Giving Small

       Don't Have a Cow!¬†¬†Give a Cow to Someone Who Needs It

Weekly update newsletter is being moved. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

* Starting to Float Away - The End is in Sight

Photo: She Handles Like a Cow

Kaptain Krispy Kreme via flickr
(Creative Commons license)

This morning I opened my mail to find another donation - this time from Celeste Delahey. Our sons have been on the same soccer team forever it seems and I sent her a link to this blog and hoped she'd have a good chuckle. Thanks so much for donating.

I can almost believe that I'll make it by May 3.

The good news continued today. After school, when Julie arrived home, she shouted - "Mom, come here". A secret "Give a Cow" supportor left some cans and bottles on my front step to the tune of $7.90. Wooo!

This brings the grand total collected to $272.78

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* Moo-stake, Almost

Jeff's Martini Bar

ewan via flickr
Creative Commons license

On Friday, I was talking to my friend Cheryl on the phone and she asked if I had gotten the bottles that she dropped off. I thought she meant early that week and replied "No". She said - was I sure? She had left a special note on the bottles that said "Moooo!" and put them on front step - she thought it was my house. We both burst out laughing imaging someone finding this by moo-stake on their front step.

Turns out the joke was on me. She had dropped them off just a couple of hours before we talked, so there they were safe and sound on the front step.

Thanks Cheryl ... for the great laugh and the bottles. I think I needed a Moo Take Two!

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

* Don't Miss Any of the Cow Updates - Sign Up Now

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Find out about the almost "moo - stake" and whether Darlene will reach her goal by May 3.

* The MOOOOOO Martini

Jeff's Martini Bar

Jeff buying a giant martini for the cow.

It's not everyday that someone buys a "cow" a martini. Not only did Jeff buy the cow a martini, but he supersized it and bought the cow project a $50 martini. You'll notice the Chipin widget on the side menu shows the new total raised jumped to $60.
With Jeff's generous support, we have now raised $251.00.

Thanks Jeff. The "cow" is a wee bit wobbly but thanks you too.

Jeff has tagged Frank Cervone to buy a latte for the cow!

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Friday, April 25, 2008

* How Do You Get 3000 Bottles in 5 Weeks?

Dr. Simpson in his office

Dr. Simpson at Circle Centre Chiropractic Clinic

You have to ask for help. That's not something most of us do that often. You have to ask more than your close friends. You ask a lot a lot of folks including your chiropractor and you hope they catch the spirit - that it's fun and useful.

So there I was, getting my back aligned, (hurrah) and I decided to ask if there were any bottles in the coffee room at the chiropractors. Dr. Simpson checked it out and, voila, more bottles and another step closer to the cow. Not only is Dr. Simpson a great chiropractor but he's a good sport and posed for the picture.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

* Jumping over the Moon on April 8

This is one of the catchup posts that I promised.

Leslie holding bag of recycling containers

Leslie with her bag of "cow" gold.

My "cow project" took a big leap forward when I told the cow story to Leslie at Saskatoon Family Services and asked her for cans/bottle. I loved her response to my "give a cow" story. She burst out laughing as I talked about the cow and said, "Come on." She took me by the arm to the coffee room and handed me a bag stuffed full of recycling. She then dashed out to lunch with colleagues and was telling them about the "cow" project.

Leslie said that she'd also check to see if the staff be willing to collect on an ongoing basis.

When you have 3,000 cans to collect, getting a big bag all at once is wonderful.
Thanks to everyone at Family Services Saskatoon and to Leslie!

One neat thing about this project is finding out that lots of workplaces recycle.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

* We Broke $100 - Only $91 Left to Go

100 dollar bill - Canadian

On Monday evening, Gord Holtslander, used the ChipIn widget on the side menu to donate $10.00 bringing the total raised $209.00. Woo hoo!

The ChipIn Widget looks great but underdelivered in terms of the giving experience. It took some time to update and show the donation had been received. My best guess is it waits until Paypal emails me, and I reply to accept the donation and then it clears the payment. So rather than the donor seeing an immediate response - the new total to raise is less, it appears like the donation may not be working.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

* Happy Earth Day!

Make Everday Earth Day

via flickr (Creative Commons license)

Facts and Figures

3,000 water bottles can give someone a cow

Each week, 1 billion water bottles are purchased in the USA and 76% of them end up in land fill.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

* Thanks for the Feedback

Okay I have had lots of great suggestions. Thanks so much for the feedback. Here's some of the suggestions:

  • Add an explanation near the top that stays
  • Have a catchier tagline
  • Find Something to break up the posts so you can tell where one ends and the next one starts
  • Fix up the design (from moi)

The photos and post length seems okay so far.

Better Money Tracking Widget Needed

I liked to find a widget that I can "add" the money for cans and bottles that I track each day. This widget will only show donations via Paypal and I can't add this money. I need to find something better. If you spot something, please let me know.

