September 29, 2009

Your Charitable Giving Makes a Difference

People are tightening their belts in a lot of areas. So it's no surprise that charitable giving is down 6% this year, the biggest plunge in decades. There are people out of work, and many others are cutting back to the bare minimum.

During my Buy Nothing New year, I've cut out almost all discretionary spending for clothes, books, gifts, etc. I'm only buying necessities. I've also cut our food budget by approximately 25%, which I attribute to using what we have and wasting less food. Thanks Frugal Girl and Wasted Food! But what I haven't cut back on is our charitable giving. We still don't give anywhere near as much as I'd like, but I'm doing everything I can to keep our donations at the level we'd been giving in previous years. That means it may be a bit more as a percentage of our income, but it's the same dollar value to the charities.

Nonprofits and charities are really hurting. A lot of people rely on these services to get their basic needs met. And endangered species, the environment, human rights, and education - all these causes aren't just going away because there's a recession or because we've got a Democratic president.

I usually allow a certain dollar amount per year to give to charity and causes I believe in. It comes out to a monthly amount that's spread around. I also allow a few hundred dollars for things that come up that year: a friend does the AIDS ride, or I find out about a great charity I've never heard of.

I've never done this on my blog, but I'd like to ask you to consider helping out a friend of mine. Because of the problems with our healthcare in this country, which can drive hardworking people to bankruptcy, this person has to pay for her own cancer treatment. And her kind sister, my friend Jill, is taking it upon herself to raise the money on her blog and through word of mouth.

Please click here to read my friend Jill's post about her sister Lisa, a woman in the prime of life who has to deal not just with this devastating illness, but with the stress of paying for her treatment. In my opinion, it's untenable that anyone should have to deal with raising money on top of fighting cancer.

I know my readers are non-consumers, frugalistas, an all-around thrifty sort. But I also know we're a generous bunch who wants to spend our money on things that really make a difference. And I promise you that whatever amount you can afford to give to this kind family will be truly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your kindness and generosity.


Ellen said...

While my dollar amount giving is limited, especially right now, I do make a special effort to donate my time and energy to charitable causes on an ongoing basis. I appreciate the point of your post, but just wanted to add this as an additional option for people with limited financial means.

Angela said...

Thanks Ellen- that's a great point, and sometimes time is even more appreciated and valuable than money...

Rena said...

Something that's always been hard for me is finding the courage to ask for help... I so want to be independent. Thanks for the reminder that sometimes all it takes is to put your needs and wishes out there, and the most unlikely people will see and respond.

I've been lurking here for a while, enjoying your posts, but this one really touched me.

Angela said...

Rena- Thanks so much for your comment. I have the same "problem," if you can call it that- I find it hard to ask for help. But when I've really needed it, people have been there for me. And sometimes not the ones you'd expect.

There's nothing wrong with "lurking," but I'm always so happy to hear from readers. Thanks again.

Jill said...

Angela, Thank you for posting the information about my sister. I have read your posts for many months now, and understand how this may have sent you a step or two out of the comfort zone of being frugal and money-minding. This road is long and hard, having just discovered that Lisa has yet more cancer to contend with. Knowing you are out there being mindful of our cause makes me feel so much more supported and less alone.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


Sheri said...

I really enjoy your blog, but I'm not sure why you feel that a Democratic President would make the causes you mentioned "go away".

For example, under George W. Bush, Republican, the list of species added to the endangered list declined to a new low: down to 60 from a high of 521 under Clinton, Democrat. Bush is also considered by many to have had the worst environmental record in the history of the US Presidency. Sarah Palin, who fortunately was not elected as the VP, favored drilling for oil in the Arctic National Refuge!

I could go, but I am wondering now if maybe I totally misunderstood your comment, or that you didn't mean to link our President to these issues at all.

Angela said...


Oh, I didn't word that well at all. I meant that sometimes people get more complacent when they think the party in power is more responsive to their causes. Does that make sense? I would not link Obama with any of the causes I mentioned, just meant that people shouldn't think he's going to make all those things better overnight (or at all for some of them, given what's on the agenda). Also, I did say these things AREN'T going away just because we've got a Democratic president.

So, while I think Obama or a Democratic president might be more responsive to issues like the environment, it doesn't mean we can all relax and let the government take care of the problems and stop giving money and making calls, etc.

I hope that makes sense. Thanks for writing, I don't want to be misunderstood.

Also- I'm sure I have some Independent and Republican readers, and I really don't want to turn anyone off. This blog isn't supposed to be political, although I'm a somewhat political person so that will come into my posts at times.

Thanks for reading, and for taking the time to make a comment. I appreciate it.

Angela said...

Whenever I read a post like this, I am so grateful for the free National Health Service we have had here in Britain for 65 years. It isn't perfect, but I cannot imagine living with your system.

You cannot help making 'political' comments sometimes- just go on being your sweet self, that's why we love the blog!

blessings x

Angela said...

Angela- How sweet, thank you so much.

Yes, sometimes when conversations about health care come up, and some people in my opinion try to scare people with horror stories about national health care in other countries, I feel like saying, "don't you know anyone who lives in Europe? Can't you pick up the phone and ask them what they think about their healthcare?"

Everyone I've ever known from Europe has nothing but positive things to say. And Britain in particular seems to have a great system.

Thanks so much for your comment. Just yesterday I was thinking about how lucky I am to have such wonderful readers. I am so grateful.