In the beginning……

This website will give you an overview of the #microdonation idea I am developing and as you scroll down, there are 7 posts to look at. Since March, I publish weekly new posts through Facebook, as I found a greater response there. You do not require a Facebook account to read them: http://www.Facebook.com/FiveDollarFriday and you can also follow me on Twitter @5dollarsFridays

What is 5DollarFriday?

This all started with $7 coffees and the cups they were served in before Christmas. It had me thinking. Is this what our society has become? We can all be a part of a culture that drinks $7 coffee, or we can be a culture of change. Of making our community a better place. Of making the world a better place. Of making ourselves better humans. Join me, as we change the world, one person at a time!I was aware of the power $5 had for a couple of charities so started asking a few more charities what $5 meant to them. Every one I asked, wanted every $5 bill or change they could get. So I decided to start a movement called $5 Friday in hopes to engage people to think about how little it takes to make a difference.

What if today, just today, everyone donated $5 to charity instead of buying a coffee, a beer, lunch, that scarf in the window? Walk into any restaurant on a Monday, and then the same restaurant on a Friday. The restaurant is WAY busier on the Friday!

I am not a charity and you do not donate to 5DollarFriday. My goal is to encourage you to support ANY charity you want. No bucket challenge, no donation per tweet, no walking, giveaways, dream homes, or anything else. Just a microdonation. Some pretty ridiculous words have been added to the dictionary the past few years (YOLO), so this year lets together push microdonation in there by DOING IT. Do I expect you to give up every lunch, or cup of coffee, or pint of beer? No way, you worked hard for your money. I am hoping every once in a while you decide to donate $5 instead of that purchase. I want you to join me in changing the world, one person at a time.

This movement doesn’t matter who you are, or how much money you make because it falls on the power of sharing the spirit….lets call it network marketing for charity, and none of your friends get a cut. If 100 followers or friends of yours on social media each donated a $5 microdonation to a charity THIS WEEK, that is $500. But what if you have 100000 followers? Imagine the impact of $500000 to charity. What if you are not on social media? You can tell your friends. You can tell your coworkers. Make posters, phone them, write them, tell them when you see them, that $5 can change the world.

Think about this….Remember when Ellen Degeneres ‘broke’ the internet? Now imagine if only 1% of her 55.8 MILLION Twitter followers donated $5 to ANY charity they wanted…..once. That is over $2.5 million to charity in ONE day! 

Spread the word. Let’s start talking about the power of 5 loonies or 5 $1 bills, 20 quarters, a fin: In my city, $5 will buy lunch for 5 kids; socks for a homeless person; toiletries for the working poor, or homeless; one and a half dinners for a homeless person; and gloves, underwear and toques for kids that live in shelters as examples. Yes, there are kids living in shelters. I would love to know what $5 will buy for your favourite charity. Ask them!

So today, and every Friday, I want you to think about that 3rd stein of beer you are drinking, or your Starbucks order, or having a cheaper item for lunch, and consider if you have $5 dollars to spare for a charity.

Can $5 make a difference? YES!

Together, we can change the world. We can BUILD SOMETHING TOGETHER. And the best part is, it doesn’t matter WHERE you live, or WHAT your favourite charity is. Donate your $5 wherever you want! And tell your friends!

You can comment on this blog, or @5dollarsfridays or Facebook.com/FiveDollarFriday to share the charity you support! Last week I offered to match the first 10 donations and only had one shared with me, so this week I will match the first 9 donations made!! What are YOU doing to change the world??

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A busy lunch crowd

Sometimes I am asked about the idea behind $5 Friday, and today confirmed it for me. I was out for lunch with a group of co-workers. I was in the same restaurant on Monday with a different group of people, and it was a ghost town. But today, Friday, it was packed.

Friday is the end of the week, and it is obviously a popular time for people to have lunch, a beer after work, or a night out. My group was fairly conservative with most meals in the $15 range, but there were definitely some $25 meals around us. On a day we learned that Calgary has climbed to an 8.4% unemployment rate, there were clearly a whole lot of people enjoying a meal out. Which is why I thought Friday was the perfect day to encourage people to donate $5.

