The Law of Abundance: Living a More Joyful and Charitable Life

Mark Twain once said, “If you want love and abundance in your life, give it away.” What this simple and beautiful quote indicates to me is that love, abundance and full joy isn’t a solo sport–to have love and abundance in our lives we must share it with others. This is the law of abundance. It seems counter intuitive but it’s not, which is why the law of abundance is such an interesting topic to discuss and learn about. The law of abundance isn’t always called the law of abundance. It is referred to sometimes as the “law of giving” or just simply “abundance.” Occasionally it can be explained as the “blessing of giving” and in religious groups it’s known as “you reap what you sow” whether for good or bad. In some circles that’s called Karma. But the law of abundance is about so much more than bad people getting their comeuppance or getting revenge.

The law of abundance is like the overall term for a cycle of giving. You give, you get. In layman’s terms that’s what it’s all about. However, it’s not as simple as that and it’s not as though if you give to someone, they will give to you. The law of abundance is about what God gives to you, or the universe, or fate or whatever you believe in. That being or entity gives to you something for being willing to give something. The law of abundance is a beautiful law that can bless our lives if only we lived it.

In this four week course I will go over several topics that concern the law of abundance. In week one I will share four basic principles of the law of abundance. The second week I will talk about how the law of abundance is needed and why. In the third week I will discuss abundance versus scarcity mindset and how we can overcome the scarcity mindset and live in abundance. Finally, in the fourth week I will discuss the blessings and scientific results of the law of abundance. Each week I will also have some “homework” or tips and ideas on how to implement the law of abundance in your own life. 

Four Basic Principles of Living the Law of Abundance 

I want to share with you four basic principles of living the law of abundance. Each of these principles are fundamental and essential principles to living the law of abundance and living an abundant life. 

Understanding: The first of the four principles is understanding. This is important because understanding comes before serving. You have to understand that there is a need before you can fill that need. Therefore, having an understanding of a need is the best place to start. One thing that is important for us to understand is that there is a need. Whether you are rich or poor, black or white, old or young there is always a need. Whether that’s love, friendship, money, a listening ear, or just a smile during a hard day. Everyone needs something. 

But understanding isn’t just about being able to recite facts about that person or being able to have a good conversation. Understanding is about empathy. In Stephen R. Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People he shares a section called “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood” which is a principle of empathetic communication. He issues the idea that the best way to understand someone is to use empathetic listening. Most of us listen to respond instead of listening to understand. He uses the example of going to an optometrist and instead of diagnosing the problem the doctor gives you his glasses and explains that he has been using them for years and they have worked for him so they should work for you. That’s prescribing before you understand. 

Which is why understanding is an important first step in living the law of abundance. How can we help (or prescribe) or even give if we don’t understand the need? Covey also goes on to say that empathetic listening is about listening to the things that are sometimes unspoken. He states that, “Empathetic listening involves much more than registering, reflecting, or even understanding the words that are said. Communications experts estimate, in fact, that only 10 percent of our communication is represented by the words we say. Another 30 percent is represented by our sounds, and 60 percent by our body language. In empathetic listening, you listen with your ears, but you also, and more importantly, listen with your eyes and with your heart. You listen for feeling, for meaning. You listen for behavior. You use your right brain as well as your left. You sense, you intuit, you feel.” So you don’t just listen with your ears, empathetic listening is about looking at and trying to understand the whole picture. This is a good explanation as to why there are so many rifts and upsets on social media, because communication is limited not only by what we don’t hear, it’s also limited because we can’t see or watch for those little facets of listening that help us to truly understand each other. 

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Therefore, as a good first step to living the law of abundance, start with learning how to listen to those around us and listening first to understand the need. Then we can help and give in a way that will truly benefit those who need it and help us to more fully live the law of abundance. 

Love: The second basic principle of living the law of abundance is love. This seems pretty vague and sort of obvious at the same time. However, love is something that is an essential part of taking care of each other and frankly, life, and therefore should be included in this list. I know psychologists, psychiatrists, theorists, analysts, anthropologists, and pretty much every poet in the history of the universe has tried to define love since the beginning of time. I won’t pretend to know that I hold the secret. There are obviously different kinds of love and different levels of love within those kinds. But when it comes to living the law of abundance and love, I would say this kind of love is more along the lines of charity. But charity isn’t just about giving or donations. It’s about love. The two go hand in hand. I could donate a whole houseful of stuff to Goodwill but that doesn’t mean I feel love for the people who purchase my stuff. Usually those kinds of acts are about me cleaning out my junk that I’ve collected. Does that mean it’s a worthless act? No, it’s still giving and giving still has worth even if you don’t know the person you’re giving to. But giving old stuff I don’t use anymore is not necessarily living the law of abundance. There’s so much more to it than that. 

For this discussion on love, I want to steer clear of the cliche, mimicked, repetitive and overused theories involving love and how to love those you serve. Therefore, I’d like to talk about a kind of service that maybe isn’t what you’d think of when you think of service or charity–customer service. While I don’t want to focus so much on the “customer” aspect of customer service, I would like to focus on the tools of good customer service and how we can use those same tools in loving those we serve. Focusing on customer service is a tricky area, I know, because there is such a stigma on business and companies and usually when we think of giving and charity, the businessman isn’t the first line drawn. As well, there are many businesses out there that are just worshiping the almighty dollar and do have the worst customer service. But for a business, a smart business to stay in business, they have to remember that their customer service is what matters most. How they treat those who keep them in business is essential to staying in business. Because we care about how we are treated, even when buying a simple pair of pants or even a car. 

Take for instance, this story from American Express Company. Written by Sandi Krakowski, she talks about her experience buying a car from a local dealership. She states, “I recently bought two cars from the same local car dealership, two months apart. The first purchase was like doing business with a longtime friend. The staff welcomed us, and everybody made sure we were taken care of. The salesman queried us about our needs and preferences, explained features and options we weren’t aware of, and answered our questions. We felt like our purchase was the most important one of the day. And at no point did we feel pressured. When it came time to buy another car, the decision about where to buy was easy!” So instead of being focused on making the sale the salesman focused on the needs of the customer. They helped Sandi and her family feel as though they were cared for and even loved because he took the time to figure out her needs and wants. He tried to understand where they were coming from and helped make suggestions he thought would help based on that information. 

Although some might see it as counter productive maybe it would be beneficial to use the great examples in commerce to help in service. Charity is a transaction. There may not be an exchange of funds necessarily, but there is an exchange of goods. Think about the best experience you had with customer service. I know we all have our bad stories and our bad experiences, it happens. But think about the good ones. What was good about it? Why did you feel appreciated? What did it make you want to do? If something as materialistic as purchasing a car, like Krakowski’s example, can make us feel like friends instead of customer and salesman, what worked in that customer service transaction? 

For me, I had a great experience with Apple. One day I couldn’t get a song to play on my iTunes. I tried everything on their website help section and it didn’t matter what I did, this song would not play. I called their customer service for help and within a little bit of time the song was playing again. As a kind gesture for my trouble they gave me four free credits for songs. The woman I talked to was kind, asked me all the right questions and made me feel like my concerns were being met. I loved the customer service so much that I never stop telling people and I want more songs to break just so I can call again. They have my business. 

Isn’t that interesting? Just because they were kind and understanding, I will shop with them again. That’s what a transaction of service could use–customer service. Great businesses know that they are there to serve the customer. Let’s use that thinking and remember that we are here to serve our fellow man; it’s one of our greatest responsibilities. Love is as important in customer service just as love is important in service. How can you truly help someone if you don’t love them, if you aren’t kind to them, if you don’t understand their needs? 

Again, I don’t want the focus here to be about the business. But I want to focus on the tools that businesses use in customer service that help create the great experiences that make us want to keep coming back. Tools, such as listening, understanding, kindness (even in the face of anger because let’s be honest, we all have yelled at someone in customer service who we knew didn’t deserve it), and help. If we can implement some of these tools into how we treat those we serve, then we can show that we love them.

A lot of the tactics of good customer service aren’t new and aren’t just practices used in businesses. They are good principles that can be used in any area of our lives. We could use a little more kindness and understanding in our world. That’s all service really is–kindness and understanding. We focus on their needs, or their feelings, or their struggle. In that way we can learn how to help them best. So maybe it’s time service take a page from customer service and put the people we serve first. That’s how we can show them that we love them, that we care about their needs, and that we truly want to help. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Where there is love there is life.” So let’s love. 

