Donate — Without Making Yourself a Charity Case in the Process

With all the national tragedies and local, heartwarming charity cases that we all are requested to donate to, it can be overwhelming. Personally, I am a bleeding heart and want to help everyone. But as one can imagine, in the process of donating to these causes I put a financial burden on myself. I realized this starting last school year when several colleagues,  their immediate family members, and even one of our students became ill or were victims of accidents. Through the donations of money and items to provide meals to these families and comfort baskets to let them know we are thinking of them, I began to realize that I was having less and less money after paying bills. This year there were fewer illnesses (only 2 that I can think of now), but more tragedies like Sandy Hook, Boston, and now Oklahoma. Add the requests to add a $5 to my total at store check-outs to benefit some charity organization, to donate money to a friend’s marathon fundraiser, to the lacrosse players’ carwash, to the middle schooler’s field trip, or to help a friend who has fallen on hard times and you can see how all these donations would add up.  My heart feels for these people. I want to contribute to help them rebuild their lives and to remind them that the world is good and that people care, yet I cannot disadvantage myself any more without turning myself into one of these charity cases.

So am I done with all charities? No, of course not. But I am providing a rationale for my kindred, bleeding-heart spirits for not having to donate to EVERY charity that comes along. Instead of donating every single time everyone recommends I do so, I can feel confident that I have done enough because not only do I donate when I really feel for a cause, but I also do something every day that makes a difference in the world without making a difference in my wallet.

For years I have been using www.thehungersite.com and it’s affiliated partners to tell the site’s donors to make a donation on my behalf. In 2013 they expanded their already wide base of donation sites (Rainforest, Autism, Veterans, Animals, Literacy, Diabetes, etc) to include a variety of global projects (currently feeding victims of the tornado in Oklahoma) under the site www.greatergood.com. All of these sites are tabbed together, so no matter which URL you type in, you will be able to access them all without typing another letter on the keyboard. Just get your mouse-clicking finger ready and you’ll be donating away without spending one cent of your own money. Tip: Make this site your homepage so you remember to click every day. Add up all those yearly clicks and you’ll be able to see the difference that you can make. Spread the word to your friends and your impact will begin to grow exponentially.

Another cool thing about these sites is the fact that each has a store of quality projects that you can buy  that donate more money to the causes. I especially like the gifts that give more. Every year I ask people to buy one of these gifts instead of buying me a real present. I don’t need a collection of objects in my house, but if you make a donation for kids to get schooling in a 3rd world country or to feed victims of a world tragedy, you’ll touch my heart forever. Every year for Christmas I buy a gift of 2 goats for Rwandan families ($60) so they can feed themselves at first and eventually start a small dairy farm to generate some income. I’ve done this for at least the last 4 years, and hope to be able to continue for many many more.

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