You have the money for a beer, or lunch out, or those new shoes, so could you find $5 to donate to charity today? And because I really want this microdonation idea to grow, I want you to post where you donated $5 to either in the comments on this page, or on the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/FiveDollarFriday/ and I will match the first TEN donations. YOU pick the charity, and make the donation….and then share the link for the rest of us to see so that others can donate as well.

 

 

 

 

Microdonation for $1 million Alex….

Last blog I referred to the power of $5, and what happens if you tell a few friends, who each tell a few friends and so on. But what about the theory that we are all separated by just 6 degrees of separation…..or even less. Who do you know? Who are you connected to?

Lets look at the power of celebrities a little bit more. Ellen Degeneres for example has 24 million followers on her Facebook page, and 55 million followers on Twitter. There are likely too many crossover followers to figure out, but it doesn’t really matter when you see that power even 100 people holds.

If each of my 1100 followers retweeted this blog to Ellen, a very small portion of her 55 million Twitter followers would see it, and they would possibly retweet. Ellen also has staff that are drawn to odd behaviour on social media, so at some point it might catch their attention. But what if only 10% of my followers were to tweet out the message about a #microdonation and #5DollarFriday, that means 110 people shared it. But if all 110 shared it directly with Ellen, and only .2% of her followers saw it, that is 1,100,000 people that can share the word. If only 10% of those people made a donation somewhere, that is an additional $550000 to charity that would not have otherwise been donated. In one week. And Ellen is one person, that happens to support 45 different charities. I bet every one of them would love a $5 donation.

The important thing to realize, is that $5 Dollar Friday IS NOT a charity. I do not want you to send me money, or send money to my favourite charity. And this is why it can be so big to celebrities or those with large number of followers. But it can be equally big to those those do not. Even charities themselves can join the microdonation movement. 

Learn about charities where YOU live. That impact your life, or your neighbours life. Or your friends life. Or that simply makes a difference in your community. Like I said last week, no bucket challenge. No luge race. No walk. This is so much easier.

I am not asking you to give up food on your table to help someone else. I am asking you to change how you think. You don’t need a tax receipt for the 3 coffee you are buying today, so why not buy 2 coffees and donate $5 to a charity? Why not have a a cheaper menu item at lunch and kick the extra $5 to charity?

Lets do this together. Lets change the world. Five dollars at a time.

 

The power of 5, and 5 and 5 and 5

Back in the 80’s, some brilliant marketing company recognized the power of using the beautiful Heather Locklear to teach us that “It was so good, I told two friends about it. And they told two friends. And so on and so on.” And it worked. Now imagine if everyone aware of #5dollarFriday did the same thing?

Lets take it one step further. What role can media play in spreading a movement or influencing people. In the last federal election, Canadians voiced their outrage that Prime Minister Harper manipulated the media limiting journalists access. More recently, the Alberta Government has come under scrutiny for deciding who is worthy of press credentials to attend their press conferences and announcements. Politicians get all sorts of media coverage whether they try to block access or not.

Charities on the other hand do not. In fact, I contacted several people I personally know in the media about my idea and with the website url. I contacted celebrities too. There was no interest. None. YET. This movement is in its infancy; We cannot change the world overnight! But here is a feel good story, that people are often looking for, put in their laps, and I am pretty sure, some did not even bother to click the link to this page. But many of you did. In fact, in 2 weeks, 188 of you did, so thank you!

In particular, one guy studying broadcasting in Vancouver did. One guy, that happened to already have his own podcast with a following. My interviewer likely would not be able to gain access to the Alberta Government press conferences either, but he was one person the thought my idea was important to share. He wanted to know…..could this work in Vancouver. YES! In fact, this can work ANYWHERE! He wanted to know, would I do an interview? Well, as a matter of fact, I would be in Vancouver a few days later, so YES I WOULD!

