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By Alli Allen

How do you know when you’ve hit on something big?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt there was a big idea hidden somewhere inside me. but I  had no idea what it was. Whenever Oprah came on, I pictured myself sitting next to her being interviewed, but I couldn’t imagine what we’d be talking about. It’s not that I wasn’t busy leading a very full and fruitful life: I’ve raised three amazing kids, spent countless hours leading, volunteering, planning, learning, and traveling, but I still had an itch. As the years went by, I wondered when I would finally figure out what I really was meant to do. What was my purpose? How would I make my mark on this world? Where would my experiences, feelings, knowledge, and thirst for meaning lead me?

Then, one lazy Sunday afternoon when the sky was azure with puffy white clouds, my backyard hammock beckoned me. Heeding the call, I settled down on the enticing rope bed and swung back and forth, letting my mind go free. Out of nowhere, the phrase, “a cause for celebration” popped into my head. I liked the sound of it, and I loved the way the word “cause” had multiple meanings: i.e., it could refer to “a reason,” but it could also refer to a “charitable entity that people support.” That got me thinking … was there a way these words, “a cause for celebration,” could catapult my search for meaning to the big idea I’ve been hoping to discover? I was about to find out.

Causes For Celebration

Playing a bit with the words in the phrase, I realized how many times we have “a cause (reason) for celebration”: birthdays, holidays, marriages, births, anniversaries, religious ceremonies, new jobs, promotions, graduations, honors, awards, retirements, etc. Oftentimes, when there is a “cause (reason) for celebration,” many of us don’t know the best way to recognize the people being honored or celebrated. Should we get them a gift? What kind of gift would they like? What would be appropriate? Would they even want a gift? What do they really like or care about? Are there any other ways to show our support?

What if the emphasis was placed on a charitable organization (cause) in “cause for celebration,” instead? Couldn’t a celebration or special occasion be enhanced by people making a charitable donation to honor or celebrate someone? If we wanted to do this, how would we know what charities our friends and family care about? How could we find out without having to ask each person? Are online donations safe? Is there a way we could keep track of all our donations?

Ideas started percolating. Words swirled around in my head: “celebrate,” “charity,” “give”, “do good,” “honor others,” “donate,” “feel good,” “give back.” Finally, the concept evolved.

The Big Idea: transforming the charitable giving experience by disrupting the traditional model and designing a fresh, compelling, and purposeful charitable giving platform that is both individualized and collaborative. The seeds of PlanetGive planted that summer day germinated and will soon sprout support for causes around the globe. Once they do, look out world. We’re shooting for the sky!