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On Your Mark… Get Spring… Donate!

For the last few years each Fall, things I don’t need or can’t remember the last time I used them end up in boxes in the garage – ready to be driven to Goodwill on Black Friday. The benefits of clearing space on my shelves, in my closet, or in my garage are just for me. But Goodwill helps people who are looking for jobs and every donation you make helps them do this. Spring seems like a great second chance to be a part of the goodwill of Goodwill (pun intended).Goodwill logo

The tried and true method of three boxes has worked well in my house before… and will again in April. This method allows me to put items into a series of holding patterns before they are sent off to their next life. So, get ready to Donate Stuff and Create Jobs!

1. Set up three boxes. I set up three boxes and sort everything that is up for debate into them.

  • “Donate” – Items in good useful condition that will benefit the homes and lives of whoever is lucky enough to find it at Goodwill.
  • “Need a Home” – I feel pretty sure I plan to keep these items. They just, for some reason, do not seem to have a place in the house. There is a fifty-fifty chance that I will find a place to store if, or else it goes into the Donate box.
  • “Need a Fix” – These items need to be fixed – a button sewn on, a cord re-threaded through a lamp, or some other fix that makes it useful. Whether it stays in the house or is then sent to Goodwill, is determined after the fix.

2. Go through the house fast. This part is important. Don’t over think things – otherwise you start to reminisce about the things you find. You begin to talk yourself out of getting rid of those size 2 jeans because one day you will be that small again! (Um… no you won’t.)

3. #7DaysofSpringCleaning. Seven days should be enough – whether three weekends or a week of clearing through the house each evening. Target a zone in the house and clear through your items. I like to schedule my seventh day to be the day the Donate boxes are delivered to Goodwill.

I admit that after I deliver the donations, I go into Goodwill to check out their record collections. After all, just because Goodwill lets you donate stuff to help them create jobs doesn’t mean I can’t get some for records with some amazing cover art too!

The Joy of Giving – NPOs, It’s Time!

‘Tis the season for the Joy of Giving. While I tend to not be a fan of giving gifts at a prescribed date or reason. I believe the joy of giving a gift is the reason to give a gift. There is something powerful in bringing someone something they want or need. The best gifts bring the giver as much joy as the recipient. I’m an only child – what can I say?

It’s time to amp up the Joy of Giving
Nonprofits are invited by Andrea Ball at the Austin American-Statesman to offer their annual holiday wish list – an opportunity create their wish list for either their organization or for the people they work with who need a little help this holiday season.

If you’re a nonprofit – Andrea’s note to you is below. If you’re a Gift Giver, keep an eye out here – I’m excited about being able to embrace the Joy of Giving!

P.S. Andrea – Thanks for doing this every year & being a good steward for the nonprofits and community.

— From Andrea:
Dear nonprofits –
It’s time for the annual holiday wish lists! The guidelines are the same as usual. Please send me your submissions by Dec. 11. Also, please make sure your submissions follow the format described below.

Here are the guidelines:
1)      Groups must be an official 501-c-3 or be under the umbrella of a community foundation.
2)      Groups may not ask for cash or volunteers. If we allowed that, it’s all people would ask for! We’re looking for stuff that people can give to you in time for the holidays, such as computers, office supplies, gift cards, clothing, food, furniture, cars or whatever you need. The sky’s the limit.
3)      Groups must provide a short explanation (one sentence) of what it does, provide contact information (phone, email, website) and then list its requests.
4)      Groups should limit its requests to one sentence. Please make it a real sentence, not a 300 word compound sentence. No funny business! 

Please submit your requests in the following format:
Group: The Andrea Foundation
Mission: To collect as many stuffed animals as possible for needy children
Contact info: or (512) 912-2506
Request: Beanie Babies, gift cards to Hallmark, etc.

If you could spread this email around, I would be grateful. No matter what I do, I always end up leaving someone out and I’d rather have someone get this email four times than not at all.

Any questions? Shoot me an email. Thanks!
Andrea Ball
Austin American-Statesman

A Few Ways to Celebrate #GivingTuesday

15665f9f-d6df-4dcf-8c57-a42d82521a76Today is #GivingTuesday – a day when you are encouraged to give back to your community. Here are some ideas about how to remind yourself, your friends and family, and your community to give back.

1. Make a gift to the nonprofit who has a mission most aligned with how you wish to better the world or community. You know which one you want to support, right? If not, today is a great day to start learning about them!

2. Make a gift in the name of a loved one to a nonprofit that impacts their community in a way most aligned with their beliefs.

3. If you haven’t yet spoken to friends and family about the causes and organizations they care about – this is a great opportunity to start that conversation!

4. Sign up to volunteer with a nonprofit after the New Year – when the attention to support them wanes.  Remember “giving” doesn’t mean just your financial gift – but that of your time and talent also have value!

5. If you can’t commit funds right now, consider sending a nonprofit a note that thanks them for the impact they have had on the community.

6. Take the box of clothes that no longer fit, toys that are no longer played with, and kitchenware you never use anymore to Goodwill or a non-profit that helps people rebuild their lives. It gives organizations the opportunity to help others with the things you will sell for $3 someday if you ever host a garage sale. We do this every Black Friday – I love it and the space it leaves!

7. #GivingTuesday need not only be for nonprofits. Give your neighbor who lets your dogs back into the yard every time they escape out the front door a Thank You note or some baked goods. Send a note to your children’s teacher thanking them for their hard work.

8. Do many random acts of kindness today.

9. Share the idea of #GivingTuesday with people who may not know about it – and find out how others are participating!

10. Commit to #GivingSaturday or #Giving3rdWeds or #GivingMarch or #GivingJanuary5 – whatever time frame or date works with your schedule.

#GivingTuesday and the end of the year shouldn’t be the only time you remind yourself of the amazing things that nonprofits bring our communities. It also isn’t the only time that you can be a part of that by supporting them.