Ways to get HAPPY – volunteer!

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DSCF2031Friday 20 March is the UN International Day of Happiness. A whole day to celebrate the emotion that 99% of us strive for in our everyday life. We want it for our children too and our friends and families. We just want to be happy.

At Binky, one of our aims is to increase the happiness quotient in the world, to up the levels of happiness. We reckon when there’s more happiness in the world, the world is a better, more compassionate place. Happy people infect others with their vibe. The UN International Day of Happiness recognises that happiness is important for a harmonious and healthy world.

But how do you get there? And is happy a destination? Clearly we’re not talking about the kind of feeling that is momentary or fleeting and associated with stuff. The happiness we’re on about is a state of being, a way of living and relating to yourself and those around you. Gratitude, giving and mindfulness all play a big role in bringing happiness into your life.

Project Happiness have written a great article that outlines 7 Happiness Habits. 

To feel good, do good, they say and the Greater Good Science centre backs them up. Giving to others is not only a surefire way to get an instant boost it also makes you healthier and leads to improved trust, pleasure and connection. Feeling good leads to more doing good which leads to more feeling good.

Volunteering your time to others is a wonderful way to get your dose of wellbeing and happiness. Australians volunteer alot. And not just in times of disaster. Reciprocity is embedded in Indigenous culture, indicating an inherent understanding of how we are all connected and must rely on each other for survival, wellbeing and meaning. Although not as significant culturally in the wider population,volunteering is no less important for our communities and ourselves as individuals. Without volunteers, many services, events, festivals, fundraisers and community projects would never ever happen.

Volunteers are happier and healthier and feel more connected to their communities. Why not give volunteering a go and get happy? And our 7 day photo challenge gives you the perfect opportunity to combine volunteering with the chance to give your favourite charity $1000. Yes that’s right, ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS!! Post a photo of someone volunteering, or a volunteer experience on our Grateful Project facebook group for your chance to win.

You can find information about volunteering and opportunities to volunteer in Australia through Volunteering Queensland. For those outside Australia, check out your local volunteer centre for more info.

Philanthropy – do you do it??

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According to Wikipedia (gotta love it) Philanthropy (from Greek φιλανθρωπία) etymologically means “love of humanity” in the sense of caring, nourishing, developing and enhancing “what it is to be human” on both the benefactors’ (by identifying and exercising their values in giving and volunteering) and beneficiaries’ (by benefiting) parts.

This idea of philanthropy, this love of humanity, as a virtue, a sign of goodness, still exists today though the definition has probably changed somewhat. Commonly, these days philanthropy is described as the private donation or giving of mainly money though also goods or property, to public causes. There are many famous philanthropists including Bill Gates, Oprah and in Australia, Dick Smith and Graeme Wood.

The culture of giving varies quite a bit though. When I lived in the USA, it seemed that philanthropy for those who had the capacity was almost an expected and done thing, kind of like voting in Australia – an obligation and a duty to your community. The Australian culture of philanthropy appears quite different, on the surface at least. While rich people globally gave away between 3 and 11 per cent of their assets; in Australia that number was less than 2 per cent. Some say that this is an unfair comparison, that Australians prefer to give quietly and anonymously. There is no doubt though that their is no expectation in Australia of the wealthy to give back.

But you don’t have to be famous or rich to be a philanthropist. In fact, technological democracy has made it even easier for each and every one of us to give to causes we care about. Studies even show that people in the middle and lower socio-economic brackets often give more percentage wise than those in the higher brackets.

This coming month, Binky will partner with the Queensland Community Foundation to celebrate Philanthropy Week with a photo challenge on giving.

QCF Philanthropy Week is a celebration to raise awareness of philanthropy in Queensland, honour community members and organisations who make outstanding philanthropic contributions, and encourage support for charities and community organisations operating throughout Queensland.

Philanthropy Week will be held from 15-19 June 2015, including the flagship Philanthropy Awards lunch on Thursday 18 June.

QCF’s Philanthropy Awards recognise Queenslanders who have made an outstanding contribution to charity or community service through giving time, generating funds, and/or encouraging others to give.

Let’s continue to think about how we can all give back, from the wealthiest to those with the least, we all have something important to contribute.

How to Play 7 Days of Giving! Word prompts, hints and more…

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How to Play the Challenge – three ways!

There are three ways to play the challenge:

  1. Challenge yourself to take a daily photo using the word prompts throughout the 7 day challenge (6-12 April) and post your results each day.
  1. Take your photos in the lead up to the challenge and post your results during the challenge week. Use this extra time to get creative and get out and meet volunteers and visit some charities!
  1. Dig up photographs you’ve taken during the past 12 months that depict the power of giving and/or match the word prompts and post your results during the challenge.

You can post as little or as many photos as you like during the challenge week.

Challenge Word prompts

The following word prompts have been developed to help you explore the concept of giving. These prompts are only a guide and entrants are welcome to interpret the subject of giving in any way.

Monday – Day 1 – Volunteer

Have you ever volunteered, helped out, pitched in for free? Take a creative selfie and tell us your story. Why is volunteering important for you? What do you get from giving?

Tuesday – Day 2 – Humanitarian

Think about a famous humanitarian that you admire. Take a photo of anything that you think captures that person’s spirit and tell us why you admire them.

Wednesday – Day 3 – Compassion

What does compassion look like? Take of photo of someone showing compassion or take a photo of something that depicts compassion to you. Why is compassion important?

Thursday – Day 4 – Giving

If you were given $1million to donate to a charity, which charity would you donate to and why? Take a photo that describes the cause and the power of giving.

Friday – Day 5 – Good Deed

Do a good deed. Give someone something today. A bunch of flowers, meet a stranger, make a cake. How did it feel? How did it make others feel? Capture the giving experience in a photo.

Saturday – Day 6 – Volunteers

Do you know someone who volunteers? Meet a volunteer in your community and take a photo of them in action. Go down to the local charity shop or organise to meet and interview a volunteer. Show us the volunteer spirit in your community.

Sunday – Day 7 – Charity

Is there a charity in the community that has helped you or someone you know? Take a photo of something that captures the spirit of the organisation or take a photo of their building, facilities, staff. Tell us why the charity is important for you.

Binky/QCF Photo Challenge 2015 Terms and Conditions

  1. Entry is open Australia and Worldwide.
  2. The challenge is open to any skill level. Photographs will be judged on subject not technical ability. Mobile phone entries are encouraged.
  3. The winning entrant will be able to allocate a $1,000 donation to a charity of their choice. Please note that the nominated charity must hold Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status.
  4. The entrant must like the Queensland Community Foundation and Binky Collective Facebook pages to be eligible to win the charity prize.
  5. The entrant can enter as many photographs as they like on the Grateful Project Facebook group between 6 and 12 April 2015.
  6. Photographs must have been created on or after 1 April 2014.
  7. The entrant must be the creator of any images they enter into the competition.
  8. The entrant must be the copyright owner of any images they enter into the competition.
  9. The entrant is responsible for obtaining all relevant model and/or property releases.
  10. The entrant retains copyright of the submitted images but grants Queensland Community Foundation and Binky Collective permission to reproduce the images.
  11. Employees of Queensland Community Foundation and Binky Collective may enter the challenge but are not eligible to win the charity prize.
  12. Only the photographs posted on the Grateful Project Facebook group between 6 April 2015 and 12 April 2015 will be considered.
  13. A panel from Queensland Community Foundation and Binky Collective will judge the shortlisted entries and vote to determine a winner for the $1000 charity prize.
  14. The judges’ decisions are final and no further correspondence will be entered into.
  15. By posting on the Grateful Project Facebook Group during the challenge, entrants grant the Queensland Community Foundation and Binky Collective permission to contact them about challenge.
  16. The winning entry will be announced on the Queensland Community Foundation and Binky Collective Facebook page and the Grateful Project Facebook group on Tuesday 16 June 2015.
  17. By entering images into this challenge the entrant guarantees to Queensland Community Foundation and Binky Collective that all of the above entry requirements have been met.
  18. If any of the terms and conditions are breached, the entry will be disqualified.

Play ‘7 Days of GIving” with us – win a $1000 for an Australian charity

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Photo courtesy of QCF

“7 Days of Giving” Philanthropy Week Photo Challenge: win the chance to allocate $1000 to an Aussie charity of your choice!

Binky Collective in collaboration with the Queensland Community Foundation (QCF) invites you to explore the power of giving by taking part in a 7 day online photo challenge starting 6 April 2015.

The challenge is open to anyone, of any age, from anywhere in the world and you don’t have to be a professional photographer to get involved. The challenge encourages everyday people of any skill level to capture and share the concept of giving.

