Pick a cause that means something to you and jump in. New York Times best-selling author of Reshaping It All, ABC Family star and Full House alum Candace Cameron Bure says, "Just do it! Find a cause that tugs at your heart, then search for an organization that matches up."
Bure gives to several philanthropic causes serving the oppressed, fatherless and widowed. According to Bure, she and her husband chose those causes based on a favorite Bible verse. She's traveled to third-world countries and seen major hardships firsthand. "There are so many in need. My heart breaks and I'm moved into action," she says.
Times are tough, and not everyone has disposable cash to spread around. That's all right: Philanthropy is not just about giving money, but giving yourself. Volunteer your time to a charitable organization close to your heart. Serve meals at a food kitchen, clean out kennels at a dog shelter or walk in a fundraising event. "I give my time as well as money as often as possible," says Bure. "I also pray for each organization and for the specific people I sponsor and work with."
Think about the amount of money you spend on trivial items every day. That small amount of money has the power to make a big difference for someone else. Give up a cup of coffee, a bottle of soda or a trip to the vending machine each day and pass the savings on to a charitable organization. You'll be surprised how fast that little bit adds up.
Making philanthropy a part of your life doesn't mean you have to let it rule your life. Find a small way to get involved without disrupting your hectic schedule. Sprite's new campaign, the Spark Parks Project, simply asks you to send in your pop tabs. Once you put that envelope in the mail, they do the rest, giving 10 cents from every tab to Habitat for Humanity to help refurbish homes and active spaces.
Being a philanthropist is much more fun when you do it with people you love. Get your spouse and your kids in on the act of giving. "As a family, we love to help out at the Union Rescue Mission in downtown Los Angeles. Our church is putting on a carnival for its residents, and we get a chance to serve," says Bure of her children, ages 9, 11 and 12.
Multiply your giving by spreading the word about your cause. It's quick, easy and doesn't cost a thing. You'll motivate others to help out in whatever ways they can, and in the process, you'll share the joy of giving with those you love.
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