Thursday, September 6, 2012

philanthropist in training

You know those people who say if they won the lottery they would donate the money and keep on working?

Yea, I think they're crazy, too. I am not one of those people. That's not to say I wouldn't donate a portion of my winnings, but I have a lot of other, more selfish things I'd do first.

I don't remember what got me thinking about donations. It might have been the tenth piece of mail I received from the Atlantic City Rescue Mission asking for donations, or it could have been the "Code Red" photo album I was looking at on Facebook of dogs that needed to be adopted or they would've been put to sleep (Don't do that, you won't be able to sleep at night). In any case, I started thinking about how a few years ago, I used to give away a pretty big (at least, to me) chunk of change annually. I remember getting my 2010 taxes done and I was shocked that I had donated close to $900 that year. And that was when I was making a lot less than I did now.

Then reality gave me a nice slap upside the head (probably in the form of a bank statement) and I remembered in 2010, I had no mortgage, no phone bill, essentially no real monthly expenses other than my personal bills and gas. How quickly times change.

Actually, when the hubs and I had our taxes done this year, our accountant encouraged us to do less financial donating and more "actual" donating (that's a technical term, I swear). Meaning, we should be cleaning out our closets more and our wallets less. Which actually works better for me, since getting rid of old clothes is my favorite reason to buy new ones! She told us to aim for once a season, but it looks like we'll be on track for three donations. We did one in spring and I currently have two bags full (just a matter of getting the hubs to dig through his stuff - the man has more clothes than I do!) Hopefully, we'll be able to get in another donation before the end of the year. Goodwill is great because you can use their computer at the drop off station to print your own receipt.

This year I haven't been able to donate as much money as I would have liked to, but I've managed to send a few dollars to a few of my favorite charities. As you can probably guess, animal charities are my go-to donation of choice. This year I've been supporting a friend's organization, The Lexus Project, which provides legal defense for endangered animals (usually dogs) who have been taken away from their owner(s). I'm also a member of the ASPCA & WWF organizations. I also made my first contribution to an alumni fund of my first alma-mater, Assumption Regional Catholic School. That donation made me feel old.

But enough about me, what about YOU? How do you donate? Do you prefer to donate your time rather than your money? Do you set aside a certain percent of your income?

1 comment:

  1. I really need to donate more. I've actually been thinking about donating to food banks year round. We always end up earning free turkeys at Thanksgiving, so we typically give that away, sometimes along with other food, but EVERYONE donates food during the holidays and people need food year 'round. So what I'd really like to do is start calling a local food bank maybe once a month and ask what type of items they need at the moment.

    I'm also a big fan of Kiva. The microloans themselves aren't technically tax deductible, but you can also make tax deductible donations to the organization to help cover their operating costs. And I like the fact that since your money gets paid back, you can keep reinvesting it in other small businesses. :-)