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. rupert

    BWA Philip KMA

    December 31, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
  2. chri§§y

    Amen @ rupert! Thank you!

    December 31, 2014 at 9:27 pm |
  3. chri§§y

    Melissa thanks you too @ rupert and she said "he must be a nice boy mom"! She also is the one who told me philip
    When he first started tossing that c word around! 😉

    December 31, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
  4. dazzle

    @chrissy, very good.

    December 31, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
  5. rupert

    Hi chrissy. That was a troll. Have not been able to post because of the situation Melissa and you are facing. I am extremely sorry. Please chrissy, tell Melissa I said hi.

    December 31, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
  6. rupert

    P.S. I will not post tonight nor tomorrow. Any posts under my name will not be by me and the I-Con will differ.

    December 31, 2014 at 10:16 pm |
    • poopert

      OK! I'll take it from here uncle rupert. I mean dad. 🙂

      January 1, 2015 at 2:03 am |
  7. chri§§y

    Lol @ rupert she read it for herself and said backatcha nice guy!

    December 31, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
  8. Philip

    3-2-1 Honk honk hootie hoot. Happy Few Years evabuddy

    January 1, 2015 at 2:00 am |
  9. Want to learn French?

    Hippy Naw Now. Oui oui.

    January 1, 2015 at 2:06 am |
  10. Want to learn German, then?

    Sheesh. TJI was crowded on New Years. What gives? Bitte.

    January 1, 2015 at 2:16 am |
  11. Observer

    Perhaps, its yot philip, that has driven everyone away from this blog! Look how bad you blrobeat Chrissy for her pain over the final days with her beloved daughter! I know you wish to think you're perfect but i can assure you that you are anything but. You believe you know it all about everything, but truth be known you are a very stupid man who is generally too drunk to listen to anyone elses point of view, much less comprehend what they've said! Seek help!

    January 1, 2015 at 7:03 am |
    • yot philip

      Look at how bad you are brow beating Philip, Obnerver.

      January 1, 2015 at 11:07 am |
  12. Observer

    I meant to say browbeat Chrissy.

    January 1, 2015 at 7:05 am |
  13. chri§§y

    Well thank you so much @ Joey! Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

    January 1, 2015 at 10:30 am |
  14. Philip

    What scripture did I quote that browbeat @Chrissy?

    January 1, 2015 at 10:39 am |
    • Philip

      ...the one about Jesus teaching that dead people are sleeping while priest and preacher claim dead people are actually still alive and burning in "hell" or done gone straight to heaven?

      January 1, 2015 at 10:41 am |
  15. Philip

    Have any of you ever heard of a funeral where the priest admitted the dead guy was an Italian crime family mob boss and so no doubt still alive...not alive and burning in hell? Me neither.
    What's a guy have to do to deserve never dying but being preserved alive forever burning in hell? Say something you don't like on a news blog?

    January 1, 2015 at 10:49 am |
  16. Sceptic

    Surrrre it's going to rain, Noah. Surrre. Seek help old dude.

    January 1, 2015 at 10:52 am |
  17. Nobserver

    Stop talking about what Jesus taught, Philip. It's making Chrissy's brow beat.

    January 1, 2015 at 10:56 am |
  18. Honest Funeral

    ...and so your husband was a very bad man, Betty. A convicted drug smuggler and abuser of children. And so is no-doubt burning in hell right now. Amen.

    January 1, 2015 at 10:58 am |
  19. Anti-Skeptic

    Honestly. Do Americans give more or take more from tiny little countries filled with starving people. Little tiny countries with armies to small to defend themselves against invading American forces. Tiny little countries that float on oil or are packed with bananas most overly obese Americans crave.

    January 1, 2015 at 11:22 am |
  20. yot philip

    lookit at everyone pretending Philip has cooties and are afraid of getting some. Like small children are modern-day "news bloggers". Throwing little fits daily: Mommy! CNN! Philip said something I don't like hearing. And his troll called me a bad name again. Waaa. Waaa. Waaaa.

    January 1, 2015 at 11:28 am |

    I can't believe CNN doesn't do something about yot philip. He's different than we are and really needs to be kicked out of our church here.

    January 1, 2015 at 11:31 am |
  22. Rev Al Sharp Ton w/Jessie Jackyason

    Sorry, Mabel. Your husband/second cousin isn't really dead. He's still alive! And boining in hella fire foh eva moe.

