Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Are You Giving Til It Hurts?

              Hey, it's the holidays!  There are so many people suffering who need your help.  Hear the bells ringing?--The Salvation Army wants some money.  Then there are the veterans groups and the hungry children.  Here's a hospital and here's an orphanage.  And look out, here comes a homeless guy who wants your change.  What's your giving breaking point?

             Karen from A Peek At Karen's World  posted about this topic yesterday.  She brought up the people that you can often see outside banks, stores, and other places here in California who are wearing the crisp white uniforms or nurse's outfits.  They often don't speak English.  Who are they and what do they represent?  And why should I give them any money?

            All year we get an endless parade of fundraisers.  We have kids selling candy, wrapping paper, or what ever else they can come up with in order to raise money for school, sports teams, or scouts. Then there are Shriners and civic organizations having circuses and shows to raise funds for their causes.  The list of products and services that are offered in exchange for your "donations" are infinite.

            Now, I have to admit I'm partial to the circuses and shows.  I spent many years working in stage productions that were essentially subsidized through the auspices of fundraising by salespeople who were paid to do this job.  I justified the fact that only a small percentage of funds were disbursed to the sponsoring organization by rationalizing that the rest of the money went to pay fundraisers and performers who in turn recycled the money back into the economy. 

           Or to use a scenario that more of us may be familiar with, I offer the example of the overpriced Girl Scout cookies.  Granted the Girl Scouts receive a portion of the proceeds of each box sold, they don't get all of the money.  The money they don't receive goes into the economy by paying people at the cookie factory, the company that makes the packaging, and the distribution network that delivers the cookies to Scout troops throughout the United States. 

            If we look at our "donations" to charities as contributions into the larger economy, it can become clearer how the money is eventually cycled back into our own pockets.  The movement of money is essential for making the economy function in a healthy way.  But if you're like me there is a point where it seems like there is no more to give.

        What is your policy on donations?  

         Are you giving until it hurts?   Could you afford to give more?   Do you do anything besides giving money?   What are your favorite charities?   Which charities annoy you the most?



32 comments:

  1. With my funds being incredibly low in my life at this time, I find it impossible to donate anything to charity. I've donated plenty in the past, but things change all the time. I've learned I sacrifice too much of myself when it comes to giving, letting it get to the point where people in all aspects of my life walk all over me.

    Just as there are limits to taking, there are also limits to giving. For now, I think I've truly reached my limit.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'll give to local causes, like when the volunteer fire department raises money, or extra to my church. But I don't feel the urge to donate to everything.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I donate when I can. I also like to give back to my community. I am waiting for a background check to do volunteer work, now.
    There are limits, one can only do so much, if not dollars, there is always your time to offer~

    ReplyDelete
  4. I give as much as I can to those who show where the % goes. Some charities use 90% or more to run the organization. hose types can keep on going.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good food for thought. We prefer charities that will spread the Gospel as well as meet physical needs.
    Have a good week,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't really trust most of the charity funds, since they are often corrupted and you're never really sure whether the money will go to those who need it. But I do give money when there is some cause. Last week I donated some money to the city in my country which was destroyed by a horrible earthquake last month.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I, like you have little monetary funds for giving to anyone but myself. I truly believe to act of giving is essential to life. Simple acts of kindness can do mounds of good and cost me nothing. Favorite charity... those who need a smile.