And, let me know what you think of the changes and what more I can do to make it better.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

* Free Advice Needed about This Site

free advice

Ohad* via Flickr
Creative Commons license

Before I continue to fill in the events of the past two weeks and post more photos and stories about my adventures collecting $170 or the $300 for the dairy cow, I need feedback. I know there's more to do on the blog design, but I'm hoping it's good enough to get started.

So, please tell me what you think:

1. Does the blog make sense?

2. Are the entries too wordy?

3. Should the pictures be bigger?

4. Does the widget for donating money work ( ;-) please try it and see)

5. What's missing?

6. What should I do more or less of?

Or if you don't want to comment, vote in the poll:

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

* Have a Cow, Woman. Really!

Kate with loads of bottles and cans

After Julie's success with a friend, I decided to tell a few friends about my "project". Some were bemused. And some were excited. My friend Kate immediately quipped "have a cow, women, really!" and said she would check with her husband, Murray, about donating their containers towards the "cow". I joking said that I took jars of pennies too.

I can recall my mom having jars of pennies on a high shelf in the back of a closet. Once in a blue moon, we would bring it down and count it. It was like secret treasure.

I wasn't sure that anyone else had this tradition but it turns out Kate and Murray did. They usually gifted their penny collection each spring to charity but hadn't yet.

penny jar

Kate and Murray gave my whole project an enormous boost -- enough for one leg of a cow almost provided the cow was a mutant (had six legs). That penny jar had lots of silver and gold in it as well as copper pennies.

It was so wonderful to have a friend who thought thought this wacky idea of mine was fun and worthwhile. Thanks Kate - you're the best.

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

* Time for a Little Help from My Friends

300 Days = 1 Dairy Cow

Julie and Kyle with bottles and cans

If I collected a $1/day then it would be $300 days until I could buy the cow. I could do the math and the project sounded easy and hard at the same time. I was worried about sustaining my motivation over such a long period of time. I wondered if I should have picked a more modest goal.

I started reading a couple of other personal giving blogs and was blown away by what they had done and how organized and smart they were. There was Nancy who was doing so much for Kiva (I love Kiva and micro-giving and already loan $$ to a few projects. Tip - It makes a great gift certificate for a friend.) I found Roger Carr's Everyday Giving Blog and Beth Kantor's wiki and slideshow on The Secrets of Personal Fundraisng.

There was so much to learn.

I started to think about sharing what I was doing with a few friends. I had a bit of trepidation. Would they think I was odd? I felt excited about how much I could collect and "having a cow" was a fun and worthwhile project.

I broke the ice with my daughter's friend. I often chauffeur them about and I'd see a bottle or can on the road, pull over and ask someone to hop out and collect it. They were willing to help and I started relating my "have a cow" story.

To my surprise, my daughter Julie starting asking her friends if they would collect for me. She asked Kyle first. Kyle's family recycle their bottles and cans but didn't not return them to depot for dollars. They were happy to contributed their containers towards "the cow".

Suddenly, with helping hands, the project seemed like it would be doable.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

* Bottles and Cans from One Day

Here's what our sink looks like each night. My husband and kids started bringing home their lunch bottles and cartons to add to the collection.

bottles and cans drying in the sink

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

* Why Giving Small?

"Giving Small" is the story of how I started to focus more time and attention on "gifting" in my day to day life. You might be thinking why not "Give Big"? Yep, I'm a fan of the show. But it can be intimidating to think that you need to "give big" to give. I think like anything you start off small, learn and then maybe you can figure out how to give big.

This blog is intended to document by journey into "gifting" and exploring small ways we can give gifts to others whether it's close to home or around the world, whether it's time or ideas or money or cows or chickens.

Dairy Cow

Drawing by Julie, age 6

The Start

One day in March, when I was slowly recovering from being ill, I wanted to try to do something small to try to make the world a bit better. What could I do to make a difference? While walking my dog, Maggie, I stumbled upon a way to give to my own neighborhood and to a family in Africa.

During my walk, I noticed recyclable containers littering the street and parks in my neighborhood. I started picking them up to make things look better and also to save these containers from landfill. Yep, I'm big on recycling. In my province, there's a refundable deposit on drink containers (10 to 20 cents). Each day, I would find about a dollars worth of cans and bottles.

After a couple of days, I had an ah-ha moment. $1.00 is BIG in some parts of the world. About a $1.00/day is enough to sponsor a foster child. My family already sponsors one child in Brazil and it makes a profound difference to the child, their family and community.

I was struck (and dismayed) by the fact that everyday I could easily find enough to support a child from the trash that was thrown away.

So little could do so much.

So I discussed my idea of starting some sort of personal giving project with my family. They offered advice and suggested that I pick something to fundraise for that was finite, not an ongoing commitment. I remembered that the foster children plan also had the option to buy a dairy cow for a family in Rawanda or Ghana. I grew up on a mixed farm and know how much having a cow can mean to the health and livelihood of family.

The "give a cow" campaign was underway as of March 20, 2008.

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