It was odd for me to sit in a radio studio, staring at a big microphone, sitting across from my interviewer, unsure of what questions I would be asked. He asked about the people sleeping on the street in the rain on our walk to the studio. He asked about the charities, the people, the movement, and the power of a microdonation. My interviewer asked some great questions, and made me feel comfortable to share my vision, my idea, my excitement. To be honest, I haven’t heard the interview myself. But today, the podcast has been released, and segments will air in Vancouver, and hopefully word will travel.

Consider this: One person said they will wait until they get a tax receipt and then donate. I get it, but not the point. Not all of us have the $20 for the tax receipt. Not all of us are conscious enough to commit that $20 at the end of the month. This is about our habits. Noticing the person sleeping on the street corner while you are waiting in the drive-thru for your $5 coffee. Noticing the kid that looks like they haven’t eaten a meal in days. Noticing your neighbour has Meals on Wheels deliver them food. This is about changing the world, $5 at a time, not one tax receipt at a time. Most people will not think twice about their second coffee of the day and that is the point here. It is just $5! You don’t need a tax receipt for your coffee, or lunch, or a beer after work, do you?

About that Heather Locklear commercial. Imagine if you donated $5 every Friday to your favourite charity. Or every second Friday, or once a month, or whenever you felt like it, or could afford it. It doesn’t come to me. You donate to YOUR favourite charity, no strings attached. Now imagine if you told 5 friends. And they told 5 friends. And so on and so on. We could build this into a movement. A MICRODONATION MOVEMENT. We could even call it a bucket challenge….but the bucket is full of $5 bills. We don’t need the media to build this, we just need each other. Imagine if, just today, each of your friends on social media donated $5 just once, and they each told 5 friends. Imagine the POWER OF 5. Where are you going to donate $5 today?

Donated somewhere? Let us all know which charity and why you like them either on Twitter #5DollarFriday or @5dollarsfridays, Facebook.com/FiveDollarFriday/  or comment here.

So about that interview…..you can listen to it here: Agree or Disagree: The Podcast

Help a drop in centre or shelter

The intention of #5DollarFriday and making a #microdonation is that it can be done anywhere, for any charity you want. The goal is to encourage you to donate $5 anywhere, when you can, if you can. It is also about the spirit of helping someone out, paying it forward, changing the world if you will. And it doesn’t need to be $5 but whatever amount you can.

I recently had the opportunity to tour the Calgary Drop In Centre, and it led to several of us pooling some money and handing out $5 gift cards to those suffering homelessness. People were so gracious. Not just for the $5, but because someone took the time to say hi, give them a smile, and treat them like human beings. I admit it, I used to be one of those people that judged. Then I took a tour of the Calgary Drop In Centre.

I think most if not all major cities have a drop in centre. Or two. Or three. Or more. It might be called a rescue centre, a homeless shelter, or something else, but they all generally serve the same purpose. Calgary is a city of about 1.1 million people. There are several different shelters that offer different services to about 3500 different people including Alpha House, the Mustard Seed, Inn From the Cold, and the Womens Shelter, but today I want to share just one of those shelters, although the same message applies for all of them.

The Calgary Drop In Centre is the largest facility of its kind in North America. In 2014, they served 10965 unique individuals. Almost 150000 volunteer hours are donated each year, including by their own clients! In fact, 2366 clients volunteered in areas such as the community garden, housekeeping, and laundry.

I have learned that anyone might end up at the Drop In Centre. It might be a former Broadway actor, an artist, your neighbour, the barista that served you coffee this morning, or even YOU. I learned that there are many reasons for this and no, its not laziness! There are a variety of reasons people end up at the Drop In Centre and they are not all necessarily looking for long term shelter. In fact, 67% of clients stayed less than 1 month.

