Thursday, December 02, 2010

Random Acts of Tax-Deductible Charitable Giving

Do you want to add another $.45 to go to the Salvation Army?" she asked. I didn't. I also walked by the bell ringer at the next place. I shy away from retail charity of all kinds, preferring to give deliberately, generously, and in focused ways - not carelessly and in little bits to whomever has the cutest or easiest fund-raising campaign.

But maybe I need to get off my high horse about this. I also showed up for my church's Thanksgiving service without the requisite bag of cans for the food bank. After all, I didn't have any little children to enlist in preparing this good deed, and my $50 check would go further and might bring in some healthier offerings, right? Of course, I forgot the checkbook, so my good intentions didn't go so far as the family carefully picking out canned green beans at Costco, did they?

Others must find it harder to say no to such easy, hands-on, feel-good requests, because I'm seeing more and more of them.
I wonder what percentage of charitable giving comes through such random acts of charity? Do you participate in much of this kind of stuff? Why or why not? Do you budget for it? How do you decide what organizations to support, or do you give to all who ask?

Recently I've noticed several friends raising support asking for "just 50 partners at  $10 a month..." That's more than a one-time donation of $.45, true. But it's a hard way to pay the rent. Would you rather do that, and support many different things, or partner in a more significant, costly way?

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