- Consider the benefits of generosity. Generous people report being happier, healthier, and more satisfied with life than those who don’t give. Generosity produces within us a sense that we are capable of making a difference in the world, that we are actively addressing the needs of those around us, and that we are shaping our community into a healthier one.
- Embrace gratitude. Make a list of the things in your life for which you are grateful.
- Start really small. No matter what dollar amount you choose, jump right in with something small. You can afford it… and that little push can help build momentum in your life towards generosity.
- Give first. When you receive your next pay check, make your first expense an act of giving. Often times, we wait to see how much we have left over before we determine how much we can give away. The problem is that most of the time after we start spending, there is nothing left over. The habit of spending all of it is too deeply ingrained in our lives. To counteract that cycle, give first.
- Divert one specific expense. For a set period of time (try 29 days), divert one specific expense to a charity of your choosing. Calculate the money you’ll save and then redirect it to a specific charity/cause.
- Fund a cause based on your passions. What are you most passionate about? Is it the environment, poverty, or religion? Maybe it’s world peace, child nutrition, or animal rights? What about education, civil rights, or clean water? Identify what passions already move you, find a committed organization around that cause, and then joyfully help them in their work.
- Find a person you believe in. If you find that you are more easily motivated and shaped by the people in your life rather than organizations/causes, use that tendency as motivation instead. Take careful notice of the people in your life that you most admire. What organizations/causes do they hold most dear? Who do they support? What makes them passionate about supporting it? And how can you get involved alongside them?
- Spend time with people in need. It is a very small step to go from knowing somebody in need to helping somebody in need.
- Spend time with a generous person. Ask the person, “Have you always been generous?” “When did you become so generous? How did it start? How do you decide where your money goes? What advice would you give someone who wants to get started?”
- Live a more minimalist life. Intentionally decide to own less. It won’t automatically make you a more generous person, but it will provide the space necessary to make it possible. You’ll spend less money on things at the department store. You’ll have more time/energy to help others. And the intentionality that emerges in your life will help you discover the need for generosity.
Generosity rarely happens by chance. Instead, it is an intentional decision that we make in our lives. But it does not need to be as difficult as many people think. Sometimes, starting with the simple steps is the best step that we can take.