Day of Giving causes some mixed feelings. I get it. The well-coordinated media campaign always energizes me, and as I hear Wabash success stories, track the money-raising efforts on the game that is the Day of Giving website and load up my backpack with cool, new Wabash swag, I can’t help but feel a sense of loyalty, duty and generosity to my school.
That all stops when I look at my bank account.
“Here’s $4.19,” I sheepishly say, as I collect my free ObviousShirts™ tee and water bottle.
Because no matter how much we might want to donate money to Wabash, we’re all still just college students. Even though 100% of Wabash students receive some sort of financial aid (per 2022 data released to IPEDS), very few of us are currently at a stage in life where we have a ton of disposable income lying around. As cool as it would be to have the stage in Ball Theater named after me, I’m afraid we’re still several years out from that.
I won’t spend characters here convincing you of the benefits of philanthropy including, but not limited to, helping others, contributing to a culture of benevolence and feeling a sense of self-satisfaction.
But for those who feel like money—or a lack thereof—is a major obstacle to their philanthropic pursuits, there’s good news.
There’s a concept known as the three Ts of philanthropy: time, talent and treasure. “Treasure” is the sector of philanthropy we’re all familiar with, because it’s the one that gets its own website tracking live donations from students, alumni and friends of the college. It’s what always comes to mind when we think of philanthropy, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Money pays for stuff. But money alone doesn’t accomplish anything.
I am a big proponent of the forgotten Ts, the real action behind philanthropy.
There are many ways you can use your talent to give to others. Have tech experience? Help a brother in your house or living unit with wifi connectivity issues. Lord knows there are plenty of them to go around. Have skills with audio equipment? Try working on a show or performance in the Fine Arts Center. Use your graphic design expertise to make flyers promoting healthy life practices with the Public Health Organization.
There are plenty of ways to use the talents that are unique to you in creative ways that give back to your community. And those are just a few ideas here on campus. For more, contact your local community foundation or a non-profit that speaks to you. Lots of Wabash students translate at the Free Clinic in town or walk dogs for the Animal Welfare League.
And if all else fails, the easiest thing you can give is your time. Everyone can give it, because everyone has it. You don’t have to have any skills or money to volunteer at a food pantry, spend time chatting with a senior citizen or even answer the phones for a donation drive like the Day of Giving.
At the end of the day, it’s all about paying it forward and finding a way to make an impact on those around you. And by paying it forward, I don’t mean with your checkbook. If you look up and look around, you’ll find countless opportunities to use your time and talent—as well as your treasure—to make a difference.