To enter all you have to do is like the Binky and QCF Facebook pages and post your photos about giving on Binky’s Grateful Project Facebook Group between 6 – 12 April 2015.   The winning entrant will receive $1000 to donate to their charity of choice.

You can use any type of camera from a mobile phone to DSLR to capture your images. A selection of images from the challenge will be displayed during Philanthropy Week in Queensland in June 2015 and featured in the QCF annual report.

How to Play the Challenge – three ways!

We’ve come up with three ways you can play the challenge:

  1. Challenge yourself to take a daily photo using the word prompts throughout the 7 day challenge and post your results each day.
  1. Take your photos in the lead up to the challenge and post your results during the challenge week. Use this extra time to get creative and get out and meet volunteers and visit some charities!
  1. Dig up photographs you’ve taken during the past 12 months that depict the power of giving and/or match the word prompts and post your results during the challenge.

You can post as little or as many photos as you like during the challenge week.

For the word prompts, terms and conditions and more info on the challenge, go to our Grateful Project Facebook Group, join if you haven’t already and play on. Don’t forget to like both the QCF and Binky facebook pages to enter and then get snapping!!

And good luck!

Balancing Act – start stuff now

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Photo from http://slackbrasil.com.br/highline.php
Photo from http://slackbrasil.com.br/highline.php

Two down, one to go of three weekends in a row with no parenting responsibilities. The spontaneous going to see music, taking in a yoga class, late nights and breakfast with friends has reminded me of the days before I had a child.

It’s made me reflect how much the Cheeky Monkey has changed my life. Things are more settled, I’ve moved cities and countries less with only two big geographical moves in the last 9 years and I’m more involved in the wider community.

The marking of time has become more apparent too. The Cheeky Monkey is ten years old. How did that happen? I feel the same (denial I know) but I must be different. I look at him and know I’m getting older too.  I feel an urgency to get things done, to take the bull by the horns. Or is to make hay while the sun shines? Idioms have never been my strong point!

As a younger person, my life seemed boundless, the edges not visible to me at all. Now I can see our finite existence and feel the urge to make things count.

I love this awareness. I really believe that if you want to do something, you should just get out there and do it. Don’t wait for the right this or that. Start off small and create the right time, place and situation. It’s possible and necessary if you want to get those dreams out of your head and into the world. Starting in on your dream project doesn’t mean you have to do everything all at once, or all by yourself.  Lots of small actions add up over time.

I know it seems easier said than done.

Plunging into the unknown has always been my favourite way of operating. Got a problem? Great, let me help solve it. Want to go travelling to faraway lands? Count me in. Need a buddy for adventures? Please pick me! But risk taking and parenting don’t always go hand in hand. In my time as a parent, I’ve really come to understand the value of the long haul. The past 8 years or so has seen me in a permanent and fairly stable job, the longest stretch of fulltime employment in my life. I didn’t work a Monday to Friday job until I was 27 and even then I quickly requested different hours from 9-5. I lasted two years. I didn’t work fulltime again til I was 36.

To my surprise, there have been benefits associated with this relative stillness in these years since Cheeky Monkey. I’ve got great networks, personal and professional. I’ve been able to spend time with immediate family on a more regular basis. I’ve learned the beauty of putting in time in a place, on a project, with people and reaping the rewards of friendship, support and knowledge, and being in the midst of things not just at the beginning but during the middle and the end too.

It doesn’t mean I still don’t prefer the unfamiliar and new. I do. But I’ve realised I can have the best of both worlds with a bit of tweaking. Working on your dreams doesn’t depend on your situation – it just depends on you putting yourself and your wellbeing front and centre. You can manage big risk if you do this – take a you-centred approach.

I’ve loved my weekends with no plans or responsibilities other than to myself, feeling single and free. For the third weekend though, I’ve decided I’m going to take my Cheeky Monkey out on a date and do something new. Just him and me – single and free can mix it up with responsible and being a mother.

[If you need help getting your projects started, talk to us at Binky. We can help you get your ideas out of your head into the world. Contact us at info@binkycollective.org]

Binky 2014 and beyond

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Krampus image from TinyOwlWorkshop

The end of the year is coming and Binky will have a little break over the Christmas/New Year period. Over at the Grateful Project, we’ll be starting a challenge on 21 December to take you through Christmas and the New Year with gratitude. So if you haven’t already, join the group and have fun with the prompts designed to help you access gratefulness through the holiday period!