    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

    ReplyDelete
  8. I usually am great for donating, especially during the holidays. Only now I feel like my family is the one who needs the donations since my husband got locked out of work. Now that we have a labor dispute and no income, I can't give to my family let alone donations, like I normally would. Sad, yes, but sadder is my son's face if he went without. (Don't worry he won't.)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I like to give until if 'feels good' - there is a favorite old saying of mine, "You can't out-give God." The more you give, the more you receive. yes, I donate to some charities, and I put coins in the SA buckets, and am more generous than usual to streep people during the holidays, also. But $ is not everything ... I like to volunteer to work in the local food banks and soup kitchens a few days during the holidays, too.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Although we are by no means rich, we feel we are truly blessed. It seems one doesn't have to go far to see others with needs beyond your own. We have opted to give to people we personally know who could use some assistance for whatever circustance they are in. Ex: we know a couple who have a daughter with leukemia and the father suffered a heart attack at a young age. We give to them. We also give to charities such as SA and St. Judes.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I give to a lot of animal causes - as evidenced by the amount of 'free address labels' I'm sent with kitties and puppies on them. I could sent a thousand letters and still not run out!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Each year (around this time) our family picks one charity and donates a combined amount. This year it's the Make-a-wish Foundation - one of our favorites.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I give ten bucks out of each paycheck to the United Way, which I frankly can't afford....
    I'm so broke that I almost asked my boss to step taking out the United Way donations, but decided not to say anything for fear of generating bad karma for myself.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I always give every year to Daniel's charity at Christmas, I was very moved one year when he gave about the orphans living in squalor in Romania, I did poetry post cards for many years, but now just give him the money at his Christmas show.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
  15. r-LEE-boid ~
    I tithe ten percent (which, of course, is what the word "tithe" means) of the money I make to a variety of different causes throughout the year.

    Where I send donations to may change some from year to year, but my FAVORITE charity - the one I always send $333. to every year - is this one:

    http://www.santamonicanativityscenes.org/

    For sentimental reasons, that is the one organization I literally LOOK FORWARD to donating money to every year.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
  16. Jeffrey -- I'm with you on that!

    Alex -- There's got to be some limits.

    Ellen -- Time can certainly be more fulfilling and helpful to all concerned.

    Mary -- Organizations do need operating expenses and you can look at it from the viewpoint that the funds that don't go to the cause still help the economy.

    Karen -- We each have our preferred causes and it's probably better to focus on those.

    Dezmond -- Sometimes it's hard to know exactly where all the money goes unless you really do an exhaustive research.

    Jules -- I like that outlook.

    Fredamans -- I think we all have an obligation to take care of ourselves and our own families first--you are correct.

    Marvin -- The volunteer work is some of the most valuable giving. And when you've got the money to give it's good to let it go.

    Cher -- At least when you give to those you know you have a better idea where the money is going and there are no administrative costs.

    L. Diane -- I have a lot of labels and stickers from veterans groups. My mail always looks so patriotic.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Paula -- I've heard that the one charity plan makes the most sense.

    Andrew -- United Way giving can get pretty political at the office. It can be almost scandalous in some workplaces if you don't contribute.

    Yvonne -- Sometimes just giving the money is a lot easier.

    StMc --- I checked the website--interesting. I recall you posting about this in the past.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I don't give to major charities but contribute to local organizations that I know will use the money for what they say they will.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am a college student. As of right now I have between $10 and $50 after in my bank account after bills.

    BUT, I still try to give. However, I am a little picky on who gets my money. I usually support the lesser known and smaller organizations, and stay very local to my community. On a broader scale, I tend to purchase items that benefit people, such as TOMS shoes and BeadForLife, both of which support people from South America and Africa, respectively.

    Also, remember to keep track of all those donations! Even if you give to those $1 add-ons at fast food places, it is shown on your receipt and is tax deductible!

    This was a very time appropriate post, and has really gotten some people thinking I see! Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Interesting topic. I have given more in the past. This year, I am being more conservative. I made a small donation to the Salvation Army though.

    Lee, Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for you sweet comment.

    Doris

    ReplyDelete
  21. There's a homeless couple I regularly give to. I give to hunger all year and I volunteer my time.

    Our world keeps getting stingier. I don't think the world works very well that way.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Helpless animals and children will get my wallet open in a hurry. A dirty guy standing on the corner holding a "homeless vet" sign in one hand and a cigarette in the other is more likely to receive my scorn and advice to get a job...

