Mom-Friendly Ideas For Random Acts of Kindness That Boost Your Mental Health, Episode 217

Welcome to Episode 217. Did you know that February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day? My plea is to count yourself in! Moms can perform random acts of kindness and be the recipient of them too! Did you know that when you are kind or generous to others that you can feel a helper’s high? I bet you have oodles of ideas of things you can do with your kids and today’s guest shares her thoughts on those too. However, what I found fascinating is that, despite being a busy mom of two, Jennifer Klein a seasoned philanthropist and author on the topic of giving, has cracked the code on how to be an everyday philanthropist and reap the rewards of exuding a generous spirit! She’s getting that boost in her mental health every week and as a mom I’m know you can use this unstoppable feeling on any given day to change your energy for the maximum! In today’s episode, there are also a ton of practical insights and giving ideas fit for a mom with her own business. You’ll hear about your options – should you go all in on cause marketing, strategically partnering with a nonprofit, or donate company funds to support a cause that’s on your heart? Listen for fresh ways to consider these options.

This episode is brought to you by my #1 Amazon bestselling book, Fertile Imagination, A Guide for Stretching Every Mom’s Superpower for Maximum Impact.

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Jennifer Klein Official Bio and Links

Jenn Klein, CFRE, CHC, is a world-class and highly respected nonprofit fundraiser, speaker, coach, and one of the most brilliant minds on philanthropy. She is the founder and CEO of You Are A Philanthropist merchandise shop and podcast, a major gift officer for a Catholic school, an independent consultant with Arbonne International, and a proud mother of two boys. For more than 18 years, Jenn has helped nonprofits grow through best fundraising practices and strategies. Jenn also coaches individuals to make healthy lifestyle choices, which, at their core, include giving to charity. Jenn is on a mission to share the benefits of generosity, not just for others but also for yourself and our world. She just published her first book “Giving is Selfish”, which can be found on Amazon.


Jen Klein, welcome to unimaginable wellness. I am so excited. You won the drawing from my Mom Mogul Makeover webinar!


Thank you, Melissa.

I’m so excited to be here. I’m so excited to win this opportunity. I am excited to have you here just for anyone that’s listening and catching this in January, I had the opportunity to deliver a talk for mom moguls and Jennifer won the drawing of appearing as a guest on today’s podcast. And so I am so excited to have Jen here.

I’m also really excited for this very, like. Secret sneaky reason so not only does Jen Klein have an amazing like business, but it’s also in the art of generosity, the spirit of giving, and I was like, holy cow, how perfect is that right to like. Have a lucky winner. Be like a giver and generous human and nonprofit expert.

So Jen share with listeners a bit about your background. Certainly share a bit about your book and, and we could just like get into this conversation. I’m excited. You are so kind. Thank you for saying that. I’ve been a fundraiser for 20 years in nonprofits and it’s my passion. And when I became a full time mom about eight years ago, I wanted to continue to stay in my field of fundraising, but found myself a fundraiser without a nonprofit since I became a full time mom.

And I decided to start blogging and I blogged about, like you said, the general, the, the good feelings. Of generosity and it was really inspired by a quote that I heard from Denzel Washington and he said giving is selfish and I was shocked. I had to replay it. I thought he said giving is selfless. And that is always what I internalized and believed giving was about was being selfless and he turned it on a dime and made me realize that giving feels good.

And so I wrote my book called Giving is Selfish that recently I published on Amazon and it highlights how good it feels to give. I love that. And I think what’s, what’s really, really compelling and something that I want to just grab onto that you just said, you said that you’re a nonprofit professional, but you didn’t find yourself having a nonprofit.

And I was thinking to myself, well, I will say this. Having three children of my own, there is no profit making in my family. So that’s really nonprofit in terms of just the family structure. But, but I get what you’re saying. I get what you’re saying. And so it, it does flip the thinking on his head as far as giving is.

Selfless to selfish. And so I’m sure your book garnered a lot of attention because of its title. I’m wondering, as someone who wrote her own book, myself having written a book, was there something that you learned about yourself as a mom through the actual process of having written this book?  I think that’s such a great question and something I do discuss in my book about how much I learned about being a mother when I became a mother.

As many new moms, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what I was in for. And I found myself struggling to work on myself and, and be a good mom. By taking care of myself and so when we practice self care, we are giving to our Children when we are taking care of ourselves, we are inspiring and giving to our Children and I think that was such an important life lesson that I learned from being a full time mom and I to this day and for the rest of my life will balance my giving scale, which is what I mean by that is taking care of myself so that I can take care of others.

