My 30 Day Challenge #1: 30 Straight Days of Charitable Giving

Mar 01, 2010 2,535 Comments by

Because of Diet Coke and Matt Cutts I’m going to give to charity every day for the next 30 days…

A month and a half ago I made a bet with Sanaz that I’d stay off diet coke for a week if she refrained from coffee for the same period of time.  I’ve probably averaged 1-2 diet cokes a day since I was a teenager (for the taste people, clearly not the reduction of calories).  Its been a month and I still haven’t had any any soda.

This got me thinking, “What should be my next 30 day challenge?”  I’m not however the only, or first, techie leading the 30 day challenge charge.  The impetus came from my friend Matt Cutts at Google who kicked started his own set of 30 day challenges last year.

I thought about doing something around my health/family (which I’ve written about at length) or maybe something related to Docstoc and our new Docstore.  But those are the things I think about all the time anyway.  What I don’t spend enough time thinking about are all the problems other people face every single day that so many of us are blessed to never have to think about.

I’m guilty of using how busy I am as a reason not to do more for others.  I also justify it by rationalizing that that when I become really successful and rich, I’ll have all this time and money to give to others.  But that’s bullshit, I can and should be doing more now.  Up through my early 20′s I was volunteering 10 hours a week in various organizations to help with literacy and homeless shelters.  And 2 of the most important years of my life were spent volunteering as a suicide hot-line crisis counselor.

SO, for the next 30 days I’m going to do something each day to give to others.  Its not always going to be a large amount of money and some days it won’t be money I’m giving away; I may make a donation online to various charities, give clothes to goodwill, buy a homeless person by my office a meal – I think what’s important is that I make myself think about the struggles other people are going through everyday.  AND, I’ll follow up with a post at the end of the month detailing what I did each day, at the end of this post.

I started off the process by giving a donation to to help combat Autism, you can learn more here if that’s an issue that touches your life.

And now I have a favor to ask of you:

1.) Please leave comments with organizations or charities that you think I should pay attention to or help out in the next month

2.) JOIN MY CHALLENGE – or do any 30 day challenge that is right and meaningful for you

Other People Joining Me in the Challenge:

J. Mike Smithhttp://life.backwest.com/ (thanks for being the first!)

David Travers, Rustic Canyon Partners – http://www.rusticcanyon.com (you know you have great VCs when they join you in a giving challenge!)

Shira Lazar, www.shiralazar.com @shiralazar – called me to say she wanted to take up the challenge

Dave and Leslie Moldavon – dear friends who wanted to help give back how they could


My 30 Day Challenge Log

3/1 – ICDL (combatting autism) – $200

3/2 – American Red Cross Disaster Relief – $30

3/3 – Boarding House Mentors in Santa Monica- $30  (thanks Tim Golden for the rec in the comments below) http://www.boardinghousementors.org/

3/4 – Disabled American Verterans – $50 http://www.dav.org/ (i saw a serviceman in the airport on the way home today, and thought how much I take for granted that so many risk their lives each day to keep us safe)

3/5 – Food Donation to Haiti through www.CARE.org – $25

3/6 – First Book www.firstbook.org- $50 (books for kids who don’t have access to them, thanks Bernadette W for the tip)

3/7 – Room to Read $50 – www.roomtoread.org (thanks for the tip John Madigan and good luck with the marathon)

3/8 -  Jolkona  www.jolkona.org – $50 (an amazing organization to give to various small projects around the globe, thanks for the tip Laura Kimball)

3/9 – Project Echo - www.projectecho.org – $50 (thanks Julie for the heads up in the comments, seems like a great org, def will stop by)

3/10 – Soles4Souls  www.soles4souls.org/- $50 (Taryn why am I not surprised that your charity is around shoes…. the better surprise is connecting with old high school friends who are amazing at PR )

3/11 – 826LA www.826la.org – $25 (thanks to Serena Brahney for the tip)

3/12 – 3/31 – Need to update this all, missed some days, not really proud of myself, goal is do do better on the next 30 day challenge

Uncategorized

About the author

Jason is the Co-Founder and CEO of Docstoc.com, the premier destination to start and grow businesses, offering the best selection of documents and content resources. Jason is also the creator of Startups Uncensored the long running and most widely attended tech mixer in Southern California. Before starting Docstoc, he was a partner in a venture consulting firm in Los Angeles where he worked with dozens of startups. Jason holds a BA from UCSB and his JD/MBA from Pepperdine University, where he was the Student Body President of both Universities.

