Where do you donate?

I just did something that I’ve done more times in the last year than in the rest of my life combined. I responded to an email asking me for money by giving some.
This time it was an email from Ira Glass of This American Life.
Last week, it was from MotherJones. I also recently gave a donation to an organization I’m on the board of, the Sistersong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective. Other times it’s been Bitch Magazine, or my college alumni association. Each time it’s less than 30 dollars. Often it’s only 5.
I am by no means a rich person. I’m paying my bills, I have some savings from my first few years working full-time with minimal expenses. My freelance income is modest.
So what’s been motivating my recent donations? Well, the economy for one. I realize that times are tough for a lot of groups and organizations, and since I didn’t really lose anything in the stock market (never had anything there to begin with), I’m doing okay. At least, not worse than I was before. I’ve decided I can spare what it costs to buy a cup of coffee, or a nice meal.
Another thing that’s changed my perspective is being on the other end of those asks. After working for non-profits for the last three years, I’ve done my fair share of donation emails. I’ve also gotten involved in boards–I’m now on the Board of Directors of two organizations, including the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, which has a huge focus on fundraising. I’m doing the difficult work of learning to ask for money as well.
When I used to think of philanthropy, I’d think of really really rich people giving huge sums of money. The culture of giving has changed, thanks to online donation programs and groups like MoveOn.org or the Obama campaign, who encouraged people to give even small amounts understanding that if many people did, it would make a big impact.
Where do you donate?

Join the Conversation