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. banasy@

    I like peach cobbler.

    December 30, 2014 at 6:03 am |
  2. banasy@

    I eat cherry pie,blue berry pie.

    December 30, 2014 at 6:05 am |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini@

    Let's not forget apple pie.

    December 30, 2014 at 6:07 am |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      I hate apple pie.
      I have dessert once or twice a year, and that's not every year.
      Americans are far too fat. They consume too much sugar, salt, and FDA-recommended veggies.

      December 30, 2014 at 8:07 am |
  4. Philip

    Add chicken pot pie to that. Fresh out of the oven. Hehe (shoulder shrug)

    December 30, 2014 at 6:15 am |
    • Philip

      Not bad. Not bad at all. With a little polishing around the edges, that could almost pass for something I would write. Tip: it's (shrug). Not "(shoulder shrug)". Evabuddy already knowed shrugs come from shoulders.

      December 30, 2014 at 8:17 am |
  5. Blue Saffron

    I prefer pineapple cake for sure.

    December 30, 2014 at 6:25 am |
  6. Tori

    My favorite is chocolate moose from Ho.ot.ers. since I work there I get a discount.
    And if I really shake it I get great tips.

    December 30, 2014 at 6:28 am |
    • Tori

      Troll you are way off. You should know better then to put that trash up.

      December 30, 2014 at 9:07 am |
      • troll b125

        @ Miss Tori. It's "than" not "then" "Then" is used for a continuum in a conversation.

        December 30, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
  7. Observer

    I like peach pie. Ice cream on top.

    December 30, 2014 at 6:30 am |
  8. chrissy

    I like strawberry shortcake the best.

    December 30, 2014 at 6:32 am |
  9. Adam

    No wonder that the 3 of you are so fat.

    December 30, 2014 at 6:37 am |
  10. palintwit

    Adam does not exist
    Adam does not exist
    Adam does not exist

    December 30, 2014 at 6:41 am |
    • palintwit

      Fake palintwit @ 6:41 am ^

      December 30, 2014 at 11:04 am |
  11. Thomas

    My favorite is rum cake. Love that rum. I'm Irish you know.

    December 30, 2014 at 6:43 am |
  12. Adam

    I do too exist.
    My favorite is Jello Chocolate pudding pie. Simply the best.

    December 30, 2014 at 6:45 am |
  13. Philip

    My favorite pie is coochie pie. Acourse that's when I was younger.

    December 30, 2014 at 8:18 am |
  14. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

    Guaranteed To Work 100%
    Whenever you are hungry, choose between these two, and only two, options:
    Drink black coffee until you are full,
    Eat all of the Beluga caviar you can find in the house.

    December 30, 2014 at 8:22 am |
    • Philip

      That won't work. It takes way more calories than that to burn fat.

      December 30, 2014 at 8:28 am |
      • Dr. Phil

        he he. Forgot to put on my Dr. Phil costume.
        That won't work, Joey. Calories are energy, and it takes a lot of calories to scrub fat. An overly obese person must increase their caloric intake to bulk food ratio and start going outside and getting some sunlight and exercise and eat plenty of fruits, grains, and veggies in order to return to their natural weight.

        December 30, 2014 at 8:31 am |
      • Dr. Phil

        ...Fat people tend to like low-calorie food so they can eat more of it, which of course defeats the entire process of losing weight. Fat people need to eat plenty of high-calorie high-energy food in order to have the extra energy their body needs to start scrubbing all that flab off of you.

        December 30, 2014 at 8:33 am |
  15. Philip

    And it's supposed to be Caring, not "giving". A mon-caring person can be coerced into giving...conned, as it were. Or give just to cover-up his or her lack of compassion. To make themselves appear to be caring individuals but really don't give a rats ass if people starve. As long as they got their double helping of turkey and 1/2 pound of pie.
    Caring is what motivates giving. Not TV commercials or filthy rich preachers begging/coercing you into giving.

    December 30, 2014 at 8:23 am |
  16. Lard Lady

    Look at me! I'm drinking soda that only has 1 calorie. I'm smart.

