To be honest, before working at Chimp I didn’t donate very often. I certainly thought about it, but the actual act of hauling out my credit card was just too painful to contemplate. Ridiculous when I consider how many other times a month it gets swiped!
For me, the key was to make giving less “painful.” So now, I just take a second to see what I can add to my Chimp Fund every few months. I think of it as a way to balance my other spending; the more frivolous I’ve been, the more I have to add to my fund. I’ve realized that if I can afford to spend, I can afford to give. It makes me more mindful of my shopping sprees and does good!
With money already in my fund, I get to spend more of my time joyfully doling it out to charities. That part – actually giving away – becomes enjoyable.
It turns out that putting the money aside to give away isn’t the hard part – choosing the right charity is. With my $100 every couple months, I really want it to do something meaningful.
Chimp has a blog entry on choosing charities here, and I like to put my student research skills to use! I look for charities with small revenues, that way I know they’re excited about the arrival of my little donation. And more importantly, I try to give personally: to organizations where I know people, to support friends in charity walks, or to a Giving Group to celebrate a special event. It makes my little bit seem like a lot.