Giving: The next and third principal of living the law of abundance is a pretty obvious one because you can’t have the law of abundance without the principle of giving. It’s like cookies and milk or pie and ice cream or maybe I’m just hungry. But the two go together like Sandy and Danny, they go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong. Tell me about it, stud. So having one without the other just wouldn’t be possible. To truly live the law of abundance we must give. 

There are so many ways that we can give every single day. Some bigger and some smaller. And there’s no limit to the amount of times we can give in a day and there’s no limit to the amount of people we can help in a day. I mean, obviously there is a personal limit of what you can handle. But if you can help seven people in a day, do it. The greatest thing is that we don’t have to limit ourselves in giving as long as we can feasibly, physically, and financially help more people, we can. 

Giving also comes in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes giving your clothes away that you don’t use is enough, sometimes a situation requires your time. Like helping a friend move would require your time. Another way to give is an obvious one–money. Giving money is probably the hardest sometimes because money, as they say, makes the world go round. It’s a commodity, it can mean the difference between life and death sometimes. But giving, even financially is a big part of living the law of abundance. 

As I stated there are so many different ways that we can give. Giving doesn’t have to be just giving money or clothing and sometimes it doesn’t even have to come from you directly. Ron Lynch is a great example of a great and unique way to give. Lynch, a mail carrier in Sandy, Utah was delivering the mail when he noticed a young man starved for reading material. Mathew Flores, desperate for something to read, was using advertisements and newsletters that he found in the junkmail bin. Lynch was determined to find better reading material and shared a short post on Facebook, hoping to get a few donations from friends and family. However, they got more than they expected. According to the Deseret News article, “Lynch shared a picture of Mathew on Facebook, hoping a few of his friends would have some books to spare. The post spread worldwide, and even before Lynch arrived at Mathew’s home Sunday with a box of reading material, strangers who had read the post had already sent their contributions.” For days their doorbell was ringing with contributions from places as far away as the UK, Australia, and India. 

Lynch and Flores’ story is a beautiful example of someone personally giving something to someone else and the blessing of this giving experience has touched many around the world. Lynch sacrificed his time to make sure that Flores has something to read. That is what giving is all about. Giving is about the other person, their needs and how we can help them. Would this story be as wonderful and touching if Lynch had just given Flores some more advertisements to read? Or if he’d given him some clothes, even though it was books he needed? Obviously not. The blessing of giving goes beyond just handing stuff over that we don’t need or just because we want to seem nice. Giving is about understanding the need and giving from a place of love. 

Receiving: This fourth and last principle of living the law of abundance is kind of surprising because the law of abundance is about giving not receiving, right? Wrong. The law of abundance is about both. The law of abundance can’t work if people are unwilling to receive the gifts or blessings they are given by others, can it? No it can’t. We must set aside our pride and graciously receive the help that we are given. Sometimes that can be hard. 

It takes putting pride aside and allowing yourself to be vulnerable and open to help. Vulnerability isn’t weakness, it’s about wholehearted living. In an audio book called “The Power of Vulnerability” given by Brene Brown, we learn that vulnerability is about being able to open yourself up to people and accept that sometimes we don’t have all the answers and sometimes we need help. But also that it’s okay to be vulnerable with people. It’s how we make connections and how we feel a deep sense of love and belonging. She states, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” We all feel the need to belong and to feel as though we matter. But to do that, to make connections we must be vulnerable. She states, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness.” We must be vulnerable to make that connection with others. Accepting help is a huge step in vulnerability. 

When we are in need, when we are struggling, it’s okay for us to ask for help. Those that love us or those that are open to loving us will not mind our vulnerability and will accept us for all that we are. As Dr. Seuss once said, “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Vulnerability is a step in the direction of living a more abundant and fulfilling life. We must be vulnerable to accept help when we need it. That is how we live the law of abundance. 

So to review, the four basic principles of the law of abundance are first, understanding. We must seek to understand those we serve before we serve them to truly see the need. The second principle is love. We must love those we serve. Truly living the law of abundance isn’t about just giving stuff or doing things because we feel obligated to, it requires love. The third principle is giving, even in small ways, giving is a basic principle of the law of abundance as wet is to water. Last but not least, the final principle of the law of abundance is receiving. To receive we must be vulnerable and willing to ask for help. For the law of abundance to work, for giving to work, for love to work, for understanding to work we must be open to accepting the cyclical flow of the law of abundance. If we can’t accept help and love, others can’t give. These four principles are like the fantastic four of the law of abundance. A team of principles that can change the world if only we live the law of abundance.  

Homework: I would suggest trying to do one thing each day that hits on one of the four principles. For the first principle, have a conversation with someone and try to practice empathetic listening. Pay attention to body language, sounds, behavior, and feelings you have while talking to them. For the second principle, do something nice for someone to show that you love them. Serve them in some way, even if it’s small. For principle three and another day, look for a way to give to someone. Whether it’s giving to fill a spiritual need, a physical need, or an emotional need, what is something you can do to give to another human? 

As a homework assignment for the last principle I would suggest listening to Brene Brown’s book The Power of Vulnerability. Not only will you learn about vulnerability. But you may also learn so much more about how to live wholeheartedly or live more abundantly. If listening to the book is not possible, maybe just do some studying on Brown’s research on shame and vulnerability. Then look for opportunities to receive help or allow someone to give to you.  

The Need for the Law of Abundance 

September 11, 2001 two planes were flown into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, one was flown into the Pentagon, and one crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania — 2,977 innocent people died that day and more than 6,000 were injured. December 26, 2004 a tsunami tore through at least eleven countries. 100 foot waves caused by the second largest earthquake ever recorded, the Indian Ocean tsunami claimed the lives of nearly 230,000 people who were either missing, killed or presumed dead. August 29, 2005 a category 3 hurricane, infamously named Katrina, blasted through the Gulf Coast, causing damage from Florida to Texas. But when the levees failed, it was New Orleans that saw the most catastrophic results of the storm. Hurricane Katrina covered 80 percent of the city in floodwaters for weeks after and claimed the lives of 1,836 innocent people. 

January 12, 2010 a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the humble country of Haiti, killing what is roughly estimated as 100,000 to 300,000 people, the total number still unknown and debated, and leaving 1.6 million people homeless. December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut a disturb teen fatally shot 20 young children and six adult staff members of Sandy Hook Elementary school causing what was one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. August 17, 2017, tied with 2005’s Hurricane Katrina as the costliest cyclone on record, Hurricane Harvey hit land. It was the first major hurricane since 2005’s Wilma to arrive in the United States. Hurricane Harvey caused 107 confirmed deaths. October 1, 2017 a crazed man opened gunfire on a group of concertgoers on the Las Vegas strip attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival. After firing 1,100 rounds into the crowd a crazed gunman left 58 people dead and 851 injured. It is now recognized as one of the deadliest mass shootings in the history of the United States.

In the past seventeen years, these were some of the most notable and influential news stories. Every day, we read in the news of other, less known, yet still heartbreaking tales of tragedy. It seems at every turn, every second of the day, in every part of the world there is something to find sorrow in–pain that fills the soul to breaking, heartache that no medicine can cure. These tragedies, although different in their source and each one unlike the other in the pain that was caused, all contain one basic truth–we need each other. Need with a capital N. We need something better, greater, more profound. Ram Dass, an American spiritual teacher and former clinical psychologist, and academic once said of life, “We’re all just walking each other home.” 

What a beautiful and powerful image, and it mirrors the sentiment of a common saying and poem that you may recognize; No Man is an Island. The poem written by John Donne (1572-1631) an English poet, masterfully paints an image of what this life is all about. 

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” 

No man is an island. We are all “involved in mankind.” We should have each other’s six, we should be there to hold each other up. We need each other and we have needs that should be filled by each other. Whether that’s friendship, a helping hand, a good laugh, or someone to help carry the load, we have needs that should and could be met by each other. 

William George Jordan, an American editor, essayist, and lecturer, wrote a book called, The Crown of Individuality in which he shares what he calls “the hungers of life”– four basic needs or hungers that we have as humans. Those hungers are known as heart-hunger, mind-hunger, body-hunger, and soul-hunger. He states, “Hunger is the voice of a void. It is Nature demanding her rights. It is the restless insistent cry of an instinct, clamoring to be satisfied. There are four great hungers of life, –body-hunger, mind-hunger, heart-hunger, and soul-hunger. They are all real; all need recognition; all need feeding.” These hungers are a basic human need that all need to be fed. 

