Where Should We Give?

In March 2009, I pledged a certain amount of money to our church for an expansion campaign.  It included an up-front donation and monthly installments over a three-year period.  Next month is the last I’ll make that monthly installment and (after re-adjusting my tithe) we are going to have $58 a month freed up in our budget.

Since we are accustomed to giving away that amount of money, we are not just going to completely keep it for ourselves.  We might decide on a portion to give and a portion to keep or to continue giving all of it.  Since we do not currently fund our Charitable Giving savings account, we could certainly direct the money there to give in larger lump sums later.

I have come up with some ideas of what to do with the money but I would really appreciate some new ideas in the comments!

The International Poor

Something I’ve wanted to do for a while is sponsor a Compassion International child.  I haven’t researched the organization thoroughly but I know it’s a Christian ministry focused on child development and that you are paired with an individual child to sponsor.  The commitment would be $38/month.  I’m a little reticent because I would probably only want to provide the support for 1 year but I suspect we will feel pressure to continue indefinitely.

We have made three Kiva loans and would like to make more.  I don’t really consider this giving because we do have the option of getting our money back when the loans are repaid.  I like the microfinance business model and that I get to choose exactly to whom the loan is given.

The Needy in Our Community

In the past we have supported the poor in our community through giving to the Durham Rescue Mission and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.  I think both of these are worthy institutions and we will support them again in the future, but I’m looking for some others to add to the mix.

Education

A couple months ago we attended an alumni weekend at my high school, which turned out to be a big fundraising pitch for the upcoming renovation of the school and the ongoing gap between the operating cost and the support provided by the county/state.  (I went to a magnet high school that operates research labs and does lots of other cool stuff, much of which is funded by alumni, parents, and grants.)  I was totally sold on the school’s needs and was moved to donate.  Kyle, on the other hand, thought that if we were going to give money to a school we should give to one that can’t currently meet its basic needs, like his high school.  We actually had kind of a big fight about it.  The one thing we agreed on in that conversation was that society would greatly benefit from universal preschool education and that an organization like Head Start is a worthy cause.

Of course, our college is also always asking for money.  We had a great experience there are would like to contribute, but it hasn’t been a top priority thus far.

Environment

I haven’t donated to organizations working for environmental protection/sustainability/energy causes before although it is an interest of mine.  The Union of Concerned Scientists name has caught my ear a few times so I might research that a bit more.

Products I Use for Free

I occasionally donate to public radio during their fundraising seasons and I have sporadically donate to individual podcasts to which I listen.  It would probably feel good to become a “sustainer” and have an ongoing donation, even a small one.  I have never donated to Wikipedia although I use it frequently.  I saw on one good-places-to-donate list that the public library was listed as first because it benefits the entire community, and I do use ours frequently.

Do you have any suggestions for where to give our money?  What charitable organizations/non-profits do you respect?  Do you prefer local, national, or international organizations?  How do you find and research the places to which you want to donate?

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Filed under: budgeting, giving, goals

One Response to "Where Should We Give?"

  1. […] and I have to do a massive budget overhaul for next month.  We need major edits in groceries, tithe, cars, and travel and minor edits in several other categories.  Of course there are always more […]

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