    We went to the grocery store the other day and there were people jostling for spots try to get everyone's money...I was just about to post a blog entry on the subject

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Arlee!
    Sorry I've been gone so long but I needed time away. As far as giving goes, I give what I have when I have it. But this past year we have been one of the needy. Hopefully next year will look better for us. We've had to have people help us, so one day I hope to pay it forward! Love Di ♥

    ReplyDelete
  24. Good thoughts. As my husband says "We're in the negative and looking to get less in the negative". Still, I occassionally give to the Salvation Army people standing outside the grocery store, but generally I donate clothes in good condition at their receiving center. Books I donate to my library for their used book sale (fundraiser as the towns are hurting for funds thanks to inept politicians controlling budgets) sometimes, or if I really want to buy a book I'll save them up and bring them down to a store that takes used books for credit.

    When we have afforded donations in the past we've given to American Cancer Research Fund (something like that) as most of the money goes to the research or St. Jude's. We only give what we can afford to do without, giving away more than that is detrimental in a way that is wholly inappropriate. I'd like to ensure we can give more, not sink us into a hole that prohibits that possibility for a long time to come.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Mason -- It's good to know who you're giving to.

    Eli -- I know I keep track of charity giving for the tax benefit--might as well take advantage of it. I like the idea of buying to help charities. Thanks for stopping buy.

    Doris -- You and many of us are being conservative givers this year.

    M Pax -- I don't know if the world is getting stingier or money is just getting tighter. We can always volunteer if we don't have the money.

    Pat -- I know what you mean about all the hands reaching out. A lot of folks and organizations want their share of the pie.

    Diana -- I know what you're saying. I don't consider myself needy, but liquid funds just are as abundent as they have been in the past.

    Kim-- Government is feeling the pinch as well, but as you point out a lot is due to mismanagement. Lots of charities are hurting from not getting as much as they used to.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day. This is a great topic. My family members and I prefer to give to local organizations. We tithe to our church and support our children's schools. We're also big fans of donating our gently used items to organizations like Good Will.

    Usually, we don't give money to people on the streets, but we might buy them a hamburger or a healthy meal option from a restaurant.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Good question! It is a dilemma we each have to resolve for ourselves.

    I donate to my church. I know where that money goes. I help my family. Two of my children are struggling financially right now. I have several times bought food for a homeless man or woman.

    It's a difficult time right now. So many people have lost their jobs. I believe families need to help each other first.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great post. I have a monthly direct debit set up to two charities; one for kids the other for animals. And I'll give what I can afford throughout the year if anyone asks for money. Sometimes, I wonder about some of the people asking for a hand out if they really need it, but hey if they're asking, they must need it, even if only in their own mind, right?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Tara-- We donate a lot to Goodwill. The random street donations are dictated by my mood-- sometimes if the person seems like they are genuinely in dire straits due to unfortunate fate I will give them something.

    Ann -- I give most of my donation money to my church or help my kids.

    Milk -- I have given some people money just for that fact that they have asked. But there can be limits as I don't seem to have as much money as I used to and have to watch how much I give away.

    ReplyDelete
  30. We give annually to the local Food Bank, the Salvation Army, and our hospital's foundation that supports a 50+ wellness club. This year seems to demand a little more, however.

    I read today about our local college's new group that provides moral support (and care packages) for former foster kids who've enrolled in college but have no family to help them out when times get tough. I think that organization will help these kids succeed and perhaps be the difference between failing and graduating.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Patricia -- There are so many good causes and it seems never enough money to go around. We just have to do what we can.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Gah! I'm totally behind on my blog reading and only just saw this post. Thanks for linking!

    I don't know what the answer is. Does giving have to hurt? Can't it be fun? It certainly shouldn't cause resentment and yet, that's what I sometimes feel when I had over my extra dollar or two just to hurry out of line without looking like a scrooge.

    ReplyDelete

Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.
Once again I've had to disallow anonymous comments because I was getting so much spam and no actual comments from anonymous users. Sorry for any inconvenience but you can blame the scum that feel the need to spam blog sites.
If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee