There are many benefits to being generous. You feel good, the recipient of your generosity feels good, and it is often a contagious action that inspires others to be generous themselves.
People of faith are commanded to be generous on all occasions (2 Corinthians 9:11) as well as to be rich in good deeds, generous and willing to share (1 Timothy 6:18).
When people think of being generous, they often think only of money. But, generosity is not restricted to cash. People can be generous with their time, talent and possessions, too.
Blogging at You Can Get it Done, Alexandra Franzen compiled a list of 50 ways people can be ridiculously generous and feel ridiculously good about doing so.
“Behaving generously doesn’t necessarily mean donating money or giving away your last cookie,” she wrote. “Those are two options, sure, but there are plenty of other ways to be generous.
“You can share knowledge freely, instead of hoarding it. You can send a handwritten note, instead of a text message,” she added. “You can introduce a friend to someone they ought to meet and help them secure a new job, client or opportunity.”
Here are just a few of the ways Alexandra suggested people be creative in thinking up ways to be generous to others:
1. Give a compliment to three strangers: a child, someone your own age, and an elder. Try to share a compliment that’s not related to their body or physical appearance. Instead, praise their inner qualities and skills. Say, “You’re amazing at riding that tricycle!” “You have the most calming voice. I could listen to you speak all day long.” “You inspire me to be more courageous.”
2. Find a blogger who’s been slammed with cruel, vicious comments lately. Send them an email. Say something kind. Encourage them to keep writing.
3. If you see a couple—and they’re trying to take a selfie of themselves while on a romantic date or trip—ask, “Would you like me to take that photo for you?” Offer to help. Capture the moment. Extra credit: ask, “How did you two meet?” and give them an opportunity to tell you their love story.
4. Record an audio message for someone you’ve been meaning to thank for a while. Text it to them and tell them: “Keep this audio note and play it whenever you’re doubting your awesomeness.”
5. Leave a rave review for your favorite podcast, your favorite book, your favorite product, your favorite anything. Five stars!
Personally, I have found delivering a plate of cookies is a great icebreaker with new neighbors and connecting with people any day, for any reason.
Vincent Pugliese, author of The Wealth of Connection, starts his days with an Hour of Giving. During that time, he calls people or sends out email specifically to benefit others by making introductions, offering encouragement, leaving a review, sharing a resource or offering an idea to help someone’s business.
If you do one thing every day for 50 days, you’ll develop a habit that will be in inspiration to others.
“The best part is, you don’t need to ‘prepare.’ You don’t have to ‘buy anything.’ You don’t need to ‘give it some thought,'” said Alexandra. “You don’t have to ‘clear space on your calendar.’ You just need to fold a little generosity into your day—which often takes just a minute or two.
“The tiniest act of generosity can change someone’s day—or even change their whole life,” she added.
Alexandra’s full list of 50 suggestions can be found at www.youcangetitdone.com.
After closing his business and enduring several painful years of uncertainty regarding what to do with his life, Greg founded Forward From 50 to help men and women over 50 to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. A Wisconsin native, Greg currently lives in Arizona.