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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tell the world about the causes you care about

Every now and then a friend will surprise me when I find out they are deeply involved volunteering for a good cause. What surprises me isn't that they are volunteering or that they care, what always shocks me is that I've known them for awhile but they've never mentioned it before.

When I ask why haven't you ever told me this or why don't you use your blog or website to publicize and support the cause? Almost always the answer is they don't want people to think they are bragging that they volunteer or give the perception they think they are better than others by publicizing that they take the time to volunteer for a cause.

But, tell the world so they can care along with you :)

I'll admit when I faced this dilemma when I first became involved with the National Marrow Donor Program I felt torn. I was raised to never brag and to never call attention to myself. What made me decide to go public despite my upbringing and the risk of being perceived as immodest? Two simple facts:
1. I can't please everyone. Yes, some people will think I am bragging or being immodest by publicizing causes I care about. But, life is so much more fulfilling and liberating when you know you're doing the right thing and you don't care what other people think. I realized that people who know me, the people who truly know my heart, know that I don't support causes for any glory. I'm in them to help save lives whether they are people (MarrowDrives.org) or shelter dogs (CutestDogEver.com). If I could offer my help anonymously I would but I have to use myself as the vehicle to deliver the message.

2. While there are some causes that can afford top level marketing, the reality is most don't have the funding for marketing. They rely on word of mouth and community involvement to deliver their message. The cool thing is we can all be a part of their marketing team, for free! 
I realized if I don't speak up, for fear of being considered immodest, I can't help the patients who need help. If I don't speak up fewer people will learn about their need and not realize they have the opportunity to join the bone marrow registry to save a life. I realized fewer dogs will be saved because fewer pet owners will adopt from shelters.
Over the years some people have judged me as an opportunistic attention seeker. But far more have thanked me for my efforts, taken action, and have become co-supporters of the causes I care about. For me, that's makes any unpleasantness worth it.

So if you have a cause, tell the world. You can even share it here in the comments if you want to. Just leave a link to the website of the cause you support. If you have the time, share your story about how and why you became involved with the cause. You will inspire others, including me, if you do.

Thank you to my friend Aristotle (who advocates for homeless pets) for posting this quote on his Facebook wall today. It immediately resonated with me and reminded me this is a topic I've wanted to write about for some time.

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