Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Conscious Shopper Challenge: Give to Charity

We've made it to the end - after nearly a year of making small changes to go green without going broke, we're down to the last challenge:


Photo by mmlolek

What does giving to charity have to do with going green? As I've said before, I believe that sustainability is as much about people-saving as it is about planet-saving. The future I look forward to is one where people care about the planet and about the people who live here, and giving to charity is one way to bring about that future. Plus, a charitable mindset and awareness of other people's needs can be good motivation to put down that flashy new thingamajig that you know you don't really need.

Here are three ways to give to charity:

Donate time.

Certainly monetary donations are important, but when you can, also consider volunteering your services to charitable organizations in the area. In many ways, time can be more valuable than money. Here are some places you can volunteer:

Donate money or goods.

In addition to time, you can donate money to any of the organizations listed above. Here are a few other organizations to consider:

Pay a tithe.

For any non-religious readers, let me just say that I'm using the word "tithe" here very loosely. To me, tithing means setting aside a specific portion of your income to give to charity. By definition, a tithe is a tenth (given to a church), but in this loose interpretation, it can be whatever you decide as long as it's a set amount that you give on a regular schedule (and whether or not you give it to a church is up to you).

Paying a tithe is a small step up from simply donating to charity because you plan for it. It's part of your budget. It's a commitment. And if you're truly tithing, you wouldn't say, "I know I was planning to give this money to charity, but I really want those shoes!"

How do you give to charity?


Willo said...

Great post! I have long said that even when people don't have money, they can give. I donate blood every 8 weeks, and grow out my hair for Pantene's Beautiful Lengths, and do all my searches and shopping through and shopping through Good Shop. We are also blessed enough to have more to give, so we have one of our children's 3 gifts each year, be a gift to charity, this year, adopting a local family. Finally, we give all family gifts that give back to charity.

Green Bean said...

This is a really important post and I, like you, very much believe that giving to charity is an important part of living a green life.

I used to be more disciplined about tithing but now, we invariably, give some amount of money at some point to a charity organization. Increasingly, it is to organizations involving education because that is so hard hit.

Every Christmas, we also always give to Heifer. The kids each pick out livestock to give. They also do the Toys for Tots thing and we often adopt a family though that seemed to slip this year because, darn it!, there are 3 more days til Christmas and I haven't gotten there yet.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

I give to Gospel for Asia. I purchase animals, services, bibles, water filters and sponsor a child. It is my pleasure to be able to give for I have so much!

Brenna @ Almost All The Truth said...

Love all the ideas! I always have my kids give donation gifts to the extended family based on their individual interests. I am actually working on which organizations we will choose this year.

Marcia said...

Thanks so much for this timely post.

Daisy said...

I teach in a low-income neighborhood. I find myself buying school supplies for my students all year long, not just at Christmas. But when our school's Adopt-a-Family program comes along, everyone, even those in need, want to help in some way. They donate, they wrap, they pay it forward in any way they can. Well, most of them do - and that's what matters.


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