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Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to be thankful for all that we have, and to help those who are less fortunate. Here at USAID CIDI, we also think it is a good opportunity to reflect on how we give – today and throughout the year – and what gifts make the most impact.




Our mission at USAID CIDI is to encourage monetary donations to trusted relief organizations on this day and throughout the year to maximize our collective impact, particularly when donating in the wake of a natural or complex emergency. We know from experience that monetary donations to trusted relief organizations enable relief workers on the ground to provide more people with what they need, when they need it.

To share with our readers why we at USAID CIDI feel so passionately about giving monetary donations, we have compiled a series of blogs that share the personal reasons why we give cash. Below, you will find our first posting from our Director Juanita Rilling, who reminds us that BOGO is more than just a holiday shopping perk. Enjoy Juanita’s take below and stay tuned for perspectives from the rest of our team leading up to Giving Tuesday!

 I love a free gift with purchase. My home is a shrine to freebies, from a colorful collection of sample-sized cosmetics to bags of flavored coffee to BOGO pairs of shoes, I love getting extra goodies from a single buy.

This is also why I donate cash to relief organizations. In the hands of experienced, reputable relief organizations, monetary donations save thousands of lives and bring ancillary benefits too. Charitable organizations use cash donations to purchase needed supplies locally, which saves thousands of dollars in transportation costs, leaves no carbon footprint and supports local merchants, which speeds economic recovery. Local purchases also ensure that goods are fresh and familiar to survivors, culturally appropriate and, in the case of equipment, locally supportable. And funding that might have been spent on transportation of goods can be used to support more survivors. Even tiny cash donations combine to achieve these BOGO impacts, in addition to supporting disaster-affected people.

In contrast, material donations are one-dimensional. For example, Katherina Rosqueta, executive director of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania, explains that food banks can get what they need for “pennies on the dollar.” She estimates that they pay about 10 cents a pound for food that would cost $2 per pound retail. Faced with the choice of feeding a family for $1 or donating a single can valued at $1 – wait – is this even a choice? I’ll give $5 or more because I want my donation to do as much good as possible. Helping more people is the best free gift.

 

Feeling sad that summer is coming to an end? That’s normal! Instead, think about all the memories you and friends will make and share during this school year. Or what about all the new faces you’ll soon learn to love? It’s not all that bad. Actually, it’s pretty great!

My name is Lauren Chatman, and I am the new Social Media Specialist for the Center for International Disaster Information at USAID. Although I am no longer physically in a classroom I am in a new, active learning environment every day. I live by the saying, “I have always loved school, and therefore, I will forever be a student.” Isn’t it amazing the effect that time has on your perception of things? Last year at this time, I was gearing up for the final semester of my undergrad career and now I am reflecting on the many contributions to my success in school, and hopefully, in life. Please join me in Part One of a three part blog series highlighting the “back-to-school” season

The  first day of school can forecast the rest of the year, depending on how you look at it. Put another way, your perspective of your first day in class can create your attitude about the upcoming year in a positive or negative way. What will you decide?

There are a number of things I found during my time at school that lead to a successful school year:

Getting enough rest: Getting 8 to 9 hours of rest helps you stay alert so you don’t miss anything vital on the big day . Being well rested can result in you boosting your brainpower and making better daily decisions.

Eating a healthy breakfast: Breakfast is also a way to recharge the brain and body causing you to be more efficient throughout the day. Eating a well-balanced breakfast in the morning ensures you’ll be able to not only concentrate but also perform better in the classroom . So not only are you well rested you’re pretty full too.

Preparing your clothes the night before: Whether you’re returning to class in uniform or in style, nothing helps to smooth the morning panic of getting ready like being prepared. This forces you to not only identify but eliminate any issues up and coming.

New school supplies: Having color-coordinated or thematic supplies or a fresh pack of pens and paper is exciting and functional! Having brand new materials can spark your enthusiasm and creativity and encourages organization . Not only does having your supplies help in confidence, but, colors also help establish familiarity, recognition, and symbolism.

Bright eyes and bushy tails:  School comes just in time to rescue us from the last days of summer, refreshed and renewed from the sun and the time off. You’re full of energy and eager for new adventures after a fun-filled, busy summer. Channel that energy!

With memories of undergrad studies fresh in my mind and back-to-school season approaching, I can’t help but to have some mixed emotions. As I look back on all the things I considered vital to a successful school year, not one was more important than another. They all can mold us into the successful students we want to be .

And not surprisingly, I’m finding that they work in the post-graduate world as well! Getting enough rest, well balanced breakfast, having the right materials, and so on are all essential to success in the wider world as well. Can you imagine how hard it might be to reach your full potential without doing one or two of the things listed? If not, lucky you, but I bet most people would agree. Stay tuned for blog post #2 where we discuss the importance of helping others where help is needed.

It was a pleasure meeting you– see you soon and best of luck to you in the new school year!