I do not intend to diminish such complicated pain and tragedies as shared above, to a simple answer. There is so much more to the ‘why’ in a lot of them. Nature cannot be reasoned. However, I do believe that if we had a little more of these needs or hungers met, tragedies in general would diminish significantly. 

Jordan goes on to say that one of the most important hungers to feed and the one we’re all starving in, is heart-hunger. He states, “The claim of a hungry body has right of way over all other needs. It requires no credentials, no argument, no advocate. It holds a first mortgage on the sympathy and aid of humanity. But the hunger for food while being most irrepressible, most immediately compelling, has no monopoly on the hungers of life. In the world to-day there are in reality more people starving for love than for bread. There is more heart-hunger than body-hunger– more unsatisfied yearning for sympathy, affection, companionship, kindness, and appreciation than for food.” The heart-hunger need, the need for love and appreciation, the need for love and belonging, or even just simple kindness is most needed today. Right now. 

The greatest thing about the law of abundance is that this law fills those needs. All of them. Because the law of abundance is so versatile, you can live the law of abundance by giving blood, sharing time with a friend or a stranger, donating necessary items to those in need. To live the law of abundance and fill these hunger needs we can donate food to the body-hungry, we can provide funding for scholarships to the mind-hungry, we can be a shoulder to cry on for the heart-hungry, and we can pray with those who are soul-hungry and in need of spiritual lifting. If we are blessed with an abundance of something and share it, that is living the law of abundance.

Many people are already living the law of abundance. But imagine for a moment if everyone lived it. What could be accomplished? What pain could be alleviated? How could the world be changed in a positive way? Take one moment, one simple second and look at the world around you. There is good to be had here. We just need to find it, or build it, or create it by living the law of abundance. If we’re all just walking each other home let’s make sure we all make it home safely. Because we are all involved in mankind. 

Suffering man covering his face by handkerchief while his counselor giving him glass of water

Homework: I would suggest finding someone with a need and discover what that need is. There are many, many people in the world who have needs. So find someone and discover their need. If you can, fill it. Sometimes it may not be specifically that need but something smaller to help alleviate that need. For instance, if someone is struggling financially but you don’t really have the funds to give them money, find a way that you can alleviate that suffering. Bring them dinner one night, offer to watch their kids for free so they can have a night alone, send them a message of encouragement, or say “hi” with a smile to brighten their day. For the law of abundance to work, sometimes that’s all it takes. 

Abundance vs. Scarcity Mindset: How to Live in Abundance

In Medium, an online magazine containing articles on pretty much any topic under the sun, former race car driver Rafael Sarandeses shares his perspective on the abundance vs scarcity mindset. He tells a story about his son sharing a favorite toy and how that simple act of kindness from a child reminded him of the power of giving. Giving can create a more fulfilled life for everyone. But to give we must overcome the mindset of scarcity. Sarandeses shares his thoughts on scarcity and abundance, he says, “The paradigm of scarcity is one in which you consider life to be one big pie. A global zero-sum game. If someone takes a piece, then there is less pie for everybody else. Your gain is my loss. People in this mindset are defensive. Worried about protecting what they have more than they are willing to grow out of their self-imposed boundaries to achieve more. 

People living in an abundance mindset believe, instead, that there is enough out there for everybody. That a partnership may be better than going solo. [ . . . ] That decision making, profits and good ideas are worth sharing to build something bigger than themselves.” So a scarcity mindset is believing that there just isn’t enough in the world for everyone and if I gain, you lose and vice versa. But an abundance mindset is understanding that there is enough for everyone in the world, your gain is my gain, and because we are giving and loving, we both win. 

According to researcher Brene Brown, we live in a scarcity culture. We go to bed thinking we didn’t get enough done that day, we wake up thinking we didn’t get enough sleep, and then we go throughout our day believing we don’t have enough time to get things done. This is a scarcity mindset. It’s also what Brown calls our culture of ‘never enough’. I’m gonna refrain from singing The Greatest Showman popular song “Never Enough” just know that it’s going through my head right now.  

Continually, we live in a culture where every second of our day is spent believing that there isn’t enough. Brown also talks about how this culture seeps into our own belief about ourselves. That we constantly fall into the false idea that we aren’t beautiful enough, strong enough, brave enough, or smart enough. Of course many things are to blame for this mindset. Media, social media, Hollywood, the commercial industry, all of these things make money off of us believing the idea that we aren’t enough or that there isn’t enough for everyone. Scarcity mindset feeds off of our fears and to fully live an abundant lifestyle we must overcome the scarcity mindset. 

So what is something we can do to overcome the scarcity mindset? Well, it comes down to a principle that many people have pointed out. It’s a religious principle but also a simple principle that many people practice as a way to recognize the abundance in our lives–count your blessings. When we take the time to stop and look at what we actually have, we can see how blessed we are and how much abundance exists in our lives. 

In his website MichaelHyatt.com, Michael Hyatt, author, speaker, and former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, shares this same idea of how to overcome the ‘perceived’ scarcity mindset. In an article titled Perceived Scarcity in a World of Outrageous Abundance he approaches just how much the scarcity mindset can rob us of living abundantly. He states, “Regardless of our culture of perceived scarcity–or our individual circumstances–we all can point to assets, blessings, and gifts in our lives. That’s why I say perceived scarcity. It’s not real. Yes, there are a million things we don’t have. But there are a million that we do. If we can see through the right lens, we have all been given more than we can possibly ask or imagine. That lens is called gratitude, and it’s a lens that amplifies everything good in our lives instead of causing it to shrink to insignificance. While it’s the easiest thing to fall into a scarcity mentality, gratitude helps us cultivate a mindset of abundance.” To summarize, what Hyatt is saying is that if we just take a second to look around us through a lens of gratitude we will be able to see the abundance. It’s like putting on those glasses that you used to get in the kid’s cereal when you were younger. You couldn’t see the hidden message on the back of the cereal box until you put on those special glasses. Well, that’s looking at your life through the gratitude lens. Suddenly the message isn’t that there isn’t enough or that we don’t have or aren’t enough, the hidden message comes through loud and clear–there is enough. We are enough. We have enough.  

Looking through a lens of gratitude is also a similar idea to getting some perspective. Sometimes as humans we can have a tendency to lose perspective on what is real and what isn’t. Therefore, it becomes necessary to gain a little perspective. For instance, with the trials we go through in our lives, sometimes the pain and heartache can feel so deep and suffocating but then when we compare the bad things that have happened to us to the good things, we see that life isn’t as bad as we think. This is not to diminish the pain that we are going through. But it can help us to gain some perspective. 

This is something that UCLA Medical School psychiatrist Dr Stephen Marmer addresses in a recent video he made for Prager University. In this video titled Building Resilience: 5 Ways to a Better Life, Dr Marmer establishes five ways that we can become more resilient. The first thing he suggests is to first get some perspective. He states, “First, get some perspective. Step back and assess your situation with as much objectivity as you can. ‘How bad is this problem?’ ‘Have I overstated it?’ Sometimes my patients think an unhappy occurrence is much more serious than it really is — usually because it’s amplified by evoking a painful childhood issue. Often getting perspective is as simple as asking yourself this question: ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen?’ Usually you’ll discover the worst thing isn’t that bad – and isn’t even likely to happen.” So we can see that gaining perspective on a situation, as Dr Marmer states, helps us to be more resilient and can also help us to overcome the scarcity mindset.  

The second way that we can be more resilient that Dr Marmer talks about is comparison. Not comparing our stuff to other people’s stuff but comparing the good in our own life to the bad in our own life–also known as looking through a lens of gratitude. He says, “Second, compare the undeserved bad things that have happened to you with the unearned good things that have happened to you. When I ask my patients to do this, they invariably conclude that the unearned good in their life far outweighs the undeserved bad. I’d say the ratio is at least 10 to 1. In my own case, I didn’t earn the incredibly good fortune of my grandparents moving to America, or that life-saving penicillin was available to me in my childhood when I was sick. I could go on and on. And so could you. In light of this, maybe things aren’t so bad after all. In fact, they’re probably pretty good.” In summary, he states that to be more resilient we must weigh the good unearned things in our life to the underserved bad. So the best way to be resilient is to count our blessings, focus on the good and compare the good to the bad. Without a doubt the good will outweigh the bad. 

