Do It Yourself Videos: Want to whistle with your fingers? Fillet a pike?

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Do It Yourself Videos

You Tube video how to whistle with your fingersA Note from Dr. Wayne Baker: This week, please welcome back the popular OurValues columnist Terry Gallagher. Thanks, Terry!

After I was able to get my ancient lawnmower running again, thanks to some free advice I picked up watching how-to videos on the web, I could hardly contain myself, bragging to anybody who would listen.

The next day, I was boasting to a mechanic at my local service station; after working on my cars for years, he would be especially surprised to hear that I got a stalled motor running again.

He gave me a funny look, and said the thing happened to him. No, not a clogged carburetor, but a snapping turtle he had caught inadvertently while fishing.

Just as I did, he turned to YouTube, where he found a video of a couple of “good old boys” showing how to clean and cook a turtle. The next day, he was eating turtle soup.

Since then, everyone I’ve run into tells me about learning to tackle a new skill after watching how-to videos on YouTube.

Two different people told me they learned to fillet a Northern pike.

Another friend says he learned how to do the fingers-in-the-mouth whistle.

Last winter, I replaced burned-out bulbs in a 1970s-vintage stereo receiver, and reattached a wheel on my snow-thrower.

All of this user-generated instructional material on the web must have some economic value. At some level, people are saving money, mastering new skills, fixing old things and putting them back into service.

But what’s in it for the people who create this stuff? Is it an ego trip? Or simple generosity?

Have you ever made a video like this? If so, please tell us about it.

HOW TO WHISTLE WITH YOUR FINGERS

HOW TO FILLET A PIKE

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: You can read more than 100 of Terry Gallagher’s past columns by clicking on this link. And Please, we always invite you to comment (below) or to share this column on Facebook (use the blue-“f” icons).

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Doing Good: Why do the poor give more than the rich?

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Doing Good

Money falling into a pileNOTE FROM DR. WAYNE BAKER: Have you told a friend about Gayle Campbell’s fascinating series about the ways Americans are “doing good”—or, rather, the ways we think we’re doing good? It’s easy to share these columns with the social media icons on this page. Here is her fourth of five parts …

Yesterday, we learned that Americans generally donate around 2% of their discretionary income to charity. The number is a far cry from the 10% often encouraged by charities and religious organizations.

We could point to plenty of reasons for the discrepancy—tight finances and a tough economy would likely top the list. But that doesn’t seem to stop low-income households in the U.S. from giving.

Did you know that low-income households tend to donate a much larger share of their discretionary income than the wealthy?

In 2011, Americans in the top 20% income bracket contributed 1.3 percent of their income to charity, while Americans in the bottom 20% donated 3.2 percent of their income. The Atlantic Magazine calls this “one of the most surprising, and perhaps confounding, facts of charity in America.”

What gives?

Some experts have speculated that the wealthy are simply less generous, and as wealth increases, compassion, altruism and ethical behavior decrease. What’s more—a study at The Chronicle of Philanthropy found that wealthy individuals who live in affluent areas are less likely to give than those who live in more socioeconomically diverse areas.

Simply put: When the rich don’t see the poor, their inclination to give decreases.

Research by social psychologist Paul Piff, over the last several years, generally supports this argument. Want to hear from Piff? Here’s a 16-minute TED talk by Piff titled “Does Money Make You Mean?”

The percentage of income donated isn’t the only major difference in how the rich and poor are giving. The wealthy tend to direct their donations not to the needs of the poor, but to other causes including cultural institutions or universities (often alma maters.) The poor, on the other hand, tend to give to religious organizations and social-service charities.

What do you think? We’d love to hear your experiences!
Are you surprised to hear to hear those with the least are giving the most?
Does increased wealth often lead to decreased compassion?
Why aren’t the rich giving to charities that primarily serve the poor?

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Categories: Getting AheadUncategorized

Doing Good: What 10 percent could do

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Doing Good
Chronicle of Philanthropy Stubborn 2 percent

Click this preview image to visit the Chronicle of Philanthropy and read the entire report.

NOTE FROM DR. WAYNE BAKER: This week, Gayle Campbell is exploring the ways we think we’re doing good. Here is the third of her five parts …

10% is the number we often hear in conversations on charitable giving. The origins of the figure date back to ancient times, when kings or rulers often mandated civilians pay a tenth of their goods or income to be offered as a sacrifice to the gods, or maintain the kingdom. In many religious traditions today, members are asked to “tithe,” or give back a tenth of their income to God.

On average, however, Americans generally give away just 2 percent of their disposable income, according to Giving USA, an annual report conducted by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. That’s a sizeable difference from the 10% giving level often suggested by charities and churches.

So, what could change if more of us gave our money away?

