April 18, 2008

Giving to Charities: How do You Decide?

Okay, you've got an extra $100 earmarked for giving away. Can't buy anything tangible, it has to go to a charity of some sort. How do you decide where that money goes? It's something that we talk about from time to time.

The first part of ours goes to our church. We support the ministry that happens inside the building, and the ministry that happens outside of the walls. Our combined funds there help to fund everything from electricity for the building, to housing two families that need a place to live while they get their lives in order.

Exactly $0 goes to the county police, mostly as penance for arguing with me (!!) about the police department coverage. I didn't really need to write that, but it bothered me so much that I thought I should.

More than a year ago I implored you to help with Multiple Sclerosis. That is a disease that my mother deals with. We get a letter asking for support her in her yearly walk each spring, and we do what we can. We have given money, but it never feels like we're making a difference.

This year a friend is participating in The Breast Cancer Three Day walk. She has acknowledged that she is crazy for trying to pull off sixty miles in three days, but she's doing it because she sees women every day in her office dealing with cancer of all kinds. (Men too) My grandmother and several friends have been affected by breast cancer. Some have survived, and some have not. We will support Charlene in her walk, too.

Well, I just found out that there is a walk in May to raise money for studying kidney disease, particularly FSGS. Wait, I have FSGS! It looks like I can get a shirt if I bring them $100. That's a lot of money for a shirt. We've talked about it, but have not decided if we're going to participate. Is it weird to participate in an event aimed at helping you? Should I be allowed to have a shirt for free for being a patient? (kidding)

But there are still other great causes, some health related but lots that are not. How do you decide to split your money? Do you give to only one place? In these days of high gas prices and soaring grocery prices - have you stopped giving or cut back?

(Sorry, this post is generally all-over-the-place. It was in my head differently.)

1 comment:

  1. I have a list of organizations I’d like to support … which grows with time. Given $100, I would split it between 2, maybe 3, organizations that support different causes (i.e. hunger / medical / infrastructure). I lean towards “big picture” international organizations + environmental organizations I know in more detail. Church is pre-budgeted and ideally local organizations get smaller out-of-pocket donations or volunteerism, though that's been lacking lately. I use http://www.charitynavigator.org/ to learn more about organizations (when they are large enough / old enough to be reviewed).