Today was supposed to be a day of celebration. It was the day that I was to celebrate the launch of this blog, the passion project I spent months creating as a gift to the world to help others find happiness, peace, and ohm.
Instead, I write this with a heavy heart after days of crying and assisting in raising money for various organizations involved in the effort to help the people of Haiti survive the terrible earthquake that happened a few days ago.
You see, I was among the people who could not find family members. My father, sisters and cousins to name a few live in the heart of Port-au-Prince and the days of not knowing if they survived were gut-wrenching. Late last night, I became one of the lucky ones. Miraculously they survived.
I cannot begin to tell the joy and gratitude I felt when I heard my father’s voice. I don’t think any words can fully encapsulate my feelings. Even though he and a few of my family members are sleeping on the streets and in his words “We are sleeping in a cemetery because there are so many dead bodies around us,” I know there are so many more who aren’t as lucky. I still have family members missing but through it all we must go on to support the people of Haiti.
I considered delaying the launch of the site because frankly I felt tired and worn out. However, I know that my weariness does not compare to what the people of Haiti are going through, what the aid workers who are working round the clock and witnessing the devastation are going through. So I use my voice for the millions that are crying and those that are working tirelessly to help them because I know now more than ever every voice is needed.
So instead of lamenting or feeling helpless or sorry I challenge you to give beyond what you thought you could and come up with creative ways to support those in need. Remember, the biggest gift you have to give is yourself so what’s listed below are only a few ideas.
“Do not stand on a high pedestal and take 5 cents in your hand and say, ‘Here, my poor man’, but be grateful that the poor man is there, so by making a gift to him you are able to help yourself. It is not the receiver that is blessed, but it is the giver.” ~Swami Vivekananda
10 Creative Ways You Can Help the People of Haiti
I know you’ve heard it already. But please donate if you haven’t. And if you have ask yourself have you stretched yourself in your giving? If you find that you’ve been holding back give some more.
There are countless organizations that are assisting with the relief efforts.
Here are a few:
>>Yéle – Wyclef Jean’s organization. Text “YELE” to 501501 to donate $5 or you can donate directly by visiting their website. Wyclef is currently in Haiti now and giving a first hand account of the situation. (I have a special challenge below for those of you interested in giving to this organization).
>>Doctors Without Borders – They have set up clinics in Haiti to treat the injured. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have pledged $1 million to their efforts.
>>Haitian Alliance – This organization started The Haiti Earthquake Relief Center. They are currently coordinating shipments of food, medicine, shelter supplies (tents, blankets, etc.) to the millions of people affected by the quake.
>>Soles for Souls – Shoes are critical at a time like this especially given the amount of debris (broken glass, metal, sewage etc) that they have to walk through. This organization committed to providing hundreds of thousands of new boots and shoes to help with the rescue effort.
A great list of organizations you can give to can be found on fashion photographer Nick Zantop’s blog. He also dispels the many rumors that are flying around that hinder the relief effort.
2. Talk to your Company about Matching Donations
Find out if your company will match your donation. Many companies are matching 100% of their employee’s gift. This can easily double what you give. Remember every dollar counts so find out. If your company is not offering such a program ask them to consider doing it.
3. Start a Challenge
Instead of always looking to companies to make a difference realize you can also make a difference yourself. A great way is to match someone’s gift yourself. You can choose a specific amount. For example you can say the next person who donates $25 to the Red Cross you will match or even double their gift.
4. Offer Your Service for Free or at a Discount
Everyone has gifts. Whatever your gift or gifts may be find a way to use it to be of service to others. You can do an exchange, so if someone donates a certain dollar amount or whatever you choose you will give them something of value for free. You can also choose to host an event or even throw a benefit concert.
5. Motivate Your Community
Yes, we can all stay hidden behind our computer screens but one of the lessons of this crisis is that we need one another. So get out of your house or office and meet with other people who are dedicated to the effort. Find out what’s going on locally in your community. If you are in areas that have large Haitian communities like New York and Florida there will be countless places to go.
On Sunday, I will be participating in a benefit concert at Agape for Haiti. If you live in the Los Angeles Area please join me there. For more info click here.
Please list other community happenings in the comments and share with your friends on social networking sites.
6. Make a list
Spend time and make a list of the people you can contact and ask to help. Send texts, emails, and make phone calls. Picking up the phone will get you the most immediate response as you will be connecting directly with that person.
Remember to also appeal to your friends and followers. Think about if you have 200 friends if they each donate $10 that’s $2,000 and if they ask their friends to do the same it creates a domino effect for change.
7. Stay Consistent, Committed, and Updated
This is extremely important. In the coming days and weeks other things will inevitably become news (including non-news) and overshadow this tragic event. When the media moves on it may be easy to forget what is going on in Haiti. However, this situation needs long-term attention and care. In order to make a lasting change we must keep this at the forefront of our minds so make a pact with yourself to stay consisted, committed and updated. A few ideas:
>>Brainstorm ways on how you will keep helping.
>>Find a group to join that shares your commitment or start your own.
>>Make a pact with your friends to find ways to keep giving.
8. Appeal to Influencers
Influencers are people who have huge followings. This can be a company, person or a group. A great way to get an immediate response from influencers is to contact them on social media sites like twitter and facebook. If these influencers are people are not talking about Haiti and have not asked their followers to do something send them a message. (Especially if you spend money buying their products or services.) Influencers are typically very busy so make it easy for them and ask them to retweet something. Please note that since these people get lots of messages you may have to do it a few times to get their attention.
9. Adopt a Miracle Mindset
Our thoughts have immediate power and effect. With all the grim images and footage that are being shown by the media it is even more important to remember that miracles happen everyday.
My father told me that he should have died and was in fact working a few doors down from the Presidential Palace but he didn’t and that’s a miracle.
Yes, thoughts of the worse may enter your mind but every time they do make a decision to shift your focus to one of peace and healing.
Scheduling a few minutes at the beginning and the end of the day to send healing and love energy to the people of Haiti will go a long way. You can do this by closing your eyes and picture sending love to Haiti.
10. Support Tweeters for Haiti
There are so many people who have shown extreme compassion about what is occurring in Haiti. This list only encompasses a few of the people who have been supporting the effort non-stop. Supporting people who are not only passionate but committed to action will help you stay motivated.
Please share other tweeters for Haiti we should follow in the comments section.
In the spirit of helping our brothers and sisters in Haiti I am doing a special challenge. I also ask you to do the same with on your website and with your friends.
The first person who donates $50 to Yele or Red Cross and does the following 3 things listed below, I will double their gift i.e. donate $100. In addition, a friend of mine has offered to match your $50 gift and another friend will match my $100 gift. So this will be a total of $300 donated to Yele. (Don’t forget to email your receipt.)
1) Comment at the bottom of this post about why giving to Haiti is important to you and what you are committed to do to help.
2) Retweet this article to your friends on twitter. Use the retweet button located at the top of this post so I can easily track it. Be sure to personalize it and add #Yele and @yelehaiti at the end of the message to let other Yele supporters know or for Red Cross add @redcross.
3) Share this article on facebook, digg or any other social bookmarking site you are a member of.
If you’re looking for your family in Haiti or know someone who is please click here.
This blog is about getting back to who you truly are and liberating yourself in every way and one of the most powerful ways to do this is through giving. Please share your giving ideas and thoughts on the events in Haiti in the comments section. Also, if you, your company are doing something to assist the effort list it below. I’d love to hear from you.
If you liked this post please help by spreading the word. Share it with your friends on Twitter and Facebook.