Giving What We Can, the organization we covered yesterday, gives us one example: “If the average US citizen gave 10% of his or her income to the Against Malaria Foundation, then each year it could distribute 700 mosquito nets, preventing 190 cases of malaria and 2.2 deaths. This would amount to saving 90 lives over the course of his or her life.”

Mike Holmes, of TitheHacker.com, points out that if all Christians tithed 10%, there would be an additional $165 billion for churches to use and distribute, and over the course of five years, hunger, starvation and death from preventable disease could be relieved, illiteracy eliminated and the world’s water and sanitation crisis solved.

Curious what kind of difference you could make by giving 10%? Check out this calculator to see how many lives you could save by donating 10%.

We want to hear from you!
Do you prioritize charitable giving in your finances? What keeps you motivated?
Are you surprised to hear what the world could look like if everyone gave?

PLEASE TELL FRIENDS …

You know what to do! Use those blue-“f” Facebook icons and other social-media buttons to invite friends to read along with you this week!

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Doing Good: Is the ALS Icebucket Challenge truly good?

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Doing Good

Muppets Kermit the Frog takes the ALS Ice Bucket challengeNOTE FROM DR. WAYNE BAKER: Please welcome back guest writer Gayle Campbell. I’ll tell you more about Gayle at the close of today’s column. Here is the first of her five parts on “Doing Good” …

By now, you’ve certainly seen it exploding across your social media feeds: Friends, dumping buckets of ice water on their heads, and challenging their friends to do the same. The Ice Bucket Challenge is a social campaign designed to raise awareness and funds for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gerhig’s disease), a fatal neurodegenerative disease.

Celebrities from former President George W. Bush to Bill Gates to Lady Gaga have all partaken in the challenge, which has brought in over $53 million in donations for the ALS Foundation, compared to $2.2 million they raised in the same time period last year.

The marketing seems brilliant: Succumb to peer pressure to prove your altruism, or face judgment from your peers.

And it’s clearly working: Facebook announced last week that more than 28 million users were talking about the challenge and 2.4 million Ice Bucket Challenge videos were shared on Facebook between June 1 and August 17.

But it’s this same logic that’s caused the campaign to be criticized by some as “Slacktivism”—online engagement that requires very little time, effort or money, offering participants the satisfaction of doing good without actually making much of an impact. One blogger even argues that participation in a feel-good cause like the Ice Bucket Challenge might lead one to compensate by doing fewer good actions in the future, an effect known as moral self-licensing.

Criticism aside, it’s hard to argue with the over 2,000% increase in donations to the ALS Association, which will be used to fund global research for treatment and a cure for the disease that affects approximately 30,000 Americans.

What do you think? We want to hear from you!

Have you participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge? If so, what motivated you to get on board?
If you’ve avoided the campaign, why?
Do you think the challenge promotes activism, or “slactivism”?

COME ON …
WATCH A FEW MORE COOL VIDEOS

KERMIT FACES THE DELUGE …

TINA FEY RESPONDS …

AND ONE FROM THE AMERICAN HEARTLAND …

PLEASE TELL FRIENDS …

You know what to do! Use those blue-“f” Facebook icons and other social-media buttons to invite friends to read along with you this week!

CARE TO READ MORE FROM GAYLE CAMPBELL?

Long-time readers of OurValues may recall that Gayle Campbell once was Media Director of our online project. A University of Michigan grad, today, she’s a professional communicator in Washington D.C., working in the fields of international development and exchange. Gayle occasionally returns to write on millennial matters, social justice issues and doing good. Click here to enjoy her earlier columns in OurValues. (If you click here, you’ll see today’s column at the top of the new page, but you can then scroll down to read 10 more).

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Categories: Pursuit of HappinesRespect

Civil Dialogue: Everyday philanthropy?

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Civil Dialogue
the live civilly approach

Click the graphic to learn more about live civilly inc.

Dialogue is words. Dialogue is action.

Everyday philanthropy is the idea that we are surrounded each day with countless opportunities to give. I learned the concept from live civilly, inc.—a community movement that began as a family project in 2009. I discussed live civilly in an earlier column. It was initiated by three young sisters who saw homelessness and hunger around them and wanted to do something about it. Today, we check back in with them to see how the movement has grown.

Does this model inspire you to do the same?

Civility starts young. Part of the mission of live civilly, inc. is to create opportunities for young children to get involved and serve their community.