It seems like a good time to reflect on the past year for Binky and what a year it’s been. We started off riding high on the success of our Pozible campaign.

Getting out the rewards to our supporters, processing the images, printing them and sorting out the exhibition venue ensured February and March were super busy. Fortuitously we held our exhibition on Harmony Day once more and were able to donate all funds raised to the Multicultural Development Association, helping refugees with the settlement process. The night was great – many thanks to all those that supported the exhibition in one way or another. We couldn’t do it without you.

We were also lucky enough to come top ten in the Happy Project.  Even though we didn’t win, we’ve decided to go ahead and make this project come to life anyhow. Named HeartStrings, we hope to bring this project to you in 2015. It’s a bit under wraps at the moment but we have high hopes of bringing a bit more happiness into the world!

August saw us at the Darwin Festival for our YarnHeart Project – combining craft, gratitude and hearts! YarnHeart encouraged an exchange of gratitude across culture and place, emphasising the elements that join us as human beings – love, gratitude, happiness. The images from this project were amazing, and the hearts received from across the country made their way to the Bagot Indigenous Community for exhibition at the Bagot Festival. It was a huge success. The handmade hearts reside in the community and we hope to be able to build on this project in the future, bringing it to other communities and embedding it in Bagot as well. Unfortunately some unforeseen challenges have meant that not all the hearts were able to photographed. Big apologies to those who missed out – we haven’t given up but some tragic circumstances made our tasks a little bit harder to accomplish.

After a bit of recovery time, we got straight back into another gratitude challenge on the Grateful Project. The group just continues to grow and grow, down to Louise’s dedicated and thoughtful moderation of this wonderful coming together of lovely people from around the world. Each challenge elicits new ways of seeing the world and sharing in the good around us. We have some plans up our sleeve for next year for the Grateful Project and hope it will continue to evolve and evoke.

Finally, if it wasn’t for everyone who supports the Binky crew every day, on the many different social media channels, as well as face to face and more, we couldn’t bring these amazing projects to life. It’s been a wonderful year of trying out new things, meeting new people and connecting.  Friends of Binky – Tribe Media, Tiny Owl Workshop, Naked Crackers , G&V Design and Fabrication, Sunday Assembly, Fieldworx –  we love you all. Thanks so much for all you give.

As we grow our projects, we’d love to have more people get involved. If you think you’d like to volunteer to help or would like to start your own project for social good – let us know.  We can provide opportunities for social media management, project coordination, event management and more.

You can contact us here on the blog, on facebook, or on twitter (@binkycollective). Looking forward to a hella good 2015.

Peace out til January and don’t forget to be excellent to one another.

xxxx

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Spending for Good

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It’s 36 days til Christmas. Gulp! It can’t be denied. Christmas is coming and so is the annual consumer pilgrimage to buy stuff. I’m already being regaled daily by the Cheeky Monkey with additions to the ever growing Christmas list. The look of horror on his face when I suggested that he might be a bit old for Santa. You’d have thought I just told him Santa was actually a flesh-eating Zombie. It was enough to tell me that Santa gifts are here to stay for quite some time. Added to that are all the obligatory gifts – work Secret Santa, older relatives, people for whom Christmas retains a special meaning. I don’t hate shopping – entirely – just not good at compressing the process for a specific purpose. It seems so manufactured somehow. And of course, don’t we all have enough stuff in the first place?

qart-christmas-card-pack-of-15-hhxSo imagine my joy at coming across Good Spender, an online shopping platform that connects you directly with goods and services from social enterprises. You can shop AND make a difference at the same time. Win win!

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A partnership between Social Traders and Australia Post’s Our Neighbourhood program, Good Spender gives you access to fashion, art, homewares, food, jewellery and lots of other great things. You can even buy wine to support charity!

Your dollars go to a bunch of great social enterprises, and that means helping out causes like fairtrade, young people, the environment, food security and many more. The website lets you search by product category or by cause you want to support. Each social enterprise has its own storefront on the site with information about their cause, their returns policy, shipping rates and any other relevant information.

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This is such a great way to support a cause without even really trying. Coincidentally, Good Spender is offering free shipping today and tomorrow 18 and 19 November. Go check them out!