2,535 Responses to “My 30 Day Challenge #1: 30 Straight Days of Charitable Giving”

  1. Jennifer Tooley says:

    Kudos! …thrilled to post a comment. Just yesterday afternoon, your neighbors, kids from Santa Monica High School, rocked the 6th Annual Project ECHO business plan competition. What an amazing day of young kids strutting their entrepreneurial stuff. You’d love Project ECHO (entrepreneurial concepts, hands-on–www.projectecho.org); they have an amazing track record expanding opportunities for kids in local high schools.

    I’d love to get you coffee and introduce you to the founder and the exec director…offices are walking distance from Docstoc. There are a dozen ways you engage these tremendous young entrepreneurs.

    My CEO, Andrea Azdril, is on the board. We’re close to our $5k commitment. You can easily help the kids by donating here: http://tinyurl.com/helpYouthEntrep

    Hope to hear from you: jennifer.tooley@startechglobal.com

  2. Tim Golden says:

    Jason. Great idea and here is a local Santa Monica charity I think you should check out. http://www.boardinghousementors.org/

    The Boarding House Mentors is an outreach organization that provides a safe and healthy community environment by introducing underserved youth to a positive lifestyle through the exhilaration of board sports.

    It’s an amazing organization that is always in need of new volunteers, support, and money. AND, it’s local so you’ll be doing good right here in our community.

    Thanks again for everything.

  3. Bryan says:

    Hey Jason, I work with a microfinance organization that’s been doing great work in Haiti for a long time called Fonkoze. You can check out the website at http://fonkoze.org.

    Fonkoze uses microfinance as a platform in Haiti to educate its clients about business skills, literacy, children’s and women’s rights, environmentalism, basic health and sanitation, etc.

    Fonkoze is also on Twitter at http://fonkoze.org. We’ve been working in Haiti for 20+ years. The earthquake affected everyone in Haiti and we’re working hard to help get the country back on its feet.

  4. Jesse says:

    I always advocate giving back to your alma mater, the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University. But you can also give a dose of inspiration by sharing more about your 30 Days of Giving on the Waves of Service Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/WavesOfService – I’m sure other Pepperdine alumni would love to hear about it.

    Awesome idea BTW.

    Jesse

  5. Bernadette W. says:

    Love this idea, Jason! I nominate First Book – http://www.firstbook.org. The organization’s mission is to provide new books to children in need addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. (If you want to donate specifically to the L.A./South Bay chapter, mention “LAB124″.) Continued success!

  6. Yvette "@ollada" says:

    I love this idea. I wish more people in your position did this. If you need any ideas, I’d love to suggest my favorite charity which helps victims and survivors of human trafficking, http://PolarisProject.org . They run the National Human Trafficking Hotline for the U.S. Dept. of HHS.

    Also, Mother’s Day is coming up and you can even shop to help these women and children with jewelry from NightLight, an organization that helps women leave sexual exploitation in the red light district in Bangkok and gives them training in the trade of jewelry: http://store.nightlightinternational.com/

    Charity, philanthropy, and volunteering are totally “my thing” so let me know if I can give you anymore ideas. I have tons of charities.

    :)

  7. Nitu says:

    Touching post. There are so many people & organizations to choose from. I’m just going to suggest 2:). APSCA: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 50% of Dogs & 70% of Cats in shelters are put down. Dream Foundation. Connecting Terminally ill Adults with their lifelong dreams.

    Great reminder to think and do for others!

  8. Dave Viner says:

    This is an awesome idea. I actually give a monthly donation (and holiday-time donations as well) to the Eden Reforestation project for Ethiopia. Check them out at http://www.edenprojects.org/projects.php?id=6.