That sounds like a really important thing to become more self aware of. I know that a lot of mom founders, creators, and entrepreneurs, they have it in their heart to give and having created a business that might be one avenue through which they give. And, and this balance that you mentioned, I’m sure it plays a role also, even in the world of commerce, where someone might want to do some cause marketing, or someone might want to strategically partner with a nonprofit organization.

So here’s the question that I have and the context that I provide is that I actually started a nonprofit and this was several years ago. But I also had my coaching practice. And so the thinking was, well, let me create a nonprofit so that this way I have full ownership of who gets a scholarship or not, because that was part of what I was going to be contributing.

And then of course I spoke to an expert who said, well, Melissa. That’s a lot of extra work. It’s like having an entire other business. So my balance would have been totally like topsy turvy. I would have been so lopsided. It’s not even funny. Jennifer, Jen, as an expert in this space, a mom that wants to have, wants to be mentor and like exhibit to her child, what giving looks like and the benefits, how can someone that’s a founder think about doing good through the avenue of their business, but in a way that.

They don’t end up being so lopsided.  I think that was really wise of you to seek counsel and to realize that you don’t have the time to commitment that is required to start a non profit. Starting a non profit is something that I also realized. I wasn’t able to create, even though it’s a wonderful thing to put into the world and that the world needs more of, but I think that there is, especially for mothers who are in business, there are other avenues to pursue in order to give back one could be giving in your example, through a nonprofit for scholarship, or could be giving back in their business.

To, to charity. So for me, for example, I give back some proceeds of mine to charity so that I feel connected to my mission, connected to my community and, and I reap the benefits because that feels good. That makes a lot of sense. So then in terms of making that decision, right. And in terms of really having not just a business, but then also a family, like for me, and I’m sure for other listeners, it’s like, you feel like you just are giving 24  seven and now we want to add on our long list of to do’s another act of.

Help us see the social rate of return, right? Or the nonprofit rate of return. I think it’s the SROI. I don’t know why I’m not getting the exact acronym correctly. You correct me when you answer the question, but how can we get the benefit and not out? Like just drain ourselves to no avail. Like I want to add giving, but at the same time as a parent and a business owner, you give a lot when you’re marketing your business.

Like you don’t get paid for the marketing necessarily. You give a lot as a mom, like for me, three meals a day, I’m giving those out. And now we want to add giving. So why is it that that would make good sense from like an energy perspective, even like Biological perspective. What are some benefits? What’s the SROI on giving for a mom entrepreneur who gives all the time?

I think it’s, I think you’re so spot on to recognize the unrecognized work that mothers do giving back to our children is crucial to making the world a better place. So I think starting with the mindset that. What I’m doing at home is really important and feeling successful in that area of your life is, is really an important component to ensuring that you feel good about what you’re doing.

And really, my message is I want people to feel good about what they’re doing at home in their business and in their community. And. If they feel like they have the time to, to donate in some area of their life to a, in their community, they will reap the benefits of better social connection, better mental health, better physical health.

It’s been proven science that  giving back. lowers your blood pressure. So there are physical benefits that we know from science that giving back feels good. So it’s not just as Denzel Washington said, something that is. It’s intangible that we can’t quantify. It’s also something that we have quantified through science.

Is there like a story, maybe it could be a personal story or someone that’s included in your book that you can share with listeners that might be thought provoking or just kind of helpful as far as giving us some sort of next steps, like choosing the best way for us to give, not just so that it bubble wraps our sanity, but that it aligns with even like the business that we might have.

Yeah, so I think first of all, I have a podcast called you are a philanthropist where I interviewed 30 philanthropists who I have deemed philanthropists, even though perhaps by society standards, they aren’t the millionaires. Giving lots of money to, to charity, but in their everyday lives, they’re committing some sort of their time commitment to a charity of their choice.

So for me personally, I like to be a soccer coach, which is what I’m doing later in the day today. And I also like to give to my local food pantry, which is about two hours. Every other month I go around my neighborhood, pick up bags from people’s porches and deliver it to my food pantry. So that’s something that I’m really excited about and something that my children actually do with me now.

So I love teaching them about how we have so much and how we can give back. Some of the guests that I interviewed really are inspiring. I encourage your listeners to check it out wherever they find a podcast.  For me, I was really inspired by a friend of mine who has a child who is severely disabled and he needs a full time ventilator, full time nurse at home, and yet she has found a way to give back to the Ronald McDonald house.

