Your giving is as unique as you are.

At the beginning of the London Lockdown in April 2020, I was contacted by The Big Issue to take out a magazine subscription. Their vendors were losing the opportunity to sell at their pitches. The subscription would help with vendors’ livelihoods and continue revenue streams for The Big Issue. It seems like a very important “yes” for me.

Coincidentally, I had also just checked out the book Letters to My Younger Self from the library’s online system. The book, based on the column in every Big Issue, present the most important moments shaping people’s lives. Over the course of my Big Issue subscription, it became the feature I most looked forward to reading. This could be because I’m rather nosy, but I also enjoy a good self-reflection. I like hearing about what people would have told their 16-year-old selves because it makes me ask myself the same question.

During this same time, I was also participating in, thinking about, and digesting loads of information about philanthropic giving in a time of COVID19. I read everything my brain could possibly handle on giving in emergencies and disasters. I have lists upon lists of efforts that people and organisations were taking to grasp how philanthropists could thoughtfully, but quickly, funnel their donations. I created a resource to distill some of this information into top-level tips.

The pace of COVID19 philanthropic guidance was overwhelming. Necessary, but loud and overwhelming.

In the hecticness of lockdown, I found time to write and share a daily diary with two friends. The reflection time, done each day while putting my son to bed, was invaluable. It was my only quiet moment of the day. I got to think, reflect, brain dump. And I wanted to create this moment for my philanthropic giving as well. (Working in philanthropy does not make you immune to questions of where and how should I give? It does not necessarily make it easier.)

I wanted to create a resource that would be valuable when people had time to take a step back. When there is a moment to distill thoughts had during lockdown. Something to satisfy a craving to put reflections on to paper. I thought a Letter to My Younger Self might help me to think about my own giving priorities.

Why? To remind yourself of importantexperiences, people, and values.

I created and am now sharing, A Letter to My Younger Self resource as a way to slow down our thoughts on giving. Maybe in and through COVID19 our priorities and values have changed? Maybe we have seen something more clearly? Maybe we’ve remembered something which we held dear but have forgotten?

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Download a free PDF copy here.

It seemed appropriate to share this resource now, September – the start of a new school year – the chance to breathe for just a minute before a new lockdown? For me, A Letter to My Younger Self is an exercise that I can return to time and again. Remembering a little more about what matters to me, about the events which shaped me, and about what I would tell my 16-year-old self about 2020.

Your giving is as unique as you are.

Originally posted on LinkedIn (September 9, 2020)

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