As everyone is recovering from the crazy whirlwind that is Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday and now Giving Tuesday?!, I’m up at 4 a.m. writing this.

Because of the influx of promo emails, I was able to unsubscribe from a bunch of lists (whoo hoo) but also missed the reminder about my daughter’s Girl Scout meeting last night (not cool – she made it – just in time). While we ran a Small Business Saturday sale for our retail business Crafted in Joy, this year we chose not to run any sales on AngSuarez Creative for many different reasons. I won’t get into the details (you’ve got things to do!), but basically, I chose my sanity over sales.

I have a feeling this is going to cause quite a few raised eyebrows but here goes…

We are not participating in Giving Tuesday, either.

There! I said it. Before you get those fingertips ready to leave a hot-and-bothered comment, please keep reading. 🙂

I think #GivingTuesday (or is it just Giving Tuesday?) is a great movement and an amazing idea, and we’re not trying to downplay the positive impact it will have on the world. But here’s what we know: I used to approach giving as an afterthought. I’d donate and feel great in the moment but wouldn’t give generosity another thought until I was prompted again… by an ASPCA commercial and the angelic voice of Sarah McLachlan. I’d give myself compelling reasons why I couldn’t give on a regular basis, but would gladly round up at the register when asked. This is kinda weird, right? Not really, it’s called guilt, but keep reading.

Generosity is a lifestyle. – Shawn Hennessey

Jorge and I have found that it’s more rewarding and the wisdom gained is deeper when we started to make generosity a part of our daily life. We give 10% of all our income year-round along with multiple hours of our time each week. I say this with a slight twinge of caution. We don’t think we’re special because we do this, we don’t want any accolades or awards, and I don’t assume you aren’t doing this too. If it were up to us, nobody would know and we’d never have to talk about it. But some of you need to know, and here’s why…

Guilt won’t make us good givers – or generous people.

Giving Tuesday brings great awareness, but what about causes that need support year-round?

What about giving even when no one is looking or pressuring us?

Even when it’s not tax-deductible? (gasp!)

There are times when it does not make sense for our family of six to give that much money or time away. We have four kids under age 10, we run two businesses, and often, we see where we could use the money for other things that we need but aren’t a necessity. You know what though? We always seem to come out ok in the end.

"Generosity is a Lifestyle" - Shawn Hennessey

photo by GreatScott Images | Scott Eastman

Disclaimer: this isn’t our original idea. We didn’t think to ourselves, “Oh hey, let’s give away a tenth of our money and watch our business grow slowwwwly over time. And even when we barely have enough money to pay our bills, we’re still going to give a big chunk of it away anyway. It’ll all work out.”

First of all, we aren’t that philosophical. Secondly, we started doing this after we became Jesus people. We don’t actually believe it’s “our” money, but God’s money. He’s trusting us with it and we think that’s pretty cool, so we don’t want to mess that up. We were both unemployed for four months in 2014, and there were some weeks we could only give $10. Whether we have $10 or $600+ to give, we believe life is better when we give with a good attitude. Not out of guilt or obligation.

We have increased our business tremendously over the past year while still practicing generosity.

To give you perspective, since 2014, I have consistently grown in revenue each year. In 2016, I doubled my income from 2015. At the end of 2017, we will have tripled that number. Jorge was able to leave his full time job – with benefits(!) – this past September thanks to our amazing clients and the continued growth. This growth has occurred all while giving more money away.

I don’t want generosity to be a part of a promotional plan.

As I sit here writing this, I don’t know what you’ll think of me or what you’ll think of us, or if you’ll even care. Maybe you’ll roll your eyes at me, maybe you’ll be upset with me, maybe you’ll think, “Who are they to say I should give more?” You’re right. We’re no one to tell you what to do.

But I thought you should know this is something we value deeply, and it’s a part of who we are and a part of how we do business. I don’t ever want giving to become a gimmick, reserved for a holiday, or part of a promotional plan. We plan to get this message out more in 2018 to make generosity front and center. I’m not a bragger, and there’s a lot of things I still don’t get right. But this is a message I cannot ignore anymore. This story is worth telling, and so is yours. So is everyone’s.

A few final things we wanted you to know:

When you work with us, you:

are supporting non-profits like Eye Heart World, an organization that fights human trafficking.

help single moms who put food on the table.

support families battling cancer with warm meals and handmade gifts.

provide care for kids who are growing up in the lowest economic conditions.

are providing people with hope.

On that note, I’ll wrap this up with sincere thanks and an invitation to join us in 2018. We’re looking forward to releasing more tutorials for bringing your creative business to life, getting you more traffic to your blog or website with Pinterest and optimizing your content to bring clarity and cohesiveness to your brand.

Click here to learn more about working with us.

I hope this has inspired you to make giving a daily intention, because we think you’re pretty special and can make a huge impact on the world with your gifts and your generosity.