Therefore, counting our blessings (i.e. looking through a lens of gratitude, i.e. comparing the good to the bad) will help us to be more resilient and overcome the scarcity mindset which will help us to live a more abundant life. 

However, having gratitude isn’t just about having an attitude of gratitude as is so often the catchy phrase people share. I believe that to live a fully abundant life, we shouldn’t just have an attitude of gratitude but actually live gratitude. This is something that Brene Brown talks about in her book The Power of Vulnerability. She addresses the idea that many of us can say we have an attitude of gratitude but do we actually practice gratitude. An example that she gives is Yoga. She comically shares that she can have an attitude of Yoga–for example; she has a Yoga mat, Yoga shoes, and even lives in Yoga pants but she doesn’t actually practice Yoga. This is how having an attitude of gratitude is different than actually practicing gratitude. 

In a video interview that Brene Brown did for The Center for Spirituality and Healing, Brown talks a little more about the difference between having an attitude of gratitude verses practicing gratitude. She says, “When I say practice gratitude, I don’t mean kind of like the attitude of gratitude or feeling grateful. I mean practicing gratitude. These folks shared in common a tangible gratitude practice. They either kept gratitude journals, some of them did interesting things like at one, two, three, four, like at 12:34 everyday they said something out loud that they were grateful for.” Talking about the people from her research who were practicing gratitude, Brown shares some simple, yet effective ways that people practice gratitude. She goes on, “One of the things that we do, like we say grace at dinner. So now, after grace we go around and everyone in my family says something that they are grateful for.” To summarize Brene Brown, practicing gratitude means doing something tangible every day. 

Getting ourselves out of the scarcity mindset isn’t going to be easy. It will take work. We are pummeled every second of every minute of every day in our lives by it. When we watch TV, when we listen to music (sorry Loren Allred), in the stores we shop, even driving passed billboards. Scarcity mindset is everywhere and it’s tempting us to fall prey to it’s trap. However, if we want to live an abundant life, a truly abundant life, we must overcome that scarcity mindset. The law of abundance is a wonderful thing but there is no room for scarcity within it. 

Homework: I think it would be essential for us to practice gratitude. There are many ways to do this and you can find the best one that works for you. But some great examples on how to practice gratitude this week are set an alarm on your phone each day to remind you to say or think of something you are grateful for, whether it’s something that happened that day or something for which you’re just grateful. Another way is to start a gratitude journal. Make sure to set some kind of reminder to write in it until you create the habit of writing but take a moment each day to write something down. Or when you feel yourself getting into the scarcity mindset, count to ten and then look at the issue through the lens of gratitude, weigh the bad and the good (maybe even writing some things down), and gain some perspective.

Author:  Ashley Christensen

Sources: 

Source for principle 1: Covey, Stephen R. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Free Press, 1989. Print. 

Source for principle 2: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/why-showing-your-customers-the-love-is-more-important-than-the-sale/ 

Source for principle 3: Source: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865633288/Sandy-mailmans-plea-for-books-gets-worldwide-response.html 

Source: Jordan, William George. The Crown of Individuality. New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1909. Print. https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Crown_of_Individuality.html?id=kDIYAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button#v=onepage&q=63&f=false 

Source for principle 4: Brown, Brene. The Power of Vulnerability. Narrated by Brene Brown, audiobook, Sounds True, 2012. Audible.com 

Rafael Sarandeses quote: https://betterhumans.coach.me/a-guide-to-the-science-of-giving-ba007d9304ff 

Michael Hyatt quote:  https://betterhumans.coach.me/a-guide-to-the-science-of-giving-ba007d9304ff 

Dr Stephen Marmer quote: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPMqMJMiBiA 
Dr Brene Brown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IjSHUc7TXM

Infinite Vision

In all locations, places, and spaces around the world there is without a doubt tragedy occurring. If there isn’t anything occurring now, then there has been in the past or there’s a high possibility that there will be in the future. Tragedy is many things and doesn’t always have to be big events like the ones you may be thinking of now. They can range from things like the devastating disaster that’s happening in Hawaii to a 7-year-old little girl getting a broken ankle from a bike ride. Here are three stories of people that turned their underlying disaster into something good in hopes of making the world a better place.

Haircuts for The Homeless

This is a story that surfaced and rotated around the internet at a quick pace but was never something I personally learned the full story about. Once I did, I felt even more inspired by the act of pure selflessness coming from this man. Nasir Sobhani is a Melbourne barber that takes his days off and gives free haircuts to the homeless to encourage them to build a clean start. Moving away from the surface and looking underneath that act of kindness, he’s also a man that struggled with drug addiction. He found an inspiring love for giving haircuts and states that it turned into his new outlet away from drug use. He urges the homeless people he meets to get clean and shares his own story with them on what can happen when you find something you truly love doing. Now there are several stories of other barbers doing the same thing for the homeless and it’s hard to know which came first, but they all have their own individual inspiring stories.

Positive Impact for Kids

A 12-year-old girl started her own non-profit in the wake of her own tragedy. Leanne is diagnosed with a heart condition that requires regular hospital visits. However, one specific hospital visit inspired her to start something that children all over the world can benefit from. While attending her visit, two teenage volunteers at Duke Children’s Hospital offered her a gift. It was this act of kindness that encouraged Leanne to see the good in the world and feel deeply enough to create her own way to give back. She created the non-profit, Positive Impact for Kids, that buys items to fulfill wish lists for kids in the hospital. Her ultimate goal is to improve the lives of children and adolescents in hospitals and bring them simplistic happiness whenever she can. 

In Loving Memory

aGoodCause - Girl taking donation for fundraising

A fully developed dream was on the edge of seeing its end when a son and friend of many passed away due to suicide. That dream was quickly picked up and spread worldwide with the loving grace of his family to help him finish what he started. The brand Taylor created is continued on by his family and now donates 15% to suicide prevention and mental health awareness. Taylor’s family wanted to continue this legacy for him and make sure that Taylor will always be remembered for who he was and what he loved to do. His brand is set to truly bring awareness to the tragedy that can happen within all families and the company now hopes to be completely community minded. He always wanted his brand to be philanthropic and his family continually carries that out for him in his loving memory.

Author: Shylee Wheeler

References

“Badass Barber Gives Free Haircuts to Homeless While Battling His Own Addiction.” Bored Panda, boredpanda.com/homeless-haircuts-drug-addiction-street-barber-nasir-sobhani/.

“Get Involved.” Positive Impact for Kids,
positiveimpactforkids.org/.

“Mission Statement.” Infinite Vision Clothing, ivclothing1.myshopify.com/pages/mission-statement.

Top 5 Best Fundraising Websites

Top 5 Best Fundraising Websites

I recently completed an in depth research to find the best of the best in fundraising platforms.  There are numerous companies that offer fundraising platforms, but the five reported in this article, in my professional opinion, were hands-down the best of the best.  The information I discovered proved to be very powerful. I am choosing to share this extremely valuable information for free – with no catches – because I wish someone would have done the same for me. 

I set out on this adventure, hoping to find a fundraising company that not only offered me the best value for my time and money, but also had superior customer service, a truly secure website, and some excellent “Wows” or extra amenities. I really was looking to see which platform would help me to be the most profitable.

In 2017, an online article was published on the top TWENTY-SIX sites for campaign donations.  While this information is readily available, it was disconcerting to unveil that this information was outdated; in fact,  some of the websites are no longer viable. Plus, it was difficult to determine which fundraising platform was the best for me.  So, now that I’ve done hours of research and I’ve found the top five best fundraising websites I am sharing this knowledge with you. Again, the main requirements that I wanted addressed were trust, affordability, reliability, and results!  

With this in mind, this article is dedicated to the top five current, trending and result centered organizations.  These, again, are the four elements that I used to measure my findings: 1) What are they doing to ensure the security of their users; 2) How they charge fees and what they use the fees for; 3) The effectiveness, professionalism, and timeliness of their customer service; and 4)  Any amenities offered to make the experience even better, easier, and all around more successful.

In each of the four categories, which I deemed most important to those that may use one of these fundraising websites, I ranked these businesses on a scale of 1 to 5.  One means that the company is the worst in that category; and, five means that the company has earned a serious “Wow” and is the industry standard in that category. This linear model allowed me to think objectively about the criterion and see how these leading companies truly compare.  I hope that as you read this, and you critique for yourself, that this will come in handy!


