Don't be a snake! Donate!



-- please place a link to this page on your site and feel free to steal the whole page if you want to do something similar on your own site --

be a hero

It will take you 20
minutes to read this page.

By the time you're finished,
you could be a hero.

Imagine, if you will. . .
You're driving and already late for a meeting with a client. You see a small child drowning in a shallow pond next to the road. If you stop to save the child, you know you will lose the sale and a $500 commission.

Do you stop to help, or keep on driving?

If you decide to stop and save the child, some would call you a hero. But you would probably just reply:

"It's what any caring person would do."

But the truth is. . .
A scenario just like this happens to each of us every day. . . and we just keep on driving.

How is this possible?

Every day, thousands of children starve to death or die of easily curable diseases. We could do our part to save them, but we don't.

Did you know that $200 could save the life of one of these children? It's true. Incredibly, that's enough money to provide food and medical care for an infant to get through the most treacherous stage of his or her life.

Does it really make a difference that we don't SEE these children every day? We know they exist.

Does it really make a difference what color these children's skin is?

Or where they were born?

Most of us would save the child in the shallow pond, even if it cost us $500, so why won't we reach into our pocket to save a child for less than half that amount?

I have provided links at left to sites where you can help. It's so easy to do. Whether you can afford just $20 or $20,000, you can do it in a matter of minutes by using your credit card or debit card.

Why I'm doing this. . .
I started thinking about all of this when I was considering buying new wheels (not tires, mind you) for my car and it occurred to me what a ridiculous luxury it was to spend $500 on what amounts to jewelry for my car.

A few weeks later, I was seriously thinking about spending $3,500 to build a Battlebot to compete on television.

Luckily, my friend Diane Becker gave me a well-written book that started to change my perception. I realized in time how fortunate and abundant my life must be to have money to spend for such nonsense. And I'm not even close to wealthy! (I make less money than many of my friends.)

I thought about how many lives I could save with that money. I thought a lot about it. I thought so much that it hurt my head.

So I spent weeks researching the subject, reading everything I could. I learned that more than 1.2 billion people live on less than $1 a day. I gradually came to the conclusion that in a world of plenty, poverty is unacceptable. Doing nothing was no longer an option for me.

Of course, I didn't want to make any changes to my life because things had been working out pretty well up until now. I was actually afraid of becoming a better person.

A chapter in that book helped me to take the next logical step. And when my trembling hands finally, hesitantly, clicked that mouse button that sent all my hard-earned Battlebot and wheel money to my favorite charity, Mercy Corps, a sudden calm came over me.

I suddenly felt certain of my decision. I felt more important than I ever have before. I felt powerful and significant. So I kept giving, whenever and however I could.

I would never look into the eyes of the children whose lives I saved, never hear their words of gratitude or feel their embrace.

But I would forever have the satisfaction of knowing that there are people on this earth alive because I cared enough to make a small sacrifice. For the loss of a ridiculous remote-controlled fighting machine, and some extravagant dinners out, numerous lives were saved.

The bottom line. . .
I'm not saying we should give away all our money, but that maybe we should at least reconsider some of the things we do spend our money on.

Have you ever bought something on impulse that you really didn't need and may never even use? Would you still buy it next time, knowing that 64 cents equals one week of life? That $34 equals one YEAR of life?

Would you rather get another television set, or save the life of a child? That may sound like a ridiculous question, but really it's just the answer that's ridiculous.

I know what you're thinking: How do I know my money will go to the right places?

The fact is: there are charity watchdog organizations that rate them based on what percentage of donations goes to aid and what percentage to administration (among other things).

I like Mercy Corps because I agree with their aid strategy, they have a 4-star rating, they value your privacy, and better than 91% of donations go directly to aid. Some other charities are just as good.

The best international aid charities like Mercy Corps subscribe to the "teach them how to fish and feed them for a lifetime" approach.

Whatever objection you can think of to avoid doing your part to end poverty, I've probably already thought of it, because I am one of the world's biggest skeptics.