    December 30, 2014 at 8:35 am |
  17. Lard Man w/flag

    I'mma Americanand can be fat if I want too. Is my birthright.

    December 30, 2014 at 8:38 am |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      Ah, Philip, but of course!
      Only now, after your explanation, do I understand how so much weight was lost at Auschwitz. It was simply a matter of forcing the inmates to consume enough calories to burn off their fat.

      December 30, 2014 at 9:00 am |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

        The popato-peel soup diet. Loaded with calories.

        December 30, 2014 at 9:04 am |
      • Philip

        Huh? That makes no sense. Old folks and men who had been worked to the bone underground building secret weapons went straight to the camps for gassing with Bayer brand Zylon B orderless gas. Healthy women and children were sent to Bayer AG's corporate concentration camp to be used as lab rats. Of course lazy Germans were all rounded uo and tossed into forced labor camps doing all sorts of tasks for the Third Reich.

        December 30, 2014 at 11:39 am |
  18. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

    Forget going outside and walking at first. Try to get those historically obese persons to stand up beside their beds.

    December 30, 2014 at 9:11 am |
  19. banasy©

    I have a problem. I steal people's names compulsively and constantly. I need help. I googled it and although rare, this psychological disease is real.

    Please forgive me.

    December 30, 2014 at 10:23 am |
    • banasy©

      Then I suggest you get some help.

      Start your way to wellness by not stealing my name anymore. Work from there.

      December 30, 2014 at 10:43 am |
      • black banasy©

        It's a victimless hobby.

        December 30, 2014 at 11:10 am |
      • banasy©


        December 30, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
  20. banasy©

    Philip stop giving wrong advice. High calorie diets never work. Atkins diets are best and eliminate hunger. You ignorant as_s.

    December 30, 2014 at 10:28 am |
  21. banasy©

    I may not be beautiful, but I have inner beauty.

    December 30, 2014 at 10:31 am |
  22. banasy©

    Art is magnificent. But anything with nip ples in p.o.r.n.

    December 30, 2014 at 10:50 am |
  23. palintwit

    " Christmas for Sarah Palin is about freedom. It’s about her freedom to worship as she wants, and simultaneously to shove that freedom to be Christian down everyone else’s throats. "

    December 30, 2014 at 11:08 am |
  24. black banasy©

    Down with Sara Palin!

    December 30, 2014 at 11:11 am |
  25. chri§§y

    Wow gone for 4 days and someone just couldnt miss the opportunity to steal my name huh? Btw troll strawberry shortcake is gross!

    December 30, 2014 at 11:24 am |
  26. chri§§y

    Good morning @ banasy, Joey and tori! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Im going to be leaving tomorrow to be with my daughter during her last days so i wont be here to wish you happy new years but i do wish you all the best now in advance!

    December 30, 2014 at 11:29 am |
  27. chri§§y

    And yes even you @ philip. Although i do think you should stop pretending to be a doctor!

    December 30, 2014 at 11:33 am |
  28. Barndaisy

    I have a problem. I visit news blogs frequently but very infrequently do I dscuss the news or important issues. I mostly troll for people I don't like as a fisherman trolls for fish from a boat. Only my disgustingly obese body is my boat and my two remaining brain cells are my bait. They can't see my flabby teets so I can't lure them in with those here.

    December 30, 2014 at 11:42 am |
    • banasy©

      Your imagination, much like your personality, is putrid.

      December 30, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
  29. Adam

    OMG. Banasy, your troll is sooooo funny. ROTFLMAO

    December 30, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
    • banasy©

      You would know.

      December 30, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
      • rupert

        I like peach cobbler

        December 30, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
    • rupert

      What about u banasy? What do u like?
      Nothing fakey I'm sure. Lol

      December 30, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
    • rupert

      @banasy. I hear u think Taylor swift is a good performer. I don't.
      Taylor swift is a bore. Same song. Over and over. Within five years that bch will be a has been. She just doesn't have staying power. She doesn't have what it takes...just a fad. White trailer trash like her mama. .She's no madana. That's for sure.

      December 30, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
  30. Joe

    You all leave banasy alone now. She's got to go see her neurologist in one hour .

    December 30, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
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