A Year of Giving (More!)

This post is all about my plan to donate more freely and with maximum intention in the new year (2017). Ultimately, I hope to get a few readers to join me in the cause. That is why I below I am offering the chance to basically match your donation when you join me. I am hoping this focused charity will inspire you to give more freely in other aspects of your life, not only monetarily, but other benefits to your community. So if you are feeling extra generous today, keep reading and please leave a comment on your way out. 🙂

The Motivation

For the past year, a majority of my financial situation has been dictated by commitments (debts, living expenses) and goals, primarily achieving FIRE. But now a # of those commitments are fulfilled, a number of the goals are rolling along (new car, lots of saving power) and I am in the fortunate point of my life to begin giving beyond what I previously was able.

Looking back at 2016, the donations made were small, focused and internally triggered. With some of the external realities in this new year, I apparently got the kick in the rear to give more purposefully. So this is my plan to take action THIS YEAR and move the world forward in the way that I see most positive.

We already covered the what to a certain extent. Monetary donations. While I am free at this time to be giving freely of money, I am not in the fortunate point of life to be giving freely of my time. A normal office job means normal office hours, commuting hours and the remaining goes towards family or personal relaxation (sound selfish as I type it). So, while I feel good about giving monetarily, I would rather be giving of my time, and that will definitely be worked in when possible.

Why should be fairly obvious to most. I can safely say I am in the majority of my country who was/is disappointed in the occurring changes, especially those unforeseen. I’ve been spoiled over my entire working career to have an administration in place I mostly agreed with. Things looked positive for the most part, and I took it for granted. This is no longer the case. We’ll leave it at that.

The Action

So this year, I will be giving more and be giving with more purpose! I’d like to crush last year’s total donations, and at the same time ensure that money is headed to great causes. I could go the route of something like GiveWell.org, but I’d like to still keep it semi-personal. Below is my current “giving schedule,” peppered with blank months besides a few special locks and my current donation amount. *Scores (if available) from Charity Navigator. 

Month Organization Donation Score
Jan Barn Sanctuary $25
Feb ACLU $25 94.39
Mar Direct Relief $25 100 (!)
Apr Commonwealth $25 92.22
May American Heart Association $25 91.18
Jun Sierra Club $25 94.08
Jul 350.org $25 91.36
Aug Farm Sanctuary $25 91.93
Sep Storm Relief $25
Oct EFF $25 96.18
Nov WMBR $25
Dec $25
  • January is history (as of this writing) and you can read more about my organization of choice, Barn Sanctuary, at the end of this post.
  • February is going to the ACLU Foundation, despite their recent surge of received donations, I think it is an organization needing more help!
  • March is going towards Direct Relief, by recommendation of Matt @ The Resume Gap. Amazing rating on Charity Navigator! (Literally a perfect score when I just checked!)
  • April is Financial Literacy month, and I penciled in CommonWealth, but not sure they take donations. Will need to review. Yes, they do! Hidden in the top right of the page, a little gift box!
  • For May I will be donating towards the American Heart Association which holds an extremely close meaning to me.
  • June/July for Sierra Club and 350.org; Go environmental!
  • August for Farm Sanctuary for animals again, but I will have some special updates during that month. 🙂
  • All donations in September will go towards the relief of the victims in Houston/Florida/Puerto Rico/Mexico. I encourage you to look for a cause you consider personal and donate whatever you can. I will be focusing my efforts to the SPCA of Texas (+ whatever I find today 9/30).
  • October donations will head towards the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who “defends civil liberties in the digital world.” Privacy protectors!
  • November is WMBR, a great college radio station with all their shows posted (and streaming) online! (Partial to the program Radio Ninja!)

Here is where I WANT YOUR HELP!!!

The Concept

I would absolutely like to make this effort as BIG AS POSSIBLE. As you can see, I have penciled in $25 per selection.

  1. For every person who donates to the same charity (and lets me know with a comment below) during the month, I will add $5 to my donation, up to $100 total. (Sorry, January – may revisit you in December… )
    1. My donation is submitted the last day of each month. 
  2. If you have a suggested organization, please message me on Twitter or comment below. I might not end up adding them to the schedule, but I will consider each suggestion thoroughly.