    January 1, 2015 at 11:44 am |
  23. On the radio just now

    The spreading of STD's (diseases spread by overly-promiscuous Americans) increases each January 1 in the USA. 14% of sezually active Americans report sleeping with someone they wish they hadn't slept with last night. Going to bed with a 9 and waking up with a headache, and a number 1 average American hog lady in bed. Yikes!

    January 1, 2015 at 11:48 am |
    • On the radio just now

      ...coyotes have chewed their own paws off for lesser reasons than a hung-over New Years man waking up and seeing what it was he actually slept with. Omg! I did that? (he says to himself as he slowly slips his arm from beneath it's ugly neck and sneaks out the window)

      January 1, 2015 at 11:52 am |
  24. King Philip of the blogs

    I am master here. Bow down before me, ya'll. Lol

    January 1, 2015 at 11:56 am |
    • King Philip of the blogs

      ...far and away better than Philip and The Huns. A famous band of German "terrorirists" and also the name of my 8th grade homeroom sports and debating team.

      January 1, 2015 at 11:57 am |
  25. Happiness is...

    ...having everyone speechless.

    January 1, 2015 at 11:59 am |
  26. Philip the Debater

    I actually was kicked off of my HS debating team. Out of frustrations voiced by my fellow students. I could take either side of a hot issue, and easily out-debate my peers. I was also kicked out of The Sierra Club. For killing a cow. Really.

    January 1, 2015 at 12:01 pm |
  27. bobcat2u

    He was a widower and she a widow. They had known each other for a number of years being high school classmates and having attended class reunions in the past without fail.
    This 60th anniversary of their class, the widower and the widow made a foursome with two other singles. They had a wonderful evening, their spirits high with the widower throwing admiring glances across the table and the widow smiling coyly back at him.
    Finally, he picked up courage and blurted out, "Will you marry me?"
    After about six seconds of careful consideration, she answered, "Yes ... yes I will!"
    The evening ended on a happy note for the widower. But the next morning he was troubled. Did she say yes? Or did she say no? He couldn't remember. Try as he would, he just could not recall. He went over the conversation of the previous evening, but his mind was blank. He remembered asking the question but for the life of him he could not recall her response. So with fear and trepidation, he picked up the phone and called her.
    First, he explained that he couldn't remember as well as he used to. Then he reviewed the past evening. As he gained a little more courage he then inquired of her, "When I asked if you would marry me, did you say yes or did you say no?"
    "Why you silly man, I said Yes. Yes I will! ... And I meant it with all my heart."
    The widower was delighted. He felt his heart skip a beat.
    Then she continued, "And I am so glad you called because I couldn't remember who asked me!"

    January 1, 2015 at 12:04 pm |
  28. chri§§y

    Philip you have got to be the most revolting man on the planet! I love my daughter more than life itself and for you to make fun of the fact that she has only hours to live is just truly disgusting! I know its impossible for you to love someone that much, other than yourself of course. But could you at least shut up for once and stop spreading that hate of yours around? Damn!

    January 1, 2015 at 12:07 pm |
  29. bobcat2u

    Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades. Over the years they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures. Lately, their activities had been limited to playing cards a few times a week.
    One day when playing cards, one looked at the other and said, "Now don't get mad at me. I know we've been friends a long time, but I just can't think of your name. I've thought and thought, but I can't remember it. Please tell me what your name is."
    Her friend glared at her. For at least three minutes she just stared and glared. Finally she said, "How soon do you need to know?"

    January 1, 2015 at 12:07 pm |
    • Philip

      Old doormat housewives oftentimes formed coffee clutches back in the 1960's. 4 old ladies sitting around all day playing Rummy. A distraction from what was really going on.

      January 1, 2015 at 12:12 pm |
      • bobcat2u

        And Happy New Year to you as well.

        January 1, 2015 at 12:19 pm |
  30. Philip the Debater

    I was also kicked out of HS, yeah. Expelled. For attacking one of the 3 gangsta wannabe's who rayped my sister Judy. The prettiest girl in school, by far. She made other girls look ugly. I actually attacked all three. One is missing an eye. The other two have scars on their faces, big fat nasty looking white scars on black faces. And one of them has a limp to remind him not to raype white girls with brothers who will kick your ass.

    January 1, 2015 at 12:09 pm |
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