A Good Cause Global

A Good Cause Global, LLC was not the first company I investigated, but it was by far my favorite. This Utah-based company is a growing start-up with lots of promise!  I believe, through my findings, that “A Good Cause” may be the next big name in fundraising!

A Good Cause – Security

At the bottom of the A Good Cause home page, you can see that they have been secured by a third party cybersecurity professional called, Trust Guard.  In my book, this is the cherry on top of the web world. You can never be too careful about the information you put online, and knowing that this site is scanned daily for potential hackers and other malicious folk… well I feel like I can trust them with my funds!  Although this company is only about two years old, I see them quickly becoming a powerhouse in the fundraising industry.


A Good Cause – Fees

In the category of fees, “A Good Cause” was amongst the lowest of all the competitors. They charge a fee for transactions using credit cards.  There is not a company in the world, that I’ve found, who doesn’t do the same.  They only charge 7.4% and $0.30 cents per donation as a payment processing fee.  This comes to a whopping $7.70 for a $100.00 donation.  A Good Cause has the best rates, with no hidden fees, and no request for an additional tip.

A Good Cause – Customer Service

I called their toll free number and was immediately put into contact with a real person.  It happened so fast, that I was truly shocked. They take customer service very seriously.  You can chat with a live person on the phone or via Live Chat. They use live chat services through Rhino Support during business hours, and a 24/7 online support to make sure that their guests have the best experience in the industry!  You can email directly or fill out a support ticket and someone will reach back to you within one business day. In all my years of working with businesses, I have not found a better customer support process.  Additionally, A Good Cause goes above and beyond by offering their guests the option of leaving a rating or review to help provide immediate feedback regarding the effectiveness of their service.  

A Good Cause – Amenities                                                                                              

A Good Cause had some great membership amenities, so I listed them below. I also enjoyed the articles as I perused their website!  They seemed to take a very personal approach, and they had several campaigns on their page that you could make a donation to directly!  It was direct and very simple to make a donation, and I wasn’t manipulated into leaving a tip! 

One area that I think this company should get kudos for is that among the services they offer, they TEACH you how to get the most from your social media platforms.  It’s the only fundraising site, that I have seen, do this! A lot of people might not know how to run a fundraiser on a blog, or on Instagram, or Pinterest. A Good Cause also provides instructions on using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter!  They have earned four stars in the area of Amenities.

Summary for A Good Cause….  I get really picky about giving out high scores, but I just could not find a big fault with A Good Cause! Even as I was writing this, I kept going back to see if I could find some area to lower their scores; BUT I COULDN’T FIND MUCH OF ANYTHING!  So, Siskel and Ebert eat your hearts out. You would have to give A Good Cause a whopping TWO THUMBS UP! FIVE STARS! Scoring high in each of the four areas, A Good Cause got 90% with an 18/20 score on Security, Fees, Service, and Amenities.


The company known as FUNDly platform is easy to use, helpful and scales to any size fundraiser. Individuals can begin on Facebook, or non-profits can begin building their fundraisers on site.  You begin by telling your story and connecting with donors, which is the normal outline for almost every company you may choose. Every fundraising page has a video and photo gallery that’s front and center.  Add your content from Youtube, Vimeo, Facebook or your computer and you will have created an interactive slideshow for your cause.  Fundly has a free mobile app which you can get from the Apple store to make posts from anywhere so you can keep your story going.

One aspect that others don’t have is their Facebook OpenGraph integration.  It automatically broadcasts campaign activity and those who support or even “like” your page show up in activity feeds.

Fundly – Security

Every campaign at Fundly includes the ability to securely process donations through a payment processor called WePay. They also have a secure SSL certification.  They are about average in the area of security, so that’s why they earned three stars.

Fundly – Fees

Fundly offers a variety of payment plans depending on your needs.  Launching is NOT free, but begins at $75.00 per month.  

Fundly platform fee is 4.9% + credit card processing fee 2.9% (Total 7.8%) + $.30/transaction. If it wasn’t for their required monthly fees, Fundly’s fees would be reasonable – slightly worse than some of the other companies we’ve investigated – but reasonable. However, due to the monthly fee it just isn’t very sensible.

Fundly – Customer Service

In the area of service it was found that Fundly has no phone service.  You can email in a question and wait for a response. Compared to the other sites, this is a bit of a let down.  Emails are a slow and unpersonalized way of responding. Today’s patrons, like me and you, expect quicker more reliable way of communication.

Fundly – Amenities

On the website for Fundly there is a wide variety of services to educate and help you navigate the fundraising platform.  Tutorials will lead you step-by-step and they offer weekly podcasts. I couldn’t find another fundraising company with as many and useful amenities.

This gives Fundly an overall score of 13/20 stars, ranking it second overall with a 65% score. They have awesome amenities, but their fees and customer support were simply unacceptable.


The company called, Classy, made the top five list. It is a software company and an online fundraising platform focused on nonprofits. It was founded in 2006, originally to host fundraising events that benefit charities. They changed to a software and services company in 2010, and in 2011, began  focusing on peer-to-peer fundraising, crowdfunding, and marketing automation.

Classy – Security

One thing that stood out to me and was super impressive was that they, like aGoodCause, have Level 1 PCI compliance and security. However, I’m not sure about Malware protection, it does not make mention of this. Classy has earned four stars for Security. 

Classy – Fees

In this category, I believe Classy falls well behind.  I could find no transparency! Almost every page, although graphically eye-catching, asked for you to answer questions, and then be linked to people who would assist.  While this is nice for someone who may be ready to plunge right in, it is disconcerting that you don’t know what you will be charged for these services, let alone how much of a cut they will take from your fundraising.  In the area of fees, they are given only one star.  

Classy – Customer ServiceAs I opened up this site I was immediately drawn to the layout of the page, which shows on the right hand corner that you can request a demo!  I was immediately intrigued, but quickly disappointed that it led to a page where I was asked for a ton of my information and if I “would I like to be put on our blog”.  Then the company would contact me later to set up an appointment for a demo. Upon further perusing, I was drawn to the very bottom of the first page where Classy offered a FREE GUIDE to data-driven fundraising.  I liked how it really sold me on what I could learn! UNFORTUNATELY, clicking the link took me to a separate information collection site where you are encouraged to be contacted, and also to subscribe to their blog.

While looking through their pages, I got a pop-up for talking to a live staff member.  How nice! I asked a question about cost, and the lady that helped me was very nice and answered in a timely manner.  I was impressed that, like aGoodCause, Classy has a live chat service too. For Customer Service, I give them four stars! 

Classy – Amenities

Amenities were varied for Classy.  I was able to find educational support in their blog and archives, but it was not listed easily for viewers to find.

They have a variety of educational tools, but no mobile app, or any indication of updates or whether this is a risk-free site. 

Awarding stars therefore, will be a mix of what is missing and what they have. For amenities, they are given three stars .

Classy earned a total of 12/20 stars for 60%. Other than their fee structure, they were one of my favorites.


The company, Go Fund Me, was the most well known and have been around a long time, but I found several unsettling things that pushed them back to number four on the top five list.   This is probably the most used platform, but I think you’ll be surprised to learn about some of the things I learned about this less than favorable platform.  The Go Fund Me Campaign has been going strong since 2010. They have also acquired other companies such as “You Caring” and “Crowdrise.”

Go Fund Me – Security

Security is of the utmost importance while using online and mobile services.  Go Fund Me does allow you to submit a claim if there is a problem with a donation and offer a donor protection guarantee.  They also will return money to the person, should the claim be awarded. Go Fund Me has been around for almost a decade and processes more fundraising than any of its competitors.  However, for someone that is worried about the security of a business I could not find any sort of website security other than a basic SSL certificate. I would think a company of this magnitude should have a strong website security program, but I could not find any.

Again, I could not find any established security, but their longevity in the industry must mean they’re doing something right.  Overall, for a company that has been around as long as Go Fund Me have, I think they need to step up their game and get a few more stars in this vital category.

gofundme security score

Go Fund Me – Fees

Go Fund Me also claims on its website that it has no fees.  This is a little bit deceiving. Go Fund Me is a for-profit company. There is a 2.9% payment processing fee collected on each donation, along with 30 cents for every donation. That means if you donated $100, Go Fund Me would collect about $3.20. 

