If I have to say anything “good” has come from the mighty uproar from the conservative right since the election, I will have to say that fiscal awareness seems to be growing. It’s good to know where your money comes from and where it goes. Though I wish the fervor had come, say, 8 years ago, I am glad to see people finally starting to care about where their tax dollars go. I would also like to encourage everyone to examine where the rest of their money goes, especially charitable donations.
When you donate funds to “good causes” how aware are you of where your money actually goes? When you tithe, do you know whether or not you are funding a new gym, the salary of a deacon, or a new car for the pastor? When you buy candy from your kid’s school, do you know how much of that money actually goes to fund the school and how much goes to the sponsoring company? When you buy those Girl Scout cookies in bulk, do you know how much of that actually helps out your local troop and how much funds new cookie recipe research, packaging, and marketing campaigns? If you do, I commend you. If you don’t, I encourage you to at least think about it—even if you don’t change your charitable habits, at least be aware of the overhead involved.
One way to ensure that your charitable dollars go to exactly the cause intended is to donate to DonorsChoose.org. Essentially, the site lets you help fund school projects. As education funds are continually being cut, and debates go on about the level of federal and local involvement, school kids bear the brunt. Donors Choose helps kids get the education and experiences they need. And the best part is that you know exactly where your money goes. If you choose to donate, you get to choose not only what school, classroom, and specific project you are helping fund, but you also get to decide if all of your donation goes to fund the program or if a portion of it can be designated to help Donors Choose administration costs. The donation page breaks out all the costs associated with each project. There’s never any doubt where your dollars are going. As an added bonus, depending on the amount you donate to a project, the classes will even send you pictures and thank-you notes when a project is fulfilled.
For the past several years (save last year when we were buying a house) my boyfriend and I have donated to Donors Choose through Sars’s Tomato Nation/Donors Choose Contest. Every October, loyal readers chip in to see just how much money we can raise and how many projects we can fund. Two years ago my boyfriend and I helped fund classroom dictionaries and a reading table for two local Indiana schools. The thank-you notes and pictures we received are priceless.
We’re pitching in again this year. Please consider adding Donors Choose to your charitable giving list. And hey, if now is a good time (you know, before the Christmas gift money gets sucked away), you could always donate through Sars’s challenge and add to that total as well.
In giving even just a little you can be part of something so big.