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How to give away $100

by Bill High  |  December 09, 2013  |  Types: Generosity, Strategies

On Monday, December 16, 2013, we’re encouraging everyone so inclined to give $100 away in cash. We’re calling it “Give a Benjamin Day.” Benjamin Franklin is, of course, the President on the face of a $100 bill.

Why give a Benjamin? We believe there’s something beautiful in random acts of spontaneous generosity. There’s something amazing when you have an opportunity to give away something of value. But there’s something equally amazing to the recipient.

Earlier this year, I found myself checking out of the toll gate at the airport with the same parking lot attendant. I asked her questions while she processed my credit card receipt. She told me that she read books to pass the time, and that one day, she hoped to get a Kindle. So the next time through I gave her $100. She was speechless.

Who does that kind of thing? That’s what giving does. It reminds us that this life is not about us. It reminds us that we have value and worth in our giving. Because when we give, we reflect the Ultimate Giver. There’s a power in that giving which is hard to touch.

But sometime back I proposed the idea of “Give a Benjamin Day” to some friends of mine. Most were enthusiastic, but some confessed that they weren’t sure how to do it. I think its important to note that we want to follow the nudge that God provides. We need to be a little less concerned that the money will be used well, and maybe for once just be a bit reckless in our generosity. 

In any event, here are some ideas on how to “Give an Benjamin”:

  1. Pay for the entire line of people behind you in the coffee shop.
  2. Go to a dollar store or a thrift store, and leave notes with cash on the shelves for other customers to find—“Bless you in Jesus name!”
  3. Go to a restaurant (probably not upscale) and leave a $100 tip.
  4. Go to a bus station or train station and find a traveller and make the gift.
  5. Go to a more difficult neighborhood gas station and find the clerk and reward them with a gift.
  6. Find some folks in need outside a local rescue mission.
  7. Tape some cash to the gas station pump for the next in line.
  8. Give some cash to workers at a nursing home or assisted living facility.
  9. Find an all night diner and give some cash to someone on the late shift.
  10. Go to your local “Meals on Wheels” and tape cash inside of a meal delivery.
  11. Go to a repair shop and pay $100 toward the bill of a single mom.
  12. Find a “rough looking” car—you know the kind, rusted out, beat up—leave cash in the envelope for the owner.
  13. Go to your local school and pay for lunches for those who cannot pay for their own.
  14. Give a Sonic carhop a $100 tip.
  15. Get coffee at a local university coffee shop and find a needy college student.
  16. Pay for breakfast of another guest and then give your waitress a big tip.

These are just a few ideas. You may have some of your own. Share them with us. Even better, share with us your stories when you give. And have fun!

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