As the months roll along I will update the top-level graph so we can see OUR progress. Even with a little help, we could easily push $2,000 into these organizations fighting for great causes and world betterment.

So, that’s it. Let’s make 2017 a year to remember, for positive reasons and moving the world forward. Changes are coming, but we can absolutely make those changes welcome, right, and beneficial to the world community.

Random Leftovers!

Since I can’t squeeze it into the comments, but want to call it out!


The 2017 Organizations of Choice

January - Barn Sanctuary
Help Out! - Barn Sanctuary Donation Page

A relatively new organization, Dan and
company are getting funded and built up as a farm animal sanctuary! The concept is not new, but the need is huge. As a friend of the environment, I absolutely admire those on 100% plant-based diets. Even those who are not 100% are making a big difference when choosing an animal-product alternative. And as a human, with amazing pets and personal freedoms, those rights should extend to all animals: human, domestic pet and farm animals. Dan, Tom, and Kelly thank you for your commitment to animal rights!

February - ACLU Foundation
Help Out! - ACLU Foundation Donation Page

Despite the flood of donations since middle-January, I am pitching in more as this organization is vital to help keep human rights moving forward, NOT BACKWARDS. Because they will say it better than me: “We’re there for you. Rich or poor, straight or gay, black or white or brown, urban or rural, pious or atheist, American-born or foreign-born, able-bodied or living with a disability. Every person in this country should have the same basic rights.” Thank you, thank you, thank you!

March - Direct Relief
Help Out! - Direct Relief Donation Page

Direct Relief logo

It is with pleasure that I include my first reader recommended organization. This is an organization I have never heard of, maybe because of the generic name, but provides efficient medical support for those in need. With the potential for reduced humanitarian aid under the current United States regime, the time to support causes such as DR (great acronym!) is possibly now more than ever. 

April - Build Commonwealth
Help Out! - Build Commonwealth (Donate top right)


April is Financial Literacy Month! So clearly for this month, our focus will be to join in on that near-and-dear cause! Build Commonwealth, formerly D2D Fund, “strengthens the financial opportunity and security of financially vulnerable people by discovering ideas, piloting solutions, and driving innovations to scale.” I would love to support other organizations during this month as well. Please inform me with a comment if you have a favorite financial literacy organization!

May - American Heart Association
Help Out! - American Heart Association Donation Page

AHA-LogosmallThere really is not much need for an introduction here, as the AHA is a long standing and proud organization. All things heart! For me, this certainly hits close to home, and I am familiar with their work every day. In addition to cardiology research, you are probably familiar with them if you have learned CPR.

June - Sierra Club
Help Out! Sierra Club Donation Page

Founded by John Muir – enough said. 

But really the Sierra Club is a gigantic (meaning powerful!) environmental organization. With global warming no slouch, and other dirty business happening, we all need a big mama nature help us clean up. I fully support their push for a sustainable and clean energy future. Please consider charging (EV joke…) their cause!

July - 350.org
Help Out! 350.org Donation Page

Continuing on last month’s environmental push, 350.org is solely focused on climate change. 350 was named after 350 parts per million – the safe concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They are a very grassroots organization with online, but many “mass public actions.” Go planet!

August - Farm Sanctuary
Help Out! Farm Sanctuary Donation Page

Farm Sanctuary is a favorite in our family. Our household is entirely vegan, and we both believe strongly in animal rights. FS lets you visit their farms in upstate New York and California for tours. (We’ve visited MANY times!) In a special this year, I will be providing a photo log of our 2017 visit. I hope you can read about the cause on their website and think about adopting one of their animals!

Comment below to share how  you've made a difference!

It goes without saying that Harvey is going to leave a lasting impression in Houston for years to come. I encourage everyone who reads this to find a cause and make a donation no matter the amount. For me, I will be supporting the SPCA of Texas, who is actively rescuing the creatures often left behind, not by choice, but the necessity. If you have a pet you absolutely understand how tough it must be. Let’s get out there and make a difference!

UPDATE: With all of the additional damage to Flordia by Irma, Puerto Rico by Maria, and Mexico by the earthquake – I will be donating $25 base to ALL causes. Share your donation story and I will still add $10 to my donation.

