Saturday, February 19, 2011

Socio-Friendly Products

Socio-Friendly products are doing for our society what Eco-Friendly products have been doing for our environment. Companies make many choices that impact the lives of people. Here are some of them.

*Profit allocation- As an individual, many of you choose to take some of the money you earn and give it away to help others. Companies do the same, but on a larger scale. When a company decides (and publicly announces) that they will give away a significant percentage of their profit to an organization created to help the lives of families (of any sort), it sends a message that they are devoted to creating a positive impact on others.

*Creative problem solving- Some companies have been "socio-friendly" since well before the description was around to describe them. The same was the case for eco-friendly companies. Some companies just made good common sense choices that have helped others. A great way for a business to be socio-friendly is for them to allow flexibility in work for their employees. Telecommuting, sharing a full time job between two people wishing to work part time, and flexible work hours (working 4 ten hour days, working slightly adjusted start and finish times, etc) have proven to be an effective tool in motivating higher productivity as well as creating a positive work environment.

*Involvement in community service- Whether this translates to putting collection jars out to help raise funds for a non-profit, allowing fundraisers on-ground, or employee involvement in community service, this is an outstanding way for businesses to help non-profits build awareness for their cause and (more importantly) GET THINGS DONE!

When a company is ec0-friendly, we hear about it. We NEED eco-friendly people, companies, and products. Just as important as eco-friendly, we need to start recognizing the socio-friendly people, companies, and products and support them! These companies are at the forefront of making our world (and work) a better place in a lot of cases by bringing added joy to homes.

Socio-friendly! Talk about it at home, at work, and think about it when you decide what products to buy. Support the companies and products that are supporting happier homes. With a little effort we can make great changes that improve life for us all.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lovin' Valentines

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching. Although not everyone has a special someone to spend the day with this year, we do all have special individuals in our lives that deserve our attention and affection. I challenge you to extend that Lovin' feeling beyond your normal circle. Here are some Lovin' ideas on things you could do.

*Make a donation and, better yet, make a friend with Special Olympics. Start the process of getting involved. You may find that no matter how much you give, your heart will get back much more in return. Go to to find a Special Olympics program near you.

*Visit a nursing home. Take a nice bundle of flowers with you and hand them out. Spend some time visiting with the residents/patients. Many of them would have spent the day alone and will much appreciate the companionship.

*Sit down with your children and create some unique Valentine's Day cards. Hand them out to neighbors or take them with you to the nursing home.

*Give a gift or treat that helps others. Chocolates are nice, but Lovin' Scoopful ice cream is even better. 25% of post tax profits go to benefit Special Olympics. Now THAT's Lovin'.

As Valentine's Day draws near, check back for more ideas on how to be a Lovin' Valentine.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Doing More With Less (Charity In Economic Crisis)

Money is tighter than in previous years for many of us and as the belt tightens, donations to charitable funds take a hit. How can you help others when you're having trouble making ends meet? I'm uncovering various money saving techniques to 1) improve your cash flow and/or 2) allow for easy contribution to charities.

*Improve your financial situation by bartering! Trading out time is a tax free way to get things done without hitting your checkbook. Go to to find a time bank in your area. It's a simple program, really. You make deposits by contributing hours to other members and you make withdrawals by receiving services contributed by others. For instance, if you paint you can contribute one hour of painting for someone and in return receive one hour of tax preparation. Use money saved to contribute funds to a charity of your choice! Most time banks charge a low yearly membership and most work under the rule that every person's time is created equal. You may make deductions up to the number of hours you contribute.

*Clean out your garage, closets, and attic. Not only will donating the goods to charity allow you a tax deduction, it also gives you an opportunity to live a clutter free life. Holding on to unwanted and unneeded items clutters your home and your mind. Grab a hand full of boxes or strong bags and reduce, reuse, or recycle. If you have particularly valuable items or collections you're willing to get rid of, you may also consider selling them and then donating the funds to a charity. If you want to help a charity that doesn't take used items, this is a great way to get money together for the charity. Considering a garage sell but no time? Think outside the box. Secure a metal collection box outside with items to get rid of and put up a sign allowing people to donate to your favorite charity in exchange for the item they take. You don't necessarily have to oversee collections. Just be sure to only have items out that you want taken!

*Volunteer time to your charity of choice. Again, be creative. If you want to help an animal shelter, volunteering time doesn't necessarily mean showing up on Saturday to clean out animal cages. Donate a skill (marketing, art, web design) to help fill a need for the charity. They will much appreciate not having to pay for those services. You may even build your customer base by showcasing your skills to the public in this manner.

*Give weekly with either an automatic payment or by payroll deduction. A small gift each week is less likely to be missed, but adds up to a generous gift by year end. If you don't think you can afford it, pick one thing you are willing to do without in order to stay within budget. If you can't commit to $10 a week because of money, would you be willing to drink water instead of soft drinks with lunch and donate the money saved each week? It adds up.

*Save your change and involve the whole family. Pick up a 5 gallon water jug and encourage every family member to empty their pocket change at the end of the day into the jug. At the end of the year tie a big bow around the top and deliver it to your favorite charity. Be sure to get them to empty it and send the container back home for you to do it again!

Be creative and share your tips on contributing in a tough economy in the comment section below!