    I like the concept of forcing ourselves to think about others on a regular basis. For me, whenever I see my paypal deduction for the Reforestation project, I take a few minutes to read up on the latest news about them, reforestation, and Ethiopia. It’s incredibly refreshing to think of what we can do for others, only considering the good that we can bring rather than the value we can extract.

  9. Taryn L. says:

    Jason, there aren’t enough hours in the day to do what you do! I’m constantly impressed. Check out Soles for Souls http://www.soles4souls.org/, they are a great organization that donates shoes to people in need. Lots of folks are great about donating clothes, but people tend to forget about shoes because they think people won’t want worn shoes, and it’s typically more difficult because of size issues. They do a fantastic job about getting shoes to those in need, especially with all the people displaced by recent natural disasters in Haiti and Chile. Thanks for considering them!

  10. Braden Keith says:

    This is a great idea. I try to live of 20% of my income and give away the rest. I would suggest churcheshelpingchurches.com. They are a ministry that funds the rebuilding of churches in disaster stricken countries. Started because of Haiti, but will soon be helping Chile.

  11. Chuck Johnston says:

    Awesome idea! I’m glad to see this has engaged so many people so far. The fact that you mention that you may not necessarily give money each day is also huge. Nonprofits can benefit so much just by having awareness about them spread.

    I encourage you to check out http://www.seeyourimpact.org

    We’re a vehicle for other nonprofits to get the word out about themselves and accept gifts. We’re starting out small but we’re growing pretty rapidly.

    The concentration is on “micro-donations” and turning giving into a viral experience. Other nonprofits who have posted we’d love to hear about you!

  12. Carmen Natschke says:

    My suggestion: Fight for Layla Grace (http://laylagrace.org/).

    Layla is a two year old fighting a rare childhood cancer, Neuroblastoma and unfortunately the doctors have given her less that two months to live. She’s strong and is fighting hard.

    Her medical insurance doesn’t cover all of the medical costs for her treatment – the current financial mountain her parents are faced with is over $100,000. Any help would be greatly appreciated. http://fightforlayla.weebly.com/how-to-give.html

  13. Benjamin Kuo’s Blog » Blog Archive » Helping Jason Nazar give away money/help others says:

    [...] series of events in Santa Monica for entrepreneurs–has a new project up his sleeve: giving away money (or help, or other assistance) to charities or other worthy causes for every day, the next 30 days. [...]

  14. Greg Porter says:

    Hi Jason,

    When considering non-profit organizations, please check those listed by your fellow Pepperdine alumni in Waves of Service media, like the fan page at http://www.facebook.com/wavesofservice . We’d also love to hear about your volunteerism and which non-profit organizations you prefer to give your time and talent.

    Greg Porter
    Director, Waves of Service
    Pepperdine University

    The Waves of Service movement celebrates, supports and connects alumni in volunteerism and careers of service worldwide.

  15. Dave says:

    Hi, a great cause to help out with is the Shriners Hospitals for Children. They run a network of orthopedic/rehab hospitals all around the country, where disabled children can get free care. There are also a few burns hospitals for children. The endowments have been hit hard by the stock market and they can always use donations, but they can also use volunteers to come and entertain the kids. It’s a great thing to do for them.

    http://www.shrinershq.org/Hospitals/Main/

  16. les les says:

    Jason- this is such an amazing idea. This challenge that you’ve given yourself is admirable and inspiring and I would love to join in and contribute however I can.

    To start, if I am able to see you this weekend, I have several bags of clothes and shoes that I was planning to take to the National Council of Jewish Women donation center – http://www.ncjwla.org/council_thrift_shops/. Perhaps we can make that a donation day together and have it be one of this month’s charitable acts. Let’s please talk when you can.

  17. Laura Kimball says:

    Hi Jason,

    A tweet from @neilpatel led me to your blog and this post. I think it’s a wonderful challenge and an awesome idea. And I love that you’ve asked your readers for input–I’m excited to see all of the people and organizations you help out this month.

