Part of the Frugal Portland philosophy is to always give to those in need. It’s important to me, and I don’t judge others who don’t share my philosophy. It helps me remember why money is important, and helps me focus on money in a way that isn’t greedy and capitalistic. Financial goals are so fluid, and giving to nonprofits and charities will never be more important than saving for a house or investing in something, so for me, it is important to start now, and make giving an automated part of each month.
One of my resolutions for 2012 was to get to the point where I was giving $100/month to different organizations, and I am happy to say I have accomplished that in a combination of real dollars and volunteer hours.
Here are the nonprofits to which I give a bit of money each month:
- Oregon Public Broadcasting. I listen to this radio station daily, and appreciate the content as well as the lack of commercials. I don’t really count this as charitable giving, since ten bucks a month is a small price to pay to never have to hear what’s on sale at the cell phone store.
- Farmers Ending Hunger. This is very close to my heart. It’s an organization that enables farmers (through donation) to set aside a small part of their crop for the hungry. That way, fresh produce is attainable for even those who are down on their luck. Oregon is a place where many (many!) people are living just above the poverty level and have to get emergency food boxes from the food bank to make it through a lean month. I like giving money to an organization that makes sure that there’s fresh, locally grown food in those boxes.
- Oregon Humane Society. I’m a full-fledged volunteer now and I go over there to walk dogs about once a week. It’s a really cool (though really out-of-the-way!) humane society, and it’s heart warming to go walk dogs and scratch chins for an hour or two.
- World Vision. The only non-local charity that gets a few of my dollars. This is one of those sponsor-a-child charities that has those commercials on TV that really pull at your heartstrings. I opted against choosing a child and give ten bucks a month to their area of highest need. That way, they save money on whatever it costs to put together some sort of packet about a child, and I don’t have to worry that they are fabricating things or spending the entire amount of my monthly donation on color picture packets to send back to me!
Giving gets a lot easier with the Willamette Week’s Give Guide. The Willamette Week (pronounced “will-am-it”) is a weekly alternative paper that does much more than list concerts. Their journalism is top-notch, which is impressive, given the paper’s price (free). Every year, they thoroughly research all these local do-good organizations, and put their stamp of approval on some. Then they have incentives for donating during a certain period (though the list stays live until they start doing research for next year).
I like the way it’s laid out, because you can sort by issue, and give to those issues that are closest to your heart. You can browse, and then when you’re ready, you can click to donate. I’m adding Literary Art, a nonprofit that focuses on teaching writing to students, to my list of nonprofits, and I’m doing it before 12/31, because there are a bunch of incentives! The $500 level gets the giver a donation of beer and coffee (how Portland!) but I’m not feeling that flush, so I’ll be donating at the “get a coupon card” level.
They’ve raised over $300,000 already, and it’s still November. I’m excited to be a part of those numbers. It’s my contribution to Cyber Monday.Where do you give?