Why we work without pay and give without immediate exchange

To date, one of the most viewed posts on this site is The Crafter, The Contributor and The Covid Tracker. The three examples show how people are willing to devote their labor to causes and groups which they value.

Similarly, we are prompted to give resources in the same manner. Advertisements from all sorts of worthy enterprises show up in the mail. This calendar has been floating up and down through the mail in my home inbox. A convenience return envelope is provided at the seam. Which begs the question: When do people feel compelled to donate to an organization?

More than likely regular donors have a personal connection to the non-profit or public service provider. Perhaps their family members were firefighters and thus there is an inside knowledge of the vital need for a capable response to, in this case, a raging fire. These networks of individuals extending out and away from an organization also have a sense of the character of the people who are involved in such missions, their intent, and their dependability.

It just so happens we had a terrible drought in Minnesota this past summer. Un-irrigated lawns are brittle and brown. My dog Pépé loves hunting through the dry broken stalks of grass. He posed on our walk yesterday at the edge of a corn field.

The wind was incredible today gusting up to thirty miles an hour. Its blustery force lifted top soil right off the harvested fields creating a silty thickness in the air. Bits of hay swirled all around. When a white pickup stormed up behind me on the two-lane country road I eased over to the shoulder and slowed to make it easy to pass. A half a mile along on scenic county road 35 I caught up to an firetruck running its flashing lights.

Only a few more wide turns in the road and the object of concern revealed itself. A thick grey cloud of smoke pealed away from, what at first, seemed like a homesite. Another curve brought a new perspective. The dancing flames were feeding off tall dried grass in the acreage between the asphalt road and a smattering of buildings. Two fire trucks had already arrived. A few of the firefighters, geared up in protective wear, were busy with their equipment. The wind was fanning the mounting flames.

The road led me past the grass fire. At least four more fire trucks passed me as I drove on. Needless to say, I’ll be sending in my donation to the local fire department, staffed by community workers who show up when needed on a windy day.

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