By Jay Staten, SDP Publications Director
Each year about this time, I get a little panicky. Have I done enough about the things that matter most to me? As I go through my mental checklist, I always find things I let slide, didn’t make a commitment to, or just forgot about. For me, this isn’t about listing new resolutions for 2014 (that I will surely drop by Jan. 15), it’s about taking stock of how well I’m doing at keeping promises to myself.
Like most people, I’m watching my pennies—but I still want to contribute. Last year I promised myself to find every way possible I could raise money for my favorite nonprofit organization (SDP) that wouldn’t cost one cent out of my personal pocket. Who knew there were so many ways to do just that online?
- Intrust Bank offers an Affinity VISA card that directly donates to SDP. Because I have to use a credit card for a number of things in business and my personal life anyway—booking flights online, shopping on Amazon, getting gas, etc.—I thought why not donate to SDP at the same time? So I applied for the VISA at www.intrustbank.com/sdp. The card is also a rewards card, so I’m also helping out myself a little! The terms and conditions were comparable to the card I had been using, but this one is much prettier with the SDP logo. This is one of the biggest fundraisers for SDP each year, raising more than $15,000 annually.
- I started doing all my web searches through Good Search. I raised over $20 doing the same searches I used to do through Google. I simply went to www.goodsearch.com, signed up (which didn’t cost anything), chose Society of Decorative Painters as my cause, and then made Good Search my home page. For every web search I do, one cent is donated to SDP. By the way, I get the exact same results from my searches as I do from Google. One thing: Just make sure you are signed in to make your searches count.
- When I plan events with friends and family, I always make sure to check the list of restaurants, museums, and events on Good Search to see if I can add more to my rewards. It’s amazing how many local places are more than willing to contribute to a good cause. Of course, so many of the major companies that I do business with are also on the program, including Amazon, Staples, and Hilton Hotels. I simply pay for the event with my registered credit card. When I buy goods and services from participating organizations, a percentage of my bill is donated to SDP. There are a lot of other ways to raise additional money on the site, such as games, surveys, etc.
- I did some shopping at www.shopformuseums.com. I registered and chose SDP as my nonprofit. So some of my standard gift purchases contribute to SDP as well.
- I also go to the Greater Good site (www.greatergood.com) and “click to donate.” The site has specific pages for support of animal shelters, veterans, literacy, diabetes, autism, hunger, and the rainforest. SDP is not there, but there are other causes to choose.
Last year I promised myself to give more of my hobby-talents to friends and family.
- I kept my promises to friends and family. I even managed to sneak in a few surprises. Last week I completed the baby crib bumpers and painted the head- and footboards prior to my great-niece moving little Harper from the bassinet to the crib.
- I got my mother and grandmother’s quilts labeled and distributed to family members. Who knew how prolific those two women were with their quilting? There must have been thirty-five quilts to distribute—all hand quilted.
- I got all my holiday painting done early this year, which leaves time for more painting. I didn’t paint as much as I wanted throughout most of 2013, but I painted enough to keep my skills intact, and I did manage to feed my creative soul (by the way, everyone’s got one).
So, on the whole, I’m feeling pretty good about 2013. There’s still time to get a few more things done this year, and I managed to get the top things off my list.
My advice: Don’t wait for January to create New Year’s resolutions—there is just too much pressure. Just make a few promises to yourself. One year later, take a look at what you have accomplished. It will make you feel great going into the holiday season!