She does a run with him in his wheelchair every year and raises money through, through that run. And she also  It gives back through stocking the pantries at the Ronald McDonald house. And her name’s Daphne bird singer. If anybody wanted to listen to that episode of the you are philanthropist podcast.  So she, she really inspires me in her everyday life.

She’s giving back to her, her children. She has three children and I’m privileged to know what a great woman she is, how committed she is to her community, her family, and her business.  So let me ask you this question as far as personally. So when you actually go through your day and you insert an act of giving, however that might take shape for you, explain to listeners.

How you feel after doing that act or during the act, like really get vivid into it, because I want to understand just like what it feels like to give, even as a mom that already has her own like podcast and practice, wrote a book, has kids, like, how does it feel to give for you personally? Yeah, that’s a great question.

I think for me, I do feel really good about. Doing work in my community and feeling inspired by those who are also doing work in my community and feeling like together we’re making a bigger difference. I think sometimes we overlook little acts of charity, little acts of kindness, and, but these little things add up and do make a difference.

For example, just holding the door at the Dunkin Donuts for the person behind you, that’s an act of kindness. Being kinder to the cashier when maybe someone was not kinder before you. So these everyday acts that I do are, are something that I say to myself, you put some good into the world. You made the world a better place for at least one person.

So it sounds to me that anyone can be a philanthropist. That’s what I believe. Yeah, that’s what it sounds like. And then here’s the other thing. So back to someone that has a business, back to someone that has to make a decision, like strategically partner with a nonprofit, donate money in some sort of other way, I don’t even know, I can’t even imagine right now, maybe like participating in someone’s Kickstarter, for example.

Or creating their own nonprofit. Is there any sort of wisdom that you can share with us, with listeners who have a business, we want to do good and we want to make a decision, the right decision for us, like choosing path a B or C, like any sort of question that we can hold on to and really just ask ourselves before moving forward in any given direction.

So I think finding what you’re most passionate about is the key to. Your success with giving back  for me, that’s my local food pantry and for others that might be a mental health organization or a cancer research organization, whatever it is that you find yourself that you want to commit your time to, you should pursue that.

Because if you’re not passionate about giving back, it is going to be draining and it’s not going to be fulfilling and where your passion leads you is where you should go. Got it. That makes, so that makes sense because it’s the same in terms of a business, right? Like if you’re not passionate about it, even if the market opportunity is gigantic, it’s going to feel more draining because it’s like you need a lift.

Like as a mom entrepreneur, like we need every lift that we could possibly imagine. And this is so not about plastic surgery, even though the thought just popped in my mind, but maybe I could use a lift there too, but I choose not to at this stage of my life. But I think. Any opportunity that a mom has to go in the direction that excites her beyond belief, like we’re talking like giddy, like, Oh my gosh, I cannot believe I had the opportunity to do this today with them.

Like, if you feel that, then I would say that could be like the next step, right? So you have this like for profit entity, let’s imagine, let’s say you’re a coach or whatever. And it makes sense for you to somehow be involved with dress for success as an example. Well, maybe the way that you participate does depend on what you can give.

Like you might have old suits, right? And right now we’re like Zoom culture, cozy culture. So do you really need like that suit? I know. Don’t so that’s like one way, but then the other side of it is having tried it myself, just as like heads up sort of thing for anyone that’s listening and Jen Klein, like your own sort of experiences, like the option is there to create like your own nonprofit, but be mindful that it actually does feel like a whole other business.

Yes. So. I would say personally, as my own guidance, I know that organizations I’ve worked with, they’ve been successful with cause marketing. And for them, the tie in is that there’s some sort of connection between the brand promise of the for profit product and the actual organization with which you partner.

So like Dawn is a great example, the dishwashing detergent and like cleaning ducts in some oil water way.  And so that makes sense. But I think Additionally, you know what Jen said as far as the passion side of the house, I think that’s absolutely important because specifically as a mom, you need that lift.

And so Jen, this has been really helpful. I think your perspective as anyone can be a philanthropist is like the big takeaway that I’m getting. And I also think that If we think about motherhood, not so much as like straight up philanthropy, but it kind of is in its own way. I really do think it kind of is in its own way, but it’s a way that is legacy building, right?