“Harnessing the energy and desire of the sisters, the Buss family developed live civilly, inc. as an effort to engage children ages 5-15 in meaningful service opportunities. The evolution began in 2011 with the incorporation of the organization and since that time, through partnerships with many local and regional organizations, live civilly has embraced its slogan, ‘…people helping people, helping people helping people…’ ”

Formally incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit, the Moorestown, New Jersey, organization has expanded exponentially. (Moorestown is across the river from Philadelphia.) For example, the organization has developed relationships with the department of parks and recreation, public library, public schools, garden club, Habitat for Humanity, and many corporate partners and individuals to establish a “web of assistance.”

New programs have been established, such as the ExCELS Snack Program, the Summer Lunch Program, the ExCELS Homework Help Program, HELP Programs, Community Supported Garden programs, and much more. Every program engages children in outreach. “By providing support and strength to all members of a community we build bridges to span the chasms of inequality, misunderstanding, and indifference.”

The live civilly approach has matured and developed over time. It addresses a hierarchy of human needs: nutritional security, educational security, and life skills security. These programs “empower young people to care for themselves, care for one another and become proactive members within their communities.”

Do you engage in everyday philanthropy?

What’s it like in your community?

How could you adapt the live civilly model?

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Global Pay It Forward: Will Unsung Hero surpass Gangnam Style?

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Pay It Forward Day

Unsung Hero viral videoDoing good deeds without expectation of return is a universal principle. Stories of paying it forward abound, and millions more are expected this week as we approach International Pay It Forward Day this Thursday.

Do you know the story of the Unsung Hero?

Unsung Hero was released on YouTube earlier this month and it’s been viewed 11 million times already. That’s more than Gangnam Style achieved in its first month. The Korean pop-music video eventually topped 2 billion views, making it the Number 1 most watched YouTube video in history. If Unsung Hero continues to get views at its current rate, it will eclipse Gangnam Style.

I invite you to view the 3 minute video and tell us what you think. Be forewarned: It’s a tearjerker. Not because it’s sad, but because it’s so positive and heartwarming.

In the video, the unnamed hero is just an ordinary guy. He helps an elderly street vendor with her heavy cart, gives money to a mother and daughter who beg on the streets, feeds a street mongrel, and more. Why does he do it? What does he get out of it? Take a look and tell us your opinion.

Oh, one more thing. The video is an official video of Thai Life Insurance. The firm has a history of making such videos.

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What’s your reaction to “Unsung Hero”?

Does it matter that it’s made by a for-profit corporation?

Would you “pay it forward” by sending today’s post (with the video link) to someone in your network? Use the links in the upper right to share via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, for your email.

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Categories: Uncategorized

International Pay It Forward Day: Acts of kindness by the millions?

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Pay It Forward Day
Pay It Forward Foundation logo

CLICK on the Pay It Forward Foundation logo to visit the group’s website for updates on the launch of this year’s big day.

Global Pay It Forward Day is this Thursday. Over 500,000 people in 60 countries have signed on to participate. On Thursday, each will do 1-to-3 random acts of kindness “with no expectations other than the recipient in turn does a favor for someone else.” If each participant does an average of 2 good deeds—that’s 1 million random acts of kindness in a single day.

If each recipient of a good deed pays it forward just once, we now have 2 million random acts of kindness in a day. The organizers of “International Pay It Forward Day” are hoping for even more than that.

Do you believe it will happen?

The Pay It Forward movement is worldwide. Kindness is a universal virtue. But America is the only nation that ranks kindness as its #1 character strength, according to research by the VIA Institute that I discuss in United America. Paying it forward also taps one of America’s 10 core values: justice and fairness. Paying it forward is a form of fairness and balance in human relations.

Why do people pay it forward? Why help someone who hasn’t helped you? It’s “human nature,” you might say. But so is selfishness. Paying it forward doesn’t make sense when people are selfish, taking favors but never paying them back or forward.

Evolutionary biologists have an explanation: strategic reputation building. The reason we are willing to help those who haven’t helped us is because others are watching. Others won’t help us if they perceive us to be stingy. They will help us if we appear to be kind and generous. But we’re not really kind and generous, according to this theory. Rather, we act that way in anticipation of future benefits.

I’ve never liked that answer. Alternative explanation is one that I’ve seen time and time again when I use the Reciprocity Ring™ group activity: positive emotions. You help me and I feel the positive emotion of gratitude, which motivates me to then help someone else. We pay it forward because we are grateful for help we received.

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Is there any proof? There is. My colleague Nat Bulkley and I conducted a massive study to test both the positive emotions and reputation explanations. We found that both matter, but positive emotions have a stronger and longer lasting effect than reputation. Our article was just accepted for publication in the scholarly journal Organization Science. (If you’d like to read the paper, you can get it on my personal web site.)

Do you have a Pay It Forward story to tell?

Do you believe 1 million random acts of kindness with take place this Thursday?

Will you commit to be a participant?

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Categories: Uncategorized