Some interesting facts:

  • Guests staying on the 4th floor have dorms and are allowed to stay as long as they like as long as they meet certain rules which includes volunteering 20 hours a month and taking steps to improve themselves and their opportunities. Last year, the 4th floor clients donated $1100 of bottle money to the Ronald McDonald House. Are you sure you cannot spare $5 for charity this week?
  • The Calgary Drop In Centre placed 11574 jobs through their employment office
  • They distributed 800 refurbished computers. If you have one to donate they would love to have it: http://thedi.ca/learn/clic
  • 15 At risk youth given apprenticeships at Woodshop through Woodworks program. You can learn more about the Woodshop and items you can purchase: http://woodworks.thedi.ca
  • They gave almost 8000 referrals to outside agencies, government services, alcohol and drug treatment and mental health treatment
  • More than once a week last year, 57 times in fact, they had a client pass away. The average age was 52 years old.
  • More than 15000 people in Calgary are 1 paycheck away from homelessness

“People aren’t born on the street, nor should lives end on the street. With help, it’s where some lives begin. Even small donations can add up and make a big difference.” I could tell you so much more, but insteaed, take two minutes to watch this video: https://www.livesbegin.ca/

Finally, go to http://thedi.ca to learn more or donate. Or donate to your favourite charity. Every $5 makes a difference.

 

What did you have for lunch today?

Hopefully by now, you know a little more about my #microdonation movement and how $5 can change the world. If not, click on the ‘About’ page, and the ‘Lets build a #microdonation movement’ page for the background.

Maybe I am going too big, trying to kick this movement off everywhere at once, but it is just so easy for anyone to do. Do you have a favourite charity? What could they do with a $5 donation? Now what could they do with one hundred $5 donations? Or a thousand? Or ten thousand? I wanted to kick off this campaign with the charity that first showed me how far $5 can go and how valuable every dollar is.

Allow me to introduce to you a charity that would love your $5. They are Brown Bagging It for Calgary Kids. I suspect that no matter what city you are in, there may be a similar charity, and the Salvation Army runs a similar nationwide program, although I have no idea how they resource their donations.

Brown Bagging It focuses on providing a lunch for kids in school, that otherwise may not get one. I think their website, http://bb4ck.org says what they do the best:

“Through the work of community groups and volunteers, we provide lunches for approximately 2,900 kids each day. Lunches are prepared in our main kitchen, and in various other locations by community groups including retirees, parent groups and local businesses.”

How do they find the kids that need it?
“Nourishment is available to any young person who arrives at school without enough to eat. BB4CK works with school staff members to identify needs and to plan how best to make sure hungry students get the nutrition required to think clearly and learn. By enabling better education outcomes, BB4CK gives students a hand up, not just a handout.”

Brown Bagging It is able to produce healthy lunches at a cost of only $1 thank to in-kind partners which can also be found on their website.

So today, I am asking you, what did you have for lunch today? Please consider donating $5 to Brown Bagging It for Calgary Kids. Not only would they love your $5, but they can also accept your old car, or even Air Miles. More information on donating can be found here: http://bb4ck.org/donate-now/

5 bucks can change the world, just 5 bucks!

In 2014, there were 1,195,194 people in my hometown.

Of that, 284931 were 19 and under, and 120199 were 65 and older for a total of 790000 remaining adults.

If I use a 10% poverty level, imagine if the remaining 711000 people each donated $5 to a local charity once a year instead of a Starbucks coffee, or a pint of beer, or a Friday lunch out. Now imagine if your city is Vancouver or Los Angeles, or New York, or even some small town in the middle of nowhere….it works the same no matter where you are!

That works out to over $3.5 million dollars a year to local charity!! FIVE BUCKS!!

So this Friday, and every Friday, I want you to think about that 3rd stein of beer you are drinking, or your Starbucks order, or having a cheaper item for lunch, and consider if you have $5 dollars to spare for a charity.

Think $5 dollars isn’t much? Every week, I will remind you of what $5 can buy. Like 5 lunches for a kid that otherwise won’t have lunch at school. Or 1.5 dinners at the Mustard Seed. Or a special memory from Disneyland for a kid with Dreams Take Flight.

Can $5 make a difference? YES!

Together, we can change the world. Together, we can BUILD SOMETHING TOGETHER. And the best part is, it doesn’t matter WHERE you live, or WHAT your favourite charity is. Donate your $5 wherever you want! And tell your friends!

Don’t forget to ‘like’ the Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/FiveDollarFriday/?fref=ts and follow on Twitter @5dollarsfriday or #5DollarFriday

What are YOU going to do to change the world??