Like your DNA gets passed on. So you, you certainly reap the rewards. So Jen Klein, where can people continue to learn about you and your book and what you do? You should go to my website. You are a philanthropist. com. They can find more information about me on there, as well as look at my book, giving a selfish on Amazon.

And I did give a discount to your listeners. If they type in coupon code unimaginable wellness, they can get a discount, a 20 percent discount on my merchandise, which celebrates philanthropy. I’m also on Instagram and I love to connect there as well. Underscore Jen Klein. Beautiful. Thank you, Jen. So as far as bubble wrapping your own sanity, your own sanity, like you’ve got soccer going on, you’ve got work within your local community, like.

What’s like one tangible thing that you do in order to stay sane? That’s such a great question. And I am excited to say I’m getting a massage later today. So I have a monthly subscription to my local massage and I am very excited about that. I’m excited for you. I am like, like now I’m inspired. I’m like, okay, yeah, I should, I should do the same.

And I think it’s. The funny thing about a massage is that it is self care for sure. And it does feel good, but there’s like these benefits that somehow are additive, even to like business owners in a super tangible way, as far as like the stress levels that we have, I was reading the five o’clock 5 AM club.

I don’t know if you know that book by Robin, I think it’s Sharma or something. And that’s part of his protocol. It’s like two massages every week, and that can help make you like tip top performer. And so I think what you’re doing is, is self care. It’s self it’s giving to yourself and it makes you a happier giver to everyone else.

So thank you for that tip. You’re welcome. And if you don’t schedule it monthly, it’ll never happen. Amen to that. I totally know I have zero massages in the whole 2024 right now. So now you’ve got me going on that. Thank you, Jen, so much. Thank you, Melissa. Thanks for having me. Here are the three things that really captured my attention with regards to the conversation with Jen.

The first point is that you can be a philanthropist. You do not require an inordinate amount of time, nor millions or billions of dollars. And I think that is refreshing because even a Random act of kindness today, again, in light of February 17th is something that is going to give you those giving benefits that Jen spoke of.

The second point is that Jen did say that giving has biological benefits. And I think if you want to really think about ways to bubble wrap your sanity as a mom, entrepreneur, founder, or creator. This offers a very productive solution. So if you actually intend to give in any sort of way, whether it’s your time or even your skills, please be aware it might be selfish and that is okay.

The third point is that Jen and I really talked about this idea that should you start your own nonprofit? Let’s say that you have a for profit organization or business or consultancy practice, and you’re thinking about a nonprofit. Is this a path that makes sense for you? Is this going to make business sense?

Is this going to be in alignment with the amount of time you have to give on a weekly basis to your business? Well, from my perspective and Jen’s, it’s really important to understand that creating a nonprofit is an entire business in and of itself. And if you feel like you can be at the helm of leadership in both entities at the same time and be a mom, then God bless you.

And I definitely support you. So let me know how I can help you really make that true. Otherwise, there are options such as cause marketing and donating actual money from your business to an organization that makes sense, given what Jen said. So given your passion, which that is going to help give you the lift you need and be invigorated by your donations or your giving, or given in alignment with the services that you offer and your main value proposition.

Please be aware, this is really strategic and it’s something that I could absolutely support you with. Reach out to me on Instagram at Melissa Lerina. This is in the show notes at M E L I S S A L L A R E N A. Let me know if you would like some guidance pertaining to the very next step with regards to your business.

Oftentimes we don’t know what we don’t know. So get on the phone with me. Let me know how I can be of service. What question is on your mind? So I could help answer it or point you in the best direction. I am someone who truly believes that through networking, we can each find our angels. And in that way, I want to support you this very week.

So go ahead. Do not be shy. Get on Instagram at Melissa Llarena. Hope you enjoyed this conversation. Be sure to share this with one mom entrepreneur in that very way you are actually giving. And again, February 17th is a random act of kindness day. So celebrate it as Jen suggested. And I hope you do get that massage just like Jen shall be doing.

Thank you again.


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Melissa Llarena

Melissa Llarena is an author, imagination coach, consultant, speaker, and contributor to ForbesWomen articles that have garnered 4 million + views. She is also the host of Unimaginable Wellness, the podcast for entrepreneurs, founders, and creators who are also moms. Featured guests include GaryVee and Beth Comstock. Melissa holds a psychology degree from New York University, an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and a Transformational Coaching Academy certificate. She is training to become a meditation practitioner. Melissa lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and three sons. Visit

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