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. Openly gay Priest

    I will only sprinkle Holy Water on her. Duh. I'm gay.

    December 31, 2014 at 5:51 pm |
  2. Wicked Witch of the North/Upper Mid-west

    Eh heh heh heh. Give meeee the child.

    December 31, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
  3. Giving

    It was not yours to begin with. And so feel compelled to give it to someone in need. Or horde it and suffer the consequences.

    December 31, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
  4. Skeptic

    You must be Philip again. Same trash with a different name. If you were not to be here anymore, no one would care.

    December 31, 2014 at 6:08 pm |
  5. Skeptic

    Please don't be offended but you really are repulsive.

    December 31, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
  6. Lord Fontleroy

    He tooted! He tooted during the funeral procession. Off with his head I say.

    December 31, 2014 at 6:10 pm |
    • Sceptic

      Noooo. Let's make 'Im walk the plank and send him to the depths of hell for what he said on CNN. Shall we? Joey. Another cup of wine? banasy? bobscat?

      December 31, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
      • banasy©

        Go to sleep, Philip.

        December 31, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
      • Sceptic

        perhaps a joke be in order to distract the ladies from bad hair days. They have them, you know. When hair rules supreme but for one day. And $200 bucks.

        December 31, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
      • banasy©

        And if you changed your name to "septic", that'd be apt.

        December 31, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
  7. chri§§y

    Ya know what pullup...i was talking to MY FRIENDS! Not that you would understand that cuz you have none you miserable piece of shat! YOU had to insert yourself into something that was clearly none of your business! WHY do YOU have to share all you lies with us about adopted children? And your per verted thoughts about banasy and i...we certainly dont care to hear that garbage out of YOUR foul mouth yet here it is, whenever the whiskey bottle starts getting low! I was wishing MY FRIENDS a happy new year in advance because i was not going to be here to do so later! If you dont like it too focking bad you selfish b@st@rd! Go drown yourself in some more whiskey!

    December 31, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
  8. Philip

    do not address me. ignore me. ty

    December 31, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
    • banasy©

      Haven't you gone to sleep, yet? You know, the type Jesus speaks of?

      December 31, 2014 at 6:18 pm |
      • Philip

        You don't even know Jesus' middle name so stfu.

        December 31, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
      • banasy©

        Go to sleep, Philip.

        December 31, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
  9. Philip

    Meanwhile, Americans take 3,576.8 times as much as they give.

    December 31, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
    • Philip

      ...although Americans are big on sympathetic remarks. And not just twords one another.

      December 31, 2014 at 6:18 pm |
  10. Skeptic

    Oh I see Philip. You have a miserable life so you enjoy spreading your misery on others. That makes since. You are so repulsive.

    December 31, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
  11. Philip

    I'm not the one sharing my misery, Skeptic. And you wouldn't even be here tonight if not to comment about me. So you are for nothing by your own admission. So buzz off little man.

    December 31, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
  12. Philip

    Chow time. Let your vittles stop your noise, said my wise grandma. People who eat and blog simultaneously are generally fat and stupid.

    December 31, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
    • Philip

      ...yet will claim to be very talented and ambidextrous individuals. Able to eat, talk, chat, text, drive, yell at kids, AND suck a Slurpee at the same time.

      December 31, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
  13. Philip

    bye for now. Hmmm. What'll it be. Bambino's?

    December 31, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
  14. Skeptic

    Bye? I doubt that. A poor lost soul as yourself will be back tonight. You are a blob of pity.

    December 31, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
  15. chri§§y

    Spot on @ skeptic. And it would be easy to ignore him if he didnt have a mouth as big as the grand canyon and the brain of a pi55 ant. He is the most hateful person ive ever had the misfortune to meet. And no he has no idea what im going thru nor does he care! His daughter wants nothing to do with him, go figure huh? But he needs to S T F U about me! For i would love nothing more than to strangle the living shat out of his smug hateful azz! Gods greatest mistake was HIM!

    December 31, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
  16. Skeptic

    Observing Philip is like observing a lost puppy downtown...trembling, scared, and so needy. Poor Philip. He needs a home. Here it is..on these blogs.
    Here puppy fetch. You post mean and you will get a response....your bone.

    December 31, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
  17. Skeptic

    He is but a puppy that hungers for attention chrissy. Here the puppy is safe. He hides behind a screen.
    Let's throw him a bone. He 'll chew it up.

    December 31, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
  18. Skeptic

    Here boy! Come on Philip. Fetch! Post a mean humorless post and you get a response...a bone.

    December 31, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
  19. Snooty Brit

    Giving your attention to Philip. Spot on. I adore the name Philip. It means Lover of horses, in Latin. Saddle sore to many tramps. Lmao. 🙂

    December 31, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
  20. Skeptic

    Philip the repulsive enigma. Great puppy.

    December 31, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
  21. Admiral Abingale Humphrey HMS Gababout

    I say we set our sights on Philip and not the news. Blimey and cheerio and all that rubbish.

    December 31, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
  22. Mtn. Man

    Observing Skeptic is like observing a skeptic. Perennial version, acourse.

    December 31, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
  23. Chri$$y

    Omg! Omg! I figured out that Mtn. Man is Philip.

    December 31, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
  24. Philip

    In the spirit of giving am giving myself a T-bone steak for dinner. I worked hard all year long again. Plan on doing so till I'm 99. And then gone fishing the rest of my days. Am 55 and so hardly there.

    December 31, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
  25. chri§§y

    Means lover of horse shat ya mean!

    December 31, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
  26. The Penragon

    If we are going to give to them later we need to gang up against them right now. (This is way over your heads, ladies. So Stfu)

    December 31, 2014 at 7:54 pm |
  27. Philip

    It is getting very difficult for me to send funds via Western Union and Money Gram to Agboola in Nigeria. Am being harassed by them thinking I am financing terrorist rather than one fine young man..

    December 31, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
    • Philip

      A cell phone that costs $30 bucks American here costs $140 US dollars in Nigeria. The squeeze is on. Wring them out for every penny you greedy f'ing Americans.

      December 31, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
  28. Philip

    Where is my gay friend superman. I miss him.

    December 31, 2014 at 8:04 pm |
    • Philip

      Superman is not gay. Everyone knows this about him, Rupert.

      December 31, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
  29. Philip

    Bye. Going to UFO blog..ttyl

    December 31, 2014 at 8:10 pm |
  30. Philip

    Happy Few Years

    December 31, 2014 at 8:16 pm |
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