Learning How to Give

What are your short-term (in the next 18 months) and long-term goals for giving and what steps are you taking right now to ensure your success? Are there barriers to your success? If so, are they financial, physical, social/emotional, technical, cultural, and/or political? Please explain. Finally, how can AU support you in achieving your goals for giving.


Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen’s Giving 2.0 broadened my ideas of what giving is. As I read the book, I felt inspired to develop my ability to give and discover what I am passionate about. In order to give at my highest potential, I need to maintain the qualities that make who I am, use my strengths to benefit others, and recognize my weakness so I can work on them.

 Growing up, I thought giving was something you were obligated to do. I never truly loved giving until I volunteered at Magnolia’s Assisted Living Center in eleventh grade. That experience shaped the way I approach giving completely. Like, Arrillaga-Andreessen states in her book, giving truly is a universal opportunity. People will appreciate what you can provide for them (in most cases) no matter who you are. This principle has helped me develop confidence in my abilities.

My short-term goal is to use kindness to impact people’s lives. I hope to do this by working with diverse communities not only in Washington D.C., but around the world. FDDS has given me a nice push into the giving world via our different projects. I am really excited to work with Hope for the Holidays. We are just starting to brainstorm and develop new ideas for this winter and I feel like everyone involved in the project can bring something new to the table.

After this semester, I want to expand my giving to more diverse groups of people. I do not want to become overwhelmed by participating in too many activities this semester, and, as a result, have my GPA suffer. Yet, reading Giving 2.0 actually made me realize that I do not need to spend lengthy hours participating in various activities in order to give. I can give through donating money, time, and effort. So, concurrently with my pursuits in Hope for the Holidays, I want to give to people in unique ways, whether by giving money to a homeless person near the Tenley metro or helping someone with their homework on my residence hall. To me, kindness is integral for giving.

 Although I am not interested in pursuing a career path in international relations, I am very interested in giving to people internationally by participating in alternative breaks and/or study abroad trips over the next year and a half. By participating in these trips, I can give back to people who are vastly different from me culturally, socially, and economically while also learning from these people as well. After I traveled to France last fall, I realized the importance of international traveling. It gives you an opportunity to experience new cultures from a gain a fresh perspective on different ideals. Giving internationally will help me become a better giver domestically.

Once I travel abroad, I hope to build relationships and network with the people I meet there. Rodrigo did a really good job with this. He developed a strong relationship with David while in Rwanda and maintained that relationship after his trip was finished. By maintaining these types of relationships, I can continue to give internationally while I am still at home, and learn from the people I have met. I hope to develop these relationships via Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social networks. Andreessen emphasizes using the power of the World Wide Web to your advantage as a giver. The Web connects people and allows them to share ideas with each other. I hope to share my ideas with the people I meet internationally so I can give to them often.

 In order for me to give at the best of my abilities, it is necessary for me not to get overwhelmed. I tend to get overwhelmed when too much is happening at one time. Then, I am no longer very kind and become rather irritable and grouchy. Andreessen mentions how giving can be a stress reliever, and I agree with her to an extent. This semester in particular, I think it is important for me to pace myself accordingly, and give when I can. In contrast, this method of giving also makes me upset. I hate feeling like I can give more than I am giving right now.

My long-term goal is to find a way to give that relates to many career interests. Here is where I am extremely uncertain. I feel like I am dilly-dallying in between career paths, and do not know which path I am interested in the most. I know I am just a freshman and that I have four years to find my passion, but uncertainty is my biggest fear. My short term and long-term goals are almost incongruent as well. I want the experiences I get from the short term goals to affect my long-term goals. Maybe my domestic and international giving experiences will influence my decisions and aspirations. I am the barrier to my success, and having sole control over my future is intimidating.

I also want to combine my career/academic interests with giving by getting internships junior year and senior year. Ultimately, I want a job that will allow me to give and learn constantly, so I would be advantageous to start early and discover what I like to do the most that allows me to give back as well. Giving is something everyone can do, and I feel obligated to do it often. Since I am only 6 weeks into my college career, I still have time to develop my ability to give. With time, I will reach my highest potential.


 ~ Daniel Marks


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