The site specifically states that, “Donors are able to leave a voluntary tip when they contribute to a cause on GoFundMe, and these tips allow us to maintain our free platform, continue helping those in need, and pay our dedicated employees.”  What it doesn’t say is that the voluntary tip is automatically defaulted to 10% or higher, and that all donors are asked to pay this. You thought you were making a generous donation, with no fees, for $100? Think again.  You only donated $96.80, but spent $110. That is a difference of about 12%. Its true that you do not have to leave a tip, but they should make you feel like you have to; and, if you’re not paying attention you will leave a 10% or more tip.

gofundme fees 3

Go Fund Me – Customer Service

They claim to have operators on call to advise you 24 hours a day, seven days a week; so that when you get that urge at 3:00 am to start a fundraising campaign, someone will be there to answer your calls.  This is not as pleasing of an experience as it is advertised to be – not by a long shot. Additionally, Go Fund Me has cleverly marketed their workers as “Customer Happiness Agents.” Is it snide to wonder if they had to get training at another giant mogul chain (whose name we shall not mentioned).  Happy meals? Happy agents? It’s just a thought. As I considered what a happiness agent actually does, I decided that I would need to venture out, and actually call the number listed on their website. The question I would ask? “Can you explain the donor program?” 

Here is what happened: First I was sent to a link like the one in the image below. I was hoping that perhaps there was an online chat, as I really wanted to say, “Hello” to one of these Happiness Agents.  The form I filled out led to a second page where I was asked if my question had been answered.

gofundme form
gofund me form

From here, I clicked that I still needed help. I was linked to the next screen, which allowed me to tell them who I was.  My selections dictate whether I got to speak to a live person or not. *Upon filling out the rest of the form, which I will not bother inserting here as I think you can see where this is going, I was sent back to a “did this answer your question?” link. Claiming that you can access their (and I quote this from their site) best-in-class “Customer Happiness” agents [who] will answer your questions, day or night is a far stretch from a computer prompted questionnaire.  Due to the serious headache their process gave me and the unending run-around, they did not earn a very good score. If I could I’d give them a negative score in this category, but that wouldn’t be professional.

gofundme customer service score

Go Fund Me – Amenities

Finally, the amenities of the Go Fund Me site were reviewed.  One thing that really stood out was that you could access the funds immediately.  This is a huge plus for me! As you will see on other sites, some companies don’t give out anything if the goal is not met!  Another bonus, they have an easy to access APP for your mobile devices. Plus, plenty of ‘self-help’ resources. I think this is their strength.  However, the endless emails after donating or creating a cause is way too much.

  • Mobile-Friendly Campaigns                              No penalties for missing goal
  • GoFundMe Mobile App                                     No deadlines or goal requirements
  • Expert advice, 24/7                                           Keep every donation you receive
go fund me amenities score

I had super high expectations for Go Fund Me, but their total score only equated to 12/20 or 60% overall rating. Their fees have hidden requests for tips, security is not clear, and their customer support was so horrible it was putrid.

Rank 4 gofundme overall score

Rank 5 Kickstarter

Kickstarter made the list, but ended up in fifth place out of the top five.   It comes up as one of the top sites, and it differs in it focus and functionality.  This is a funding platform exclusively for creative projects. If you can dream it, it can be financed through Kickstarter.  Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. These ambitious, innovative, and imaginative ideas that are brought to life through the direct support of others, which makes this aspect of Kickstarter wicked cool. One of the first things you’ll notice is that everything on this site must have a clear goal. Something will be made, and something will be produced if you are to receive funding. 

Funding is given by “backers” who decide what they want to support. They give a pledge to projects to help them come to life and support a creative process. To thank their backers for their support, project creators offer unique rewards that speak to the spirit of what they’re hoping to create.

Kickstarter – Security

Security for Kickstarter is low.  They have been subjected to many scams wherein people have pretended to work for the company.  There is a link directly on their site concerning this problem. SCARY! With no form of site security that I could find, but warnings from the FBI to contact the Internal Trade Commission and the Internet Crime Complaint Center the following rating was issued. 

kickstarter security score

Kickstarter – Fees

Because Kickstarter uses backers, they do not collect a fee until you complete your goal.  I see this as both a good and a bad thing. First, you will most certainly have put money of your own into the design or idea.  So, if your desire to make the world’s most fireproof engine fails, how much money did you lose? How many people will you have to pay out of your own pocket?  Supply costs? Time invested? That all adds up! If you do succeed, you will be looking for backers to invest in your product. The kickstarter company will then take out 5% for themselves, and their company that does payment processing will also take out 5%.  There is also a .20 cent fee for each donation. This equates to $10.20 for every $100 that is donated.

kickstarter fees score

Kickstarter – Customer Service

Kickstarter uses a similar, highly frustrating, customer service strategy to the one that Go Fund Me employs.  They too have a page where you send in your questions and you are asked if your question was answered based on the electronic responses that they determine.  Kickstarter; however, does not make any allusant claims that they have agents on site. So, at least I didn’t spend an exhausting amount of time hoping to communicate with an actual live agent.  They don’t make a claim to be anything more than what they have posted – still not very helpful.

kickstarter customer service score

Kickstarter – Amenities

In the area of amenities, Kickstarter offers a weekly newsletter showcasing “Projects We Love”.  In fact, that’s what the newsletter is officially called. All you need to do is give them your email and you are set. 

The Creative Independent is another amenity offered by Kickstarter.  This is a resource for creative people, and is BY creative people. It’s a pretty cool amenity which lets you read about them and also hear about their ideas and inspirations.  Stevie Nicks is currently on their site. As a singer, and lover of her band, I like this aspect! Unfortunately, these two things are really all I could see in the Kickstarter amenity page.  So kudos for the newsletter and the Creative Independent, but there was nothing for actually helping build the funding.

kickstarter amenities score

In summary, Kickstarter ranked a very low 10/20 for 50%.  They were barely at average in a few areas, with a scary low score in security.  Although it has a great idea behind it, I don’t think I would invest in an idea that may or may not have backers, especially with the security issues.

Rank 5 Kickstarter

In conclusion…. There are numerous companies that offer fundraising platforms, but the five discussed in this article, in my professional opinion, were hands-down the best of the best. Based on a Five Star rating, in the areas of security, fees, service and amenities, you should now be able to make an educated decision on your own, as you navigate the world that is fundraising!

There are many more companies out there, some big and some small. This analysis should provide you with a good resource to narrow down the right fundraising platform for you. The world of fundraising is expanding, and I hope that you find the company that best suits your needs!

As a final comparison, based on my findings, please review the below charts to observe how each of the companies stack up to each other.

Author/Researcher: Katie Stanger


kickstarter, gofundme, classy, fundly, agoodcause extras
How Much is the cause getting every $100
kick starter, gofundme, classy. fundly, agoodcause Ranking

I, Katie Stanger, thought it would be best if I gave this article to aGoodCause.com and let them post it on their website, associated sites, social platforms and/or how and where they would like. They have my full permission to use this article at their discretion.

Wise Words from a Football Legend

Vince Lombardi once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”  

I can think of no wiser statement, especially due to the nature of the work here at A Good Cause. We take the idea of building humanity through service seriously!  It is our passion and our intrinsic ideals that keep us ever on the lookout for those not only in need, but for those who are in a position to help others.  

Many people are familiar with the concept of a Go Fund Me campaign. People put their story online, and hope that friends and family will help them reach their goals.  While this is a good way to generate support, WE DO MORE!  

At A Good Cause you can be put in touch with men and women who know the true meaning of philanthropy.  Maybe YOU are one of those, and you would love to have someone direct your financial acumen. We here at A Good Cause work hand in hand with charities and organizations and we give you pertinent information to help you to make the best decision.  You can track your campaigns, as well as donations.  

Our motto, “Learn, Do, Share” says it all.  People from across the world can join, seek assistance, and be a source of good for all mankind.  Your individual commitment can bolster a team, your society, and the world we live in. Won’t you please join us at aGoodCause.com?  

Author:  Katie Stanger

Veterans Aid Coalition

 “We don’t know them all, but we owe them all.” –Unknown

For many Americans, the term “veteran” is one that we are familiar with. We’ve heard it in reference to “Veteran’s Day”, War Veterans, World War II veteran, Vietnam veteran, and many more. According to Wikipedia, a veteran is defined as “A person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field. A military veteran is a person who has served and is no longer serving in the armed forces. Those veterans that have had direct exposure to acts of military conflict may also be referred to as war veterans.”Veterans are also those who have seen combat and are still serving in the armed forces.

