Be The Change You Wish To See In The World



Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” I don’t know why more people don’t take his advice. I hear people give lip service to doing good in the world but few follow through with their stated desire. And, you know, there are some really simple ways to get started.


Death Gives Life To An Idea

In 2002, I had an idea that had been gestating probably since 1963. Yes, I’m that old.

You see, my dad died on Christmas Day 1963. I was 11. I have never known a better man. At his funeral, a number of people came up to tell me stories that I had never heard about my dad. All of them had the same theme: doing good without looking for anything in return. In one case, my dad, who owned a hardware store and delivered heating oil, delivered fuel to a family down on its luck. The customer told my dad that he couldn’t afford the oil. Daddy told him not to worry about it, filled up his tank and drove away. Apparently he did this kind of thing a lot.

I decided in 2002 that I could be more like my dad, that I could be the change. Now, I am not rich so I really couldn’t afford to start donating thousands of dollars to charity.

But I realized that material goods don’t really do anything to improve my life, it is my family and good friends that make me a wealthy man. I started thinking: How much do I really need for Christmas? Perhaps there is a better way to celebrate that doesn’t require anyone giving me gifts.

So, I started a movement called Holiday For Charity, which provides folks with some simple ideas to help the less fortunate.

The number one thing you can do is ask friends, family and business associates to donate to charity instead of buying you gifts. Here’s why: a lot of people would donate to charity in someone’s name but they don’t feel right doing it unless they have that person’s approval. So, give them your OK and help someone who needs it more than you need a Christmas gift.

I give you permission to donate to charity instead of buying me a gift. My favorite charities are Crisis Assistance MinistryJDRF and National Autism Association.

Here are some other ways you can participate in Holiday For Charity:

  • offer to perform volunteer work in lieu of buying holiday gifts
  • donate directly to charity in lieu of buying holiday gifts for clients and customers
  • use as a starting point for your holiday shopping.  Each time someone clicks through from Goodshop to one of the 2,800 plus participating stores (including Amazon, Target, Toys R Us, Sephora, Macy’s PetCo and more), an average of 4% of the purchase price is donated to the shopper’s favorite cause (at no cost to them!). Plus, has over 100,000 coupons so users can save money while giving back.
  • or, register and shop at, whose merchants donate a portion of each transaction to the charities of your choice
  • use  Each time someone searches the internet with Goodsearch (powered by Yahoo!), about a penny is raised for the charity or school of their choice!  You use it exactly as you would any other search engines


Other ideas:

Double Up: A number of companies match volunteer hours with funds, and some even match employee charitable donations. Check out the list of generous companies at Double The Donation.

Redeem credit card points: Ask members to turn their unused credit card points into a charitable donation to your cause. Both American Express and Citi Card offer this program.

Recycle your old electronics:  Send your electronics to and cash generated from that will be donated to charity.

PS – before you give to a charity, check them out on Charity Navigator.


Join The Movement

So, if you want to make a difference, join the Holiday For Charity Movement.

If you decide to join, please add your name in the comment field of this post, so we can Tweet out a thank you.

Feel free to download the graphic below to use on social media, and link it back to this blog post.





  1. Hi Harry,
    Indeed, we can be the change we wish to see in the world! Donating to charity is likely to make more impact than gifting during the Christmas. Your idea is welcoming and its a good thing you have shared various useful links that would get one started.

    Yes, I guess this is an awesome reflection: “a lot of people would donate to charity in someone’s name but they don’t feel right doing it unless they have that person’s approval.”
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