    I volunteer with the Jolkona Foundation (http://www.jolkona.org/). We partner with existing organizations around the world and make it easy for you to discover low-cost, high impact philanthropic giving opportunities. We feature over 50 projects in categories such as empowerment, education, and public health.

    Plus, after you make a gift, we honor your donation by providing a proof of impact through our personalized website.

    I encourage you to check out our projects (http://www.jolkona.org/projects), and add Jolkona Foundation as one of your ‘stops’ this month.

  18. Jill Peterson says:

    Hi Jason,

    I found your project via a post by Ben Gleib on facebook. I want to suggest The Girl Effect http://www.girleffect.org/, they work to educate girls in developing countries based on the idea that this can have a ripple effect of benefits to their communities. Some points from their site:

    Today, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world.
    Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls.
    Approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school.
    Research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers.
    When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.

    I hope you find The Girl Effect as compelling an organization as I do!

    thanks for doing this inspiring project.

  19. John Madigan says:

    Jason,

    Awesome idea!!!

    I’m running the LA Marathon in two weeks (March 21, 2010) and raising money for Room to Read (a nonprofit focused on literacy in 3rd world countries). It was started by John Wood, a former Microsoft executive, who left his post to found Room to Read.

    My goal is to raise $260 (or $10 for each mile I run). I posted some info on my blog here:

    http://www.johnmmadigan.com/john_madigans_blog/2010/01/la-marathon-room-to-read.html

    Or, you can see my fundraising page here:

    http://roomtoread.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=323507&supid=279490553

    It’d be great if you wanted to support my fundraising efforts, but either way, keep up the good work :)

    Best,

    John Madigan

  20. Jason Nazar Wants To Challenge You | lalawag says:

    [...] Nazar recently announced on his personal blog that he would be spending the next 30 days giving back to those in need. He explains in his post [...]

  21. Jim Z. says:

    Hi Jason,

    My brother is running the LA Marathon to raise money for the doctors that saved his Son’s life. Please read all about it at: http://issuu.com/honeydewint/docs/codyzafrani

    Thanks,

    Jim Zafrani

  22. Jennifer Tooley says:

    Thank you so much for your investment in the LA’s entrepreneurial youth via Project ECHO. Please be on the look out for my coffee invitation. I look forward to thanking you in person soon. All the best, Jennifer

  23. David Guterman says:

    To Jason and all:

    This is a great thing, Jason: I like your style, and the logic motivating you now!

    Perhaps you might consider the Heifer Project, http://www.heifer.org/site/c.edJRKQNiFiG/b.195980/?msource=DMA10CS000B3.

    This is a non-sectarian group that does work around the world helping poor people sustain themselves and their communities–through all types of animal husbandry: everything from alpacas, bees, and chickens to heifers (that means calves, for the agriculturally non-inclined, and those not already looking for a red one…), rabbits and water buffaloes: for food (milk, meat, honey); wool/hair; draft for carrying goods and plowing. etc.

    The Heifer Project gives the starter(s), and each recipient pledges to give some of the next generation of animal on to others. It’s viral…!

    They had 6 projects going on in Haiti at the time of the earthquake, and they and their partner organizations have lost people and buildings. But their work is continuing.

    I gave a small amount just yesterday, given their plight and their path to solutions in Haiti. (In this case, the people who might eat something tomorrow aren’t so interested in your waiting til you are very idle and very, very rich, however long that may be.)

    Try that web address, or just http://www.heifer.org

    Best,
    David

  24. Andrew Skotzko says:

    Jason,

    Highly recommend NFTE: the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. It’s a well-run nonprofit that focuses on empowering underprivileged and disadvantaged youth to improve and take control of their lives by helping them to become entrepreneurs while young.

    http://www.nfte.com/

    Best,
    Andrew

  25. [Paging Jason Nazar] Give More – And Expect More | Life Back West says:

    [...] week or so ago someone named Jason Nazar started a 30 days of volunteerism challenge via Twitter. It’s a great idea – the proposal that everyone do some act of selfless [...]

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