By Kristen Houghton
Choosing the Right Charity for You
I am barraged daily by charities. By mail, at the supermarket, by phone; everyone has a cause that needs my money. All of the causes are good ones, from helping to prevent childrenís diseases to societies aiding abused animals and I feel badly that I canít support every one, but I canít. I simply cannot give to all.
One day, after having gone through a pile of solicitations at home, I went to a local coffee bar only to be accosted by an elderly woman sweetly asking for a donation to a local charity. She seemed genuinely annoyed when I said I didnít have any extra cash with me. Turn around was fair play and I became the annoyed one when she said,
ďWell, dear, you could donate that money youíre spending on that overpriced cup of coffee, you know.Ē
I went in and bought my cup of coffee, overpriced or not. I drew the line at being told what I should do with the money I had earned. Her comment bordered on harassment.
I am all for donating my time and money to charities but the solicitations have become so numerous that I donít know where to give. I also donít want to be perpetually broke. Deciding which charity was close to my heart and right for me was a necessity and it kept me sane. Giving to the causes which were important to my values and life gave me focus and made me feel I was doing something worthwhile.
If you have a problem with organization after organization bombarding you with requests for donations, here are a few simple rules to follow.
Decide what cause is important to you and only you. You canít give to all so you need to focus on what charity tugs at your heart the most and leaves you feeling youíve done some good.
Donít be pressured into giving to every reputable group. Give what you can easily afford, no more. Remember that you are not required to give anything if you donít want to do so or if you really canít afford it.
No matter how many ďgiftsĒ an organization sends you in the mail, you are not obligated to donate. Most of the gift items are donated anyway so donít feel they have lost money because youíre not sending a check.
If you canít donate money to the cause youíve chosen, how about your time? A friend brings her collie to an elder care home as a therapy pet. My neighbor volunteers at a womenís safe house. The same rule applies with volunteering; choose only the charity closest to your heart.
Get on the National Do Not Call list if youíre bothered by phone solicitors.
Tell people who do solicit you that youíre sure their cause is very worthwhile, but that you are strongly committed to another equally worthwhile one. Then solicit them for your charity!
Charity blesses both the giver and the receiver. Bless yourself and your cause by donating your money where your heart tells you.
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