The effects of war and combat on veterans has far-reaching effects that extend far away and long after the battlefield has ended. Some wounds are obvious to spot, such as, physical deformities and amputations whereas, some are harder to see. Some veterans return home with physical reminders in the form of amputations, burns, paralyzed, and even bullet holes. Unfortunately, many veterans return from combat with scars and wounds that they battle with behind closed doors.  For many, that includes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bi-polar disorder (manic-depression), sleep disorder, substance dependence and more. Although, many do return home, with invisible scars and wounds of war, it is important to note that not every veteran who sees conflict returns home “broken” or “damaged” as is often depicted in movies and on television.

It is when they have returned home and are no longer faced with life-threatening conflict that many of these side-effects are made known. For some the side-effects of war and conflict rear their ugly head shortly after returning home, for other veterans it takes longer for the ill-effects of war to manifest themselves. Regardless of when or if depression, anxiety and other effects are made known, it is imperative that veterans receive the help that they need and have earned.

Upon returning home from war, service members are not the only ones who have to make an adjustment to the “new normal”. Often times their spouse and children have become accustomed to daily life without them, operating daily as a single-parent family for the time that their service member is away. Upon return home, schedules the parental roles have to be redefined. This adjustment is not always easily made as young children often have a hard time adjusting to another parent’s discipline, whereas older children can push back to see what they will be able to get away with.

Because returning home is an adjustment period for everyone involved, it is no surprise that some service members have a harder time than others. This is especially true for those who have suffered an injury due to combat, or have lost fellow comrades in combat. We know that the effects of war can have far-reaching effects that service members carry with them long after the dust has settled on the battlefield. Because the side-effects are varied and affect a vast array of individuals, it is imperative that resources that make it easier for service members to adjust back into their life are easily and readily available.

Through organizations such as Wounded Warrior Project, Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial Fund, veterans and their families have access to resources that can aid them through the transition home and provide treatment for injuries—physical and mental that, sustained as a result of their service to our great nation.

Wounded Warrior Project

According to the Wounded Warrior Project’s website, there are over 52,000 service men and women who have been physically injured during recent military conflicts. Additionally, there are 500,000 veterans currently living with invisible wounds as a result of their military service. These wounds include depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. A whopping, 320,000 veterans are experiencing a debilitating brain injury.

With these staggering numbers, it is apparent that there is a need for resources, and services to repay veterans for their service and sacrifice. That is why it is the mission of the Wounded Warrior Project to aid veterans who have or are serving in our nation’s military on or after September 11, 2001 and have suffered a physical or mental injury as a result.

There are a variety of programs and resources available to veterans and their families, through the Wounded Warrior Project. These programs and resources include:

Connecting to Others

Whether you are a veteran seeking support or the caregiver, Wounded Warrior Project has support groups to help you through. When you connect with others through Wounded Warrior Project, you have access to a listening ear, a helping hand and a community of supporters who are there to help you on your way to success. There are support groups, whose mission is to provide help and support to veterans and their family members and caregivers.

Mental Wellness

One out of every three veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Surprisingly, that same statistic, one out of three feel as though they do not receive the mental health that they need in order to cope. In order to address the need to meet the demand, Wounded Warrior Project, has established interactive programs, rehabilitative retreats and professional services. These programs are designed to help and enable veterans to build the resilience that they need in order to be able to overcome the many mental health challenges that many veterans encounter upon returning home.

Physical Wellness

It is not that uncommon for veterans to sustain a physical injury through their time in the service. Not all physical injuries are visible to others, some are injuries that prevent them from being physically active, getting into shape, or back and joint problems. Other physical injuries are more obvious in the form of missing limbs, confined to a wheelchair, burns, and more. Regardless of the physical injury, Wounded Warrior Project is dedicated to helping veterans realize how strong they are despite their injury and to help them see results. The goal of the Wounded Warrior Project’s physical wellness support is to help veterans eat better, feel better and sleep better. 

Career and VA Benefits Counseling

When veterans transition out of the service, it can be a challenging time with important conversations that need to be had. One conversation is that of money. While no one ever wants to worry about money or even talk about money, it is an important conversation to have prior to transitioning to civilian life. With the help of Wounded Warrior Project, they make it so that talking about money and finances is inspiring rather than depressing, by helping veterans to realize that their financial goals for the future are in fact possible. This includes learning more about the benefits that they have earned as a result of their service, how to access and get their benefits, finding a career path, or even finding a job that will help them along their career path. Wounded Warrior Project is there to help veterans, every step of the way navigating their career and VA benefits following their military service.

Personal Independence

When given the right support and resources needed, every veteran, every warrior has the ability to achieve and live a civilian life, post military service that is worth living. The Independence Program that is offered through Wounded Warrior Project, was designed to help any veteran who is suffering from a moderate-to-severe brain injury, spinal cord injury, or a neurological condition, to make and take positive steps towards living an independent life outside of the military.

Because every injury and veteran are different, Wounded Warrior Project works as a team with each veteran and their family to assess their needs, set goals and build a personalized plan that will be the most beneficial to them. Through the team of support, veterans are able to work towards gaining their independence, while families and caregivers are able to find some relief by sharing the burden of caring for their loved one. 

If you would like to contribute and help Wounded Warrior Project continue to provide these services to wounded veterans and their families, you can make a donation through the Veterans Aid Coalition campaign found on https://agoodcause.com/campaigns/veterans-aide-coalition/.  Through the generous donations that Wounded Warrior Project receives, they are able to provide all programs and resources to veterans in need, free of charge.

Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust

The mission of the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust is to empower veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. For over thirty years, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Charitable Service Trust has been playing an instrumental role in supporting and aiding ill and injured veterans and their families. In order for DAV Charitable Service Trust to achieve their mission of helping veterans live life with dignity and respect, they provide support and work to support the needs of veterans. This is achieved through supporting physical and psychological rehabilitation programs, enhance research and mobility for veterans with spinal cord injuries and amputations, aging veterans, aids and shelters for homeless veterans and evaluates and addresses the needs of veterans wounded in recent wars. In addition to supporting the needs of veterans, DAV Charitable Service Trust also supports programs that are intended to provide resources and support to caregivers and families of ill and injured veterans.

The Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust was formed in 1986, as a way to advance programs and services that were offered to better be able to cater to our nation’s veterans, their caregivers and families. The support that the DAV Charitable Service Trust offers to different charitable organizations, helps to ensure that America is fulfilling the promises it has made to those who have made such tremendous sacrifices for national safety and security.

How it Works

Since its founding, the DAV Charitable Service Trust has led a grant program for not-for-profit organizations that provide the necessary resources to fulfill the needs of veterans. These needs include the sick, wounded, homeless, and at-risk veterans across the nation. Because often times the needs of the veterans varies depending on their specific needs and situations, DAV Charitable Service Trust provides grant funds to aid other not-for-profit organizations who can provide various resources and services to meet the needs.

agoodcause - veteran applying for a grant

According to the DAV Charitable Service Trust website, the most common grants that they distribute are used to promote food, shelter and other necessary items to veterans who are homeless or at risk-veterans, mobility items for those who have experienced vision or hearing loss or amputations, therapeutic or recreational activities, and education training. Additionally, grants have been issued to aid and support families and caregivers. DAV Charitable Service Trust does not generally provide funds to support advertising, initiatives that are affiliated with any given political party, religious group or campaign, endowment funds, pilot or newly established projects, or funds to acquire or maintain property.

How You Can Help

Every year, DAV Charitable Service Trust has funds to distribute; where they encourage qualified not-for-profit organizations to submit a detailed proposal to be considered for grant funding. Once funding has been approved, veterans and their families can benefit from the services that are available as a result of the funding provided by the DAV Charitable Service Trust.

DAV Charitable Service Trust relies on donations to make grants possible, therefore, they have made it easy for those who would like to make monetary donations. You can make donations online at https://agoodcause.com/campaigns/veterans-aide-coalition/, where all funds are distributed and used to give back to the veterans that protect our freedoms.