My favorite excuse was the nagging voice that said that maybe ending poverty isn't always good, because by helping to extend some people's lives you may be creating more problems in the long term than you solve in the short term.

After researching the subject extensively, I discovered that this is simply not true. In fact, as charitable donations rise, long-term problems decrease. This is partly because healthy citizens are more prosperous and partly because a good portion of your money goes to education, community programs, and public policy, all of which reduces birthrates and decreases suffering.

In fact, I discovered that none of the objections I came up with held water.

An offer you can't refuse. . .
The fact is that YOU can save lives, literally with your spare change. And the educational programs these organizations provide will help to ensure that the cycle of poverty doesn't continue.

Please take a few minutes to review the top-rated charities (they are arranged in categories and can be sorted by rating), and see which one suits you.

Of course, maybe you would rather support Animal Welfare Institute (* * * *), or Conservation International (* * * *) or maybe you would rather donate to a charity that helps Americans, like Big Brothers/Big Sisters (* * * *) or the Jewish Fund (A-rated by another charity site). That's great too.

You can even "adopt an acre" of rainforest for just $75.

I like international aid charities because I think that's where the greatest need is. But there are literally hundreds of possibilities. The important thing is to pick one and make it happen right now.

Here's the offer I promised. . .
Still not motivated? How about if I DOUBLE the effectiveness of your donation?

Anyone who makes a donation to ANY of the top-rated charities and forwards to me their e-mail donation receipt (or any verification), I will MATCH their contribution (up to $3,000) until the end of 2004. I'll even send you my receipt as proof (some of us are skeptics, after all).

That means your $100 contribution becomes $200; your $1,000 contribution, $2,000 (and yes, even your $10 contribution becomes $20). So copy and send this link:


to all your friends and let's get that money rolling in!

How's that for an offer you can't refuse?

Conclusion. . .
If you found out you were dying tomorrow, would you look back on your life as one of significance? Helping these charities is the easiest and most-effective way I know of to make an impact on the world.

One person CAN make a difference.

Are you the kind of person who just talks the talk, or the kind of person who walks the walk? Take a few minutes to visit the sites listed at left and you can answer that question right now.

How much you donate depends on how much you believe in a Solution to World Poverty, but here are a few suggestions that may spark your imagination:

1. Donate a little out of each paycheck. It's so easy to make donations online that giving $10, $20, or $50 a week only takes a few minutes. It's also very satisfying to do it so often.

2. Donate a lump sum of "found money," like part or all of: a tax refund, an unexpected or larger-than-usual commission, a company bonus, or the proceeds from the sale of your home.

3. Look at how much you have in the bank or an investment portfolio and determine what percentage (5 percent? 10 percent? 20 percent?) you could give right now without really feeling much of a sting. Do the same thing once a year.

4. Donate an amount equal to (half of?) what you spend on really extravagant things like stereo equipment, ski vacations, expensive wine, or wheels for your car. If you can afford these things, isn't it true that you can afford to help others as well?

Better yet, you decide. This is NOT an all-or-nothing proposition. Giving even a dollar will help. Do what feels right to you.

Just don't do what's comfortable to you. Because this process is all about taking you out of your comfort zone to a better place than you have ever been.

You may have to do without some of the real necessities of life, like a Palm Pilot, a subscription to Maxim, a $150 pair of shoes, or a new web-enabled cell phone, but that's what sacrifice is all about isn't it?

Be a hero. "It's what any caring person would do."


P.S. Don't feel like you can justify donating money? You can volunteer for many of these organizations. Or. . . you could still save a life by becoming a bone marrow donor. In fact, I'll pay for your tissue-typing ($50 to $100) --just contact me--and I'll also donate $100 to Mercy Corps for anyone who sends me proof that they signed up to be a donor. The risks are minimal and the reward is the highest there is: you could save a life.

P.P.S. At the VERY least, become an organ donor and I'll donate $20 to Mercy Corps in your honor.

Consumer Information Bureau 2002 bruce hurley