How a test became a daily habit

Co-Authored by Mackinnon @Watsi and Ben Orthlieb

On a Monday morning in early September a donation came in for $10 (plus a tip to help Watsi grow πŸŽ‰) to support surgery for Tumugabirwe. You might be surprised to hear that we still are excited every single time a patient is funded. What was even more remarkable this time is that over the coming days, at 7AM each morning, another $10 donation would come in to support another Watsi patient.

Ben’s first daily donation came in to support Watsi patient Tumugabirwe in Uganda.

After a full week of donations made at the same time each morning, I reached out to our supporter Ben to say thank you and find out what was inspiring his daily giving. His response made my day. We've since kept in touch and I've been able to learn more about what was going on for him.

In Ben's own words:

On my side, I was developing and acting on my personal 'soul statement' (h.t. @David Straus) to try and 'be a decent human.' At the core, acting on what I feel Humans are meant to do.

This translates into five pillars, which I review as part of my morning routine:

  • Love
  • Help
  • Learn
  • Live (aka be healthy and have fun)
  • Manifest and Expand (aka dream big, project yourself, get it done, iterate some more)

Over the summer, I felt that I needed to do more in my 'help' pillar. My statement and actions were all related to people I know and work with. But something was still missing.

And then it hit me!

LinkedIn (where I work) has a value of 'transforming Self, Company, and the World.' This was it! I was missing the 'world' part in my own thinking and actions, specifically doing a conscious act to help others beyond my network.

I have been donating on autopilot to Watsi, Kiva, and GiveDirectly. But this was all programmatically set up, monthly donations, without my involvement at this point. I was now seeking a more personal connection with helping and supporting those three organizations.

So I set up a little test: I started making a small donation every day to someone on Watsi. I read their story, send some help, and wish them well. The test turned into a daily habit!

I love the feeling of tangibly helping someone I don't know and wishing them well. I also love the updates I get almost daily now from Watsi on how folks are doing post-surgery. It always creates the feeling of having done something worthwhile and 'human' with my day.

Thank you, Mackinnon and the whole team at Watsi - you are making the world a better, kinder place!

Ben's daily giving has continued to this day. His story reminds me of something I've found surprising in my first year leading Watsi: we're not only changing the lives of our patients, but we’re also changing the lives of the people who give.

Throughout an incredibly challenging year, Watsi has been a source of light and good news that helped bring joy and more meaning to our lives. As Ben says, helping us feel more human. You can check out research that supports this here, here, and here, … or you can, like Ben, test it out for yourself today.

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P.S. I love connecting with people to understand what inspires you to give to Watsi patients. Please say hi πŸ‘‹ and share your story: mackinnon at watsi dot org.

Mackinnon Engen

Mackinnon Engen

Executive Director @Watsi