Veterans of Foreign Wars

The mission of Veterans of Foreign Wars is to foster camaraderie among United States veterans of overseas conflicts. Furthermore, their mission is to serve all veterans, the military and communities, advocating on behalf of all veterans. Along with their mission of serving veterans, the Veterans of Foreign War’s vision is to ensure that veterans are respected for their selfless service to our country, and that they always receive the entitlements that they have earned, and that veterans and their families are recognized for the sacrifices that they have made.

Veterans of Foreign Wars dates back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the Philippine Insurrection in 1899-1902, got together and founded local organizations that secured their rights and benefits that they earned as a result of their service. Following these conflicts, many veterans returned home wounded or sick. At that time, there was no medical car or veterans’ pensions for them, meaning that they had to care and provide for themselves.

As a result, veterans would band together and forming organizations that ultimately became known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. The first chapters were located in Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania; quickly growing to a membership today of over 1.6 million members. Since its creation, Veterans of Foreign Wars has played a pivotal role in establishing the Veterans Administration, development of the national cemetery system, fighting for the compensation of Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and for veterans who have been diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome. In 2008, the Veterans of Foreign Wars achieved a major victory for all veterans, by winning a long-fought battle with the passing of the GI Bill for the 21st century. This bill expanded the educational benefits to active duty service members, members of the guard and reserves who were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars has been instrumental in helping to fund the building of the Vietnam, Korean War, World War II and Women in Military Service memorials. In addition, in 2005 the Veterans of Foreign Wars contributed to the building of the new Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial, which opened in 2010. In 2015, they became the first supporters of the National Desert Storm War Memorial which will be built in Washington D.C. Aside from these accomplishments, Veterans of Foreign Wars has programs and services that work to support veterans, service members and their families.

Veterans of Foreign Wars also does a lot to help individual veterans and their families by offering a wide range of assistance programs. These programs are designed to help veterans of every generation, by providing free, professional assistance filing for VA claims, scholarships and more. No other organization does more for veterans than the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

VA Claims & Separation Benefits

When transitioning out of the military, there are many frustrations that can arise, especially when filing claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs. As such, it is a process that veterans and service members should not attempt to navigate alone. Due to the Veterans of Foreign Wars being comprised of the largest organization of combat veterans, they know how complex this process can be. Therefore, they have established the National Veterans Service (NVS), to help all veterans, service members and their families navigate this process.

The NVS has a nationwide network of VA accredited service officers and pre-discharge representatives who are expertly trained in dealing with the VA.  In fact, the VA reports that those who are represented by the Veterans of Foreign Wars have recouped $8.3 billion in earned benefits, with $1.4 billion in 2018 alone. A service officer from the Veterans of Foreign Wars can help veterans when filing for disability compensation, rehabilitation and education programs, pension and death benefits, employment and training programs.

Financial Grants

When serving in the armed forces, there are often times unforeseen challenges that veterans, service members and their families face. During this time, the Veterans of Foreign Wars believe that financial difficulties should not be one that veterans, service members or their families should have to face. This was the idea that started the Unmet Needs program, as part of Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Unmet Needs is designed to help America’s military families who encounter unexpected financial difficulties as a result of a deployment, or other military-related activity or injury. When needed, grants can be provided up to $1,500.00 to aid and assist with basic life needs, no repayment is required. To make a difficult situation even easier to bear, Unmet Needs will pay creditors directly with the grant money.

Student Veteran Support

There are many benefits available to veterans that they have earned and deserve to help them further their education. The Veterans of Foreign Wars has teamed up with Student Veterans of America to help provide assistance to veterans to gain access to their educational benefits. Working together, these two organizations are able to help veterans and service members use their GI Bill and other education benefits to help pay for their education without accruing massive amounts of student loan debt.

Mental Wellness Campaign

A shocking statistic illustrates, that 20 veterans commit suicide every single day. Veterans of Foreign Wars is committed to fighting that statistic by changing the narrative and negative stigma that surrounds mental health. In order to do this, Veterans of Foreign Wars has teamed up with other national organizations, such as, Give an Hour, The Campaign to Change Direction, One Mind, PatientsLikeMe, and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. Together, these organizations are fighting to provide resources for mental health, and provide intervention for those veterans who have been affected by invisible injuries and emotional stress as a result of their military service.

If you would like to support and make a donation to Veterans of Foreign Wars, you can make a donation at https://agoodcause.com/campaigns/veterans-aide-coalition/, where all funds are distributed to give back to America’s veterans.

Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial Fund

Located in Washington D.C., the Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial beautifully depicts the strength and vulnerability, loss and renewal of disabled veterans. Those who visit the memorial are able to learn about the lessons of courage, sacrifice, tenacity, loyalty and honor exhibited by those veterans who are disabled. The memorial is dedicated to both living and deceased veterans who serve as a reminder of the cost of freedom and human conflict. This beautiful moment, brings attention to those veterans who have sacrificed and live with a constant reminder of their service to our great nation. Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial Fund accepts donations online or via mail to help disabled veterans across the nation.

How You Can Help

There is a need to help veterans across the country who have given so much and sacrificed so that we may continue to live in a free country. Thanks to organizations such as Wounded Warrior Project, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled Veterans Charitable Service Trust and others, veterans are able to have access to resources that help them transition to civilian life and cope with the effects of conflict.

It is important to remember that while a lot of these organizations get attention due to the fact that they help veterans who suffer from mental illness or physical disabilities as a result of their military service, this does not represent veterans as a whole. There are many veterans who are the lucky ones, returning home with no major side-effects, yet still benefit from these organizations and the programs that they offer.

Monetary donations make it possible for these organizations to continue to provide services and resources to veterans and service members. If you would like to donate, you can make a donation at https://agoodcause.com/campaigns/veterans-aide-coalition/ and help to make a difference by giving back to the veterans who serve and sacrifice to protect our freedoms. All donations made via A Good Cause will go directly to charities and organizations whose mission it is to support the physical and psychological rehabilitation of veterans and their families.

Author: Ashley Christensen

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veteran

https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/programs

http://www.vfw.org/

https://avdlm.org/

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WANTING TO GIVE MORE

Giving to others assists them to create abundance in their life; in addition, to a huge sense of satisfaction that comes into your own life.  Contributing to those who are going through a difficult time or are less fortunate forces you to step back and take a broader look at your own life. This can sometimes cause you to reevaluate and adjust your focus in your own life in an extremely positive manner. “I have seen and experienced this in my own life on several occasions—both in my own community and internationally. Every experience has left me with feelings of joy, gratitude and leaves me wanting to do more.”

by Ashley Christensen

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Author: Ashley Christensen

Setting Up Your Perfect Campaign

As you strive to raise awareness for your cause, it is important that you take advantage of a variety of social media platforms. Promoting your campaign on social media is cost effective and is an easy marketing tool that even the least tech savvy individuals can use. (Learn more here.) Below are four simple ways to use social media to promote your cause and its campaign.

  1. Variety of Content = Having a variety of content will keep your social accounts feeling fresh and will help to engage a wider audience of followers who each enjoy different ways of consuming content. To make the most of your time and efforts, be sure to post the right type of content on each of your platforms.
  1. Authentic Content = As you post content about your cause, be sure to make it as authentic as possible. Effective marketing tells a good story and an engaging, purpose driven story gives your audience something to rally behind. So be sure to provide details, candid photos, and other content that is genuine and real.
  1. Consistent Schedule = If your cause has specific social media accounts that you run, be sure to follow a consistent schedule when posting content. Consistent posting will help keep your audience engaged because they know how often you post and when to expect a new piece of content. As you plan your posting schedule, be sure not to over-post and therefore overwhelm your audience with your content.
  1. Engage = One of the advantages that social media has over traditional marketing outlets is the ability it provides to immediately interact with your followers. As your audience reacts to your content, be sure to engage with them in return. If someone comments on your post, whether positively or negatively, be sure to quickly respond to their statements. If someone shares your content or tags you in their own content, engage with them by liking their post and leaving a comment. Engaging with your audience through social media helps them to develop a personal relationship with your cause and to become more personally invested in it.

by Brindisi Olsen

Using social media to promote your campaign is a great way to reach and engage with your audience.  This is. ultimately,  the best way to gain more support for your cause. If you are looking for more ways to promote your campaign on a specific platform such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube, or a blog then here may a great resource for you:  http://www.MasterSocialMediaToday.com.

Author: Brindisi Olsen Bravo

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