Paying it forward

Hooray for tax returns!

with splurging on new shoes and a decadent massage socking away a good chunk in my savings account, I want to use part of this year's return to make a few small gifts to charitable organizations.  This is the first year I've really had the means to donate money to charity.  I've always cared deeply about various causes, but frankly, living in one of the country's most expensive cities on a (until recently) single income just didn't leave a whole lot of wiggle room in my budget.

So, being new to this whole thing, I'm su
per curious to hear about your experiences, dear readers.  Do you donate to charity?  (You don't need to tell me how much, obviously...that's private.) How often do you donate?  How do you decide which organizations to donate to?  If you have a certain amount to give, do you give it to several organizations or one organization (where it could potentially go further)?

I've got a few ideas in mind already, but if there are any organizations that you feel are particularly worthy, I'd love to hear about them.



robyn michelle-lee said...

wonderful idea!
my husband and i set aside a portion of our income each month for charity, and it is slowly accumulating into what we would like to establish as a scholarship fund! we were both so grateful for the scholarships we received when we were studying and we want to give back to others

Carolyn said...

What a great idea! I LOVE Dress for Success! I volunteer and am on the local chair commitee for the annual gala. I love the idea that providing professional attire delivered with a hug and sound advice goes such a long way to help a woman's self esteem. In addition alot of their funding goes towards professional training. As a former banker, I spoke at their Professional Womans Group and was astonished that their are so many women out there that have no idea on how a basic bank account works.
As you can probably tell this is close to my heart & what a generous person you are to think of others! xoxo

victoria said...

I've never actually donated a huge lump sum to any charity, now I feel guilty :( but I always give my change to all the random charities around campus, and in the boxes at stores/restaurants etc.

When I'm older and have a set salary I'm almost sure I'll donate, but for now I guess I'll just donate blood, haha.

Love your blog btw!
- Victoria


Jenn said...

I'm a big believer in the idea that supporting women internationally = a better future for everyone.

Also, my heart breaks for all of the things that non-Western women are faced with. For that reason, I like Women for Women International.

Another of my faves is anything related to empowering people to make better decisions about food, or better lives through food. DC central kitchen is a great local org.

Café Chick said...

There are so many worthwhile charities that it can be hard to decide who to support, and I can't realistically contribute to all that I'd like to. I have chosen about half a dozen main charities that I will contribute modest amounts to when I can. Unfortunately I don't have enough cashflow to do much better than that at the moment, but I make an effort to hand over change to street appeals or collection boxes if I have it on me. I realise it's not a lot, but I figure that every little bit helps.

Lindsay said...

I donate to Animal Friends, where I adopted my dog Roxy. I try to give back to them for giving me my best friend. And anytime I'm in a store and people are collecting for animals I give them a few dollars :)

Sarah said...

Just throwing this out there, but I am doing a year of service through AmeriCorps with the Greenbrier Learning Center. We're a community based non-profit that serves the low-income, immigrant and refugee children and families of south Arlington, VA through afterschool programs and adult education programming. It is a cause near and dear to my heart. Our website is www.gblc.org.

alison said...

what a great question to pose! :) I usually make a number of small donations throughout the year, often based on friends' fundraising efforts for various charities through marathons, walk-a-thons, etc. I also try to give to my alma mater and breast cancer research (my mom is a survivor) every year.

I am most passionate about supporting global initiatives that are eduating girls in the developing world - Jenn's suggestion was great. CARE, Heifer International, Mercy Corps, and Partners in Health are also doing amazing work to make a difference where it's really needed.

what's important is to give to an organization(s) that is doing work you believe in.

Struggler said...

I'm at the point in life where I certainly should be donating to charity, and I do, in small ways, but I find myself holding back on the "big" gift.

These days, charities are such big businesses, and it seems we are forever hearing about money raised that goes to corporate coffers or even (horrors) ends up buying weapons or paying foreign aid workers to do jobs that locals should do. I just get so depressed about it.

I hate that as soon as I donate to one cause, I get a dozen bits of junk mail from similar charities. It irritates me that after I gave to Haiti, the Red Cross emailed back almost immediately to ask for more. Yet we know they didn't spend those funds.

I think my approach is going to have to be to donate to friends who are doing things personally, or to pick very small, local groups, where I can see exactly where the money goes.

The other thing I'm dabbling in is making loans via Kiva. I like the concept of choosing who gets the funds, and knowing I am providing capital to enable someone to improve their situation in the long term.

shelly said...

Farm Sanctuary :)

hope you had a great weekend away!

avalonne said...

IN LOVE WITH YOUR BLOG. Just came across it and whoa... in awe. Did you draw the banner? It's gorgeous. Following you now and adding you to blogroll. Please feel free to visit my blogs, thanks :)

r. said...

Amnesty International, they focus on human rights, and depending on where you live they focus on a different human rights. I donate to them once a month, and they are happy with one time donations or whatever you are comfortable with. If you are thinking of something that is more local and personal, you could donate some money to a friend who is going on a volunteer trip. I just got a letter from a friend today who is going to go volunteer in Asia and I'm already planning on giving her some money to support her.

Analiese Marie said...

Great ideas, everyone. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


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