With a new baby on the way and a social enterprise to get going, Nathan Ghann decided to join a BeMORE group…
I joined BeMORE at a very peculiar time in my life. I had just decided to leave my well-paid job in Higher Education and to create a Startup. At the same time I was embarking on this journey of much risk and potentially little reward, my wife and I were also expecting our first child! Needless to say, my top priority wasn’t to be giving away money but to try and keep as much of it as possible!
However, something still appealed to me about joining BeMORE. To join a group of people who want to understand to how to give better and in a more meaningful way. I wanted to give in ways that made me think deeply about the recipients, their lives and their experiences.
The BeMORE Experience is a seven week programme on how to give more effectively.
At the end of which, my ‘giving group’ would choose a cause, an area of concern, and a charity that is addressing that specific need, both effectively and sustainably. We would then agree an amount of money to pool together and donate.
You could opt out of the programme at any time, and I could have. At times things were really tight financially for me. I often thought deeply about how I could make the money I had stretch further. But I decided to give as a principle and as principal.
Principle – a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.
Principal – first in order of importance; main.
I wanted to give for both reasons. I wanted to give value, not a greater value than my business or indeed my wife and child. But maybe of equal value. Maybe giving would become as important to me as my family was.
We value lots of things. Our jobs, our friends and family, our endeavors and pursuits. Very often we are told that you cannot have mutually exclusive values. But I disagree. I can value safety and security but I also acknowledge others value these things too and actually I can help them with that.
My belief is that, whatever I have, a portion of it should always be set apart to give to someone else.
Andrew Fisher, in his recent BeMORE podcast To Give or Not to Give: That is the Question mentioned that “if you are earning an average salary for someone who has been university educated in the UK, you have a greater income than 90% of the global population”.
I think in these times of change and uncertainty, it is important to take a moment and make a commitment of how much you will choose to give. It can be 5% or £5. I think the amount is nowhere near as important as the belief that giving, sharing and helping each other is why we exist. That your greatest strength or achievements can only truly be measured in how well they can help to alleviate the suffering of others and our society as a whole.
As a result of BeMORE, I now do two types of giving…
One regular donation each month to causes I strongly believe in. I also decided for everytime I get a takeaway or a coffee or any of life’s little pleasures, I would match that amount and place in my own mini giving fund. Some months there’s a lot more in the fund than others but it allows me to meet giving needs as and when I notice them.
Giving and noticing go hand in hand. It has helped me to be less apathetic, more empathetic and overall much more generous.
How do you measure impact?
I recently saw on a Steve Harvey show a janitor called Mr. Love who saved a little bit of his and his wife’s pay cheques each month. Between them they saved $100 here and $100 there, added income tax refunds and were able to give 4 students $500 bursaries each. He let them know that every dollar of this money came from the end of a broom and a mop. His job only paid $11.68 per hour. But he was able to provide scholarships as if he were either a large institution or a philanthropic donor.
One of students, nearly in tears said, “it wasn’t only that I was able to buy books, but you made me feel that I mattered”.
What is the ripple effect of their actions? Did they help 4 young people or 4 households? What if they pay it forward, and help someone else, how many people will be impacted then?
Giving does more than meet a need. It unlocks possibility and drives a multi-generational domino effect that will touch lives for years to come.
So what creative way can you make a giving fund, and become a modern day philanthropist? Is it rounding up your spare change? Or matching the amount family and friends contribute to an ongoing giving pot you have. Can you sacrifice a birthday and take donations rather than gifts? Be creative and have fun with it. Whatever you choose to do, never feel obligated to the extent you feel you’re not doing enough, or that your bad person for only giving what you have. In the same vein, always keep note in your heart, what can you do to give more next time, and the time after that? The stretch only validated by your own sense of alleviating pain.
In the paraphrased words of the inspirational Mr. Love, “it’s not how much you get on job, it’s the mission you meet with it.”
I wish you all the best in your giving journey!