13 Replies to “A Year of Giving (More!)”

  1. I appreciate your commitment to giving more this year!

    We will happily match your February donation to the ACLU, a great organization we support every month.

    For one of your blank months, I’d nominate Direct Relief for your consideration. They provide humanitarian aid and medical care to people in emergency and disaster situations around the world (including events like the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the Ebola epidemic, and Hurricane Sandy). They’re also one of the most highly ranked not-for-profits in the world on efficiency and effectiveness, delivering around $36 in aid for every $1 of operating cost. Charity Navigator ranks them the #1 best charity in the U.S. with a 99.94/100 score — and yet most people have never heard of them!

    1. Boom! Thank you for helping out! VERY happy someone actually read and made the effort. It means a whole lot to me!

      And, you are absolutely correct in that I have NEVER heard of Direct Relief! BUT, they look outstanding and their scores are amazing on Charity Navigator. Consider them locked in for March! 🙂

      I’ve updated the chart, now including my +$5 match and a side donation by way of purchasing the Humble Bundle Freedom Bundle (+$16.67).

  2. I love your positive approach to recent events! I donate $10 each month to Defenders, Center for Biological Diversity, and Minnesota Public Radio. However after reading your post I will make it a point to donate to 350.org. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Yay! Thanks for stopping in and sharing your lovely donation choices. It got me thinking of possibly doubling, or tripling, up certain months with categories instead of specific organizations. Defenders is right up my alley!

      I was just entering our household tax-deductible donations for 2016 tax purposes, and I can’t wait to CRUSH those numbers this year! 🙂

      (A little sad at the ease of donating solely money, when it would have more impact to get out there. But maybe that is a somewhat selfish approach.)

  3. I give $25 a month to the ACLU, will that count? Or am I too late?

    I’d also encourage you to consider your local children’s hospital. Many people forget that children’s hospitals are nonprofit and provide care to all children regardless of ability to pay. The hospital where I work provides more than $120 million in charity care annually, and if parents ever experience the heartbreaking loss of losing a child, their balance is wiped clean. A hospital bill is the last thing they need to think about during a such an unthinkable time.

    If you want to go national, Children’s Miracle Network is a great organization, which channels money to the local children’s hospital in the donor’s city.

    St. Jude’s is a marketing machine that spends millions on advertising and IMO isn’t honest about the care they provide and to whom they’re providing it. Please avoid them and give where the majority of children are actually served.

    Great post, and a great idea! Thanks for helping make the world a better place.

    1. Oh, it will definitely count – Comment for this month to Direct Relief! Happy to add $5. (And $25 to the ACLU total last month.) 🙂

      Good idea on the hospital front! In fact I spent time myself in a number of the children’s hospitals. I will need to review what is out there, but will get something in there for May. Thanks for the idea!

      Glad you could stop by and help out!

  4. While politically we couldn’t be further apart, I have always given 10-15% of my gross pretax income to charitable non profit organizations. I think generosity is necessary to accumulate wealth. Givers are kinder and more trustworthy which leads to more success in the marketplace and putting others ahead of money keeps your priorities where they should be. I applaud your emphasis on giving and hope you don’t mind a right wing oriented commenter.

    1. I should be applauding your strong commitment to charity! 10-15% is impressive – something I may never reach. That is inspirational, no matter your political orientation. 🙂 (And I welcome all comments. Diverse social interaction is important to keep the mind active and open. There can be progress in differences.)

      1. That’s so gracious, thank you! So much of our politics are inherited or a product of our diverse histories. I know I’m wrong more than I’m right so I don’t hold too strongly to my politics. I think giving to others doesn’t have a partisan nature. It’s something we can all agree on. If we have more than we need then sharing that is just the right thing to do. I so appreciate your outlook.

  5. I got my first blog income in the form of a Discover referral signup. Paid out $50, which I donated to Hurricane Harvey. I was actually able to do it straight through Discover, so they matched it as well.

    Glad you’re doing this, you inspired me to start donating more this year.

  6. Woot – awesome! Super glad to hear about your donation and your inspiration! 😀

    I think if I decide to monetize a blog, or this one, something like 50% of revenues will go towards donations. Might be a 2018 goal. 😉

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