangety Bang Bang!" The German falls dead. More Germans appear. The recruit, amazed at his good luck, goes "Bangety Bang Bang! Stabity Stab Stab!" He mows down the enemy by the dozens.

    Finally, the battlefield is clear, except for one German soldier walking slowly toward him. "Bangety Bang Bang! shouts the recruit.

    The German keeps coming.

    "Bangety Bang Bang!" repeats the recruit, to no avail. He gets desperate. "Bangety Bang Bang! Stabity Stab Stab!"

    It's no use. The German keeps coming. He stomps the recruit into the ground, and says...

    "Tankety Tank Tank."

    January 8, 2015 at 2:14 pm |
  9. chri§§y

    Lol nicely done!

    January 8, 2015 at 2:21 pm |
  10. Philip

    117. United Fire Hosers of New Delhi (VFD)

    January 8, 2015 at 6:57 pm |
  11. chri§§y

    What was that you said last night @ philip? "Typical American. Fighting fire with fire?" lmao

    January 8, 2015 at 7:02 pm |
  12. chri§§y

    And watch how and see quickly this thread becomes the "Portal to India."

    January 8, 2015 at 7:05 pm |
  13. chri§§y

    Lol ok i screwed that up huh? Watch and see how quickly, was what i meant to say.

    January 8, 2015 at 7:10 pm |
  14. Philip

    Hey Chrissy.

    January 8, 2015 at 7:33 pm |
  15. Philip MC

    Like this, chrissy?

    Our first stop is in Bogota To check Colombian fields The natives smile and pass along A sample of their yield

    Sweet Jamaican pipe dreams Golden Acapulco nights Then Morocco and the east Fly by morning light

    We're on the train to Bangkok Aboard the Thailand Express We'll hit the stops along the way We only stop for the best

    January 8, 2015 at 7:39 pm |
  16. chri§§y

    This whole place turned to crap didnt it?

    January 8, 2015 at 7:39 pm |
  17. Philip MC

    Not just here. Everywhere.

    January 8, 2015 at 7:44 pm |
  18. chri§§y

    Yes i remember @ banasy. Im just failing to see the relativity to the two.

    January 8, 2015 at 7:45 pm |
    • Philip


      January 8, 2015 at 7:47 pm |
      • Philip

        I meant everywhere...little imps trashing threads on chat rolls everywhere. Turdy little people nit even interested in the news trashing news blogs like little children using little words. People never hearing of Werner Von Braun trashing UFO blog sites. And some of them drive cars.

        January 8, 2015 at 7:54 pm |
    • banasy©

      I know, Chrissy, right?

      Earlier, I told a personal anecdote about Arnold Swarzenegger knocking me down while jogging down the street during the time "True Lies" was being filmed. He apologized, then extended his hand to help me up.

      You should see what that one turned into; it never was explained.

      Illustrating why I do not "share" often on here.

      January 8, 2015 at 7:55 pm |
  19. chri§§y

    Well i cant speak for anyone else all i can say is "I am fed up to my eyeballs with mean-azz people!" It seems like thats all ive dealt with almost my whole life and im sick and tired of it. Im pretty sure i wasnt born to be abused whether its verbal, mental, emotional or physical. And im DAMN freakin tired of it.

    January 8, 2015 at 7:52 pm |
    • banasy©

      I concur, Chrissy.

      People should just try kindness.

      If we're talking about online, it's the nature of the net; keyboard warriors feel free to say whatever they want without fear of any real reprisal. It's gotten much worse the last few decades.

      I try to be nice, until one gives me a reason not to be. I feel you are pretty much the same.

      Kindness does work.

      January 8, 2015 at 8:11 pm |
      • Philip

        We *are* supposed to turn the other cheek when we are insulted. But only if we are willing to also follow the law regarding the speedy execution of known raypists. Cherry picking is not allowed. It's all for or all against. We who straddle the fence are in the most danger.

        January 8, 2015 at 8:33 pm |
      • banasy©

        I guess I don't equate being kind to people to convicted rapists.

        January 8, 2015 at 8:42 pm |
    • Philip

      I was talking about stupid people like the ones copy/pasting long lists if words. Those are the disruptive ones. Nothing wrong with arguing.

      January 8, 2015 at 8:13 pm |
      • banasy©

        Yes, you and I are both guilty of that, Philip.

        January 8, 2015 at 8:17 pm |
      • Philip

        Yes. Guilty of arguing. Which is not against any law I might add.

        January 8, 2015 at 8:36 pm |
      • banasy©

        Guilty of posting lists; I did it last night, and you did it today on the Innovation blog.

        January 8, 2015 at 8:43 pm |
  20. chri§§y

    Thats exactly what i was talking about @ philip! Just because the previous thread is too long for me to post on doesnt mean i cant read the filth directed at me. And yea @ banasy im learning that also.

    January 8, 2015 at 8:05 pm |
    • banasy©

      It gets very tiring reading about fictionalized accounts of our lives, isn't it, Chrissy? I do not understand the allure.

      January 8, 2015 at 8:15 pm |
      • Philip

        *doesn't it

        January 8, 2015 at 8:27 pm |
      • banasy©

        *cast iron

        January 8, 2015 at 8:36 pm |
  21. Philip

    It's hard for a man to be kind when he sees crooked political and religious leaders not only fooling the masses and allowing them to be swindled by major banks and corporations, but also misleading them into thinking that somehow God is on the side of the Israeli MOSSAD. Who are in fact paid assassins.

    January 8, 2015 at 8:17 pm |
    • Philip

      One famous man became so filled with righteous indignation at the sight of Jew bankers swindling people he took a whip to them! And became very famous for doing so. Yet the huddled masses called him crazy.

      January 8, 2015 at 8:21 pm |
  22. chri§§y

    And those were who i meant also @ philip! Havent you read the beginnings of those long copy/paste lists? Total filth! And they have the 3 of us, names attached. Too much sparing the rod on that individual. I have a feeling he shoulda had his azz beat some when he was growing up. Teach him some manners!

    January 8, 2015 at 8:20 pm |
  23. Philip

    A fatherless boy is evile.

    January 8, 2015 at 8:24 pm |
  24. Philip

    Like I said. Americans fight fires with bigger fires. I was born in the USA. Some of that shat rubbed off on me too.

    January 8, 2015 at 8:29 pm |
  25. chri§§y

    That "person" isnt fatherless @ philip! He has a rich daddy who apparantly just let him get away with everything! Spoiled brat is what he is! And theres just no excuse except laziness on the part of his parents.

    January 8, 2015 at 8:34 pm |
  26. chri§§y

    Argueing about politics and current events is healthy. Keeps your brain active! But you CANNOT make excuses for that 44yr old pig of a mans actions! Thats WHY he acts the way he does!

    January 8, 2015 at 8:43 pm |
  27. chri§§y

    And his current obsession is just disgusting and im quite sick of hearing it constantly!

    January 8, 2015 at 8:46 pm |
    • banasy©

      Oh, he's not all that subtle, Chrissy; we see through his act. He wants the blogs shut down; posting his nonsense on an Indian journalist's site is pretty transparent.

      January 8, 2015 at 8:50 pm |
  28. chri§§y

    Ok well have a pleasant evening you two. Im not feeling well so im calling it a night.

    January 8, 2015 at 8:52 pm |
  29. chri§§y

    Yea me too! Thank you.

    January 8, 2015 at 9:02 pm |
  30. chri§§y

    And today we see the latest episode of "as the stomache turns!" I truly wish they would bring back Prohabition! I cannot deal with drunks!

    January 9, 2015 at 11:34 am |
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