Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Grace and Charity

I know that many people make their charitable donations in December. Whether that's due to Christmas spirit or impending taxes, I don't know. What I do know is that while my intent to donate is good, I actually wind up giving less than I meant to, because I usually have less money left over than I meant to.

This year, I'm trying something new--monthly donations that come directly out of my checking account and are an integral part of my budget.

I chose three charities, two of them for writers, and one to a private middle school for special needs students that my youngest daughter attended. This was a hard decision to make--in harsh economic times, there are far too many places to put one's charitable dollars.

In the end, I was partly pursuaded to make the choices I did because I already work for a non-profit that serves low-income people. Given my wages compared to what others with my education make in the private sector, I figure I've already made one donation.

But in tough economic climates, the arts always take the biggest hit because they are considered expendable. One program I am contributing to conducts writing and journalling workshops among disadvantaged populations--the homeless, addicts in recovery, teen parents, etc. The other provides scholarships to a six-week science fiction writer's workshop that I attended and loved nearly 30 years ago.

I contribute to the private middle school because it saved my daughter's academic life and because, unlike her special needs high school, it does not have an endowment program.

One thing I am curious about is whether it is better for the charity itself to get my money on a monthly basis or as a lump sum. Since personally, doing it by the month ensures that I actually have the money to give to the charity and that they actually get it, I will continue to donate by the month. But is it the best way?


Anonymous said...

Wow, Grace. I'm impressed. The Lord will bless you in buckets. Whatever you give out in life, you will get back tenfold.

I've lowered my charitable giving but do more community work instead. At least it's something.

Monthly is better for cash flow management on both sides of the coin.

You are an encouragement.

Debtfree2009 said...

We contribute on a monthly basis also. One reason for us is so that our children see giving as a part of our lives all year long and not just at Christmas.

Sharon said...

I find that December leaves me short for what I want to give too. Great idea for the schools...I have three children that I sponsor every month. Would love to do more though.