It’s important to always give back, no matter what you have to give. Looking back at my own year of giving, I donated time, goods, and money towards lots of pretty cool projects. I hope by highlighting their work here you’ll consider adding them to your own 2012 giving list.
Community Servings runs a great fundraiser each Mother’s Day — Meals4Moms. For a $25 donation that covered the cost of a local ill mom’s food for herself and her family for a week, Community Servings sent my mom a card with a message letting her know what was being done in her name. My mom was really touched and raved about it for weeks – Her favorite Mother’s Day gift ever!
On the coldest day of the year I wanted to do something for those who didn’t have a warm home to go home to like I did, so I made a donation to Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. I already knew about them as a leading local non-profit organization and I want to make my donation an annual tradition.
Most of us have heard of Kiva by now. I love microcredit and I am able to give loans to the exact women’s group that I worked with during my 2005 microcredit internship in Paraguay. I made 4 loans in 2011 and am hooked! I will definitely keep loaning in 2012.
I gave to a few projects on Kickstarter too, my favorite new fundraising website. I want to give to every project! I supported my friend’s independent short film, but you can find anything from magnets that turn your fridge into a robot to an anti-bullying theater production to contribute towards. I recommend checking out my co-worker’s inspiring year-long voyage: Will Travel for Vegan Food.
Saint Francis House is the local shelter in my neighborhood. My wife and I donate our clothes and other goods here several times a year. Give locally, think globally.
Whenever my office doesn’t need something anymore, I give it away on Freecycle. For a little bit of extra effort, items from folders to furniture have been kept out of landfills and go to local people who can get some use out of them. They’ve made some major upgrades to their website since I started using it and I highly recommend joining your local Freecycle group (even if its just to get free stuff).
I give a monthly automatic donation to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. We want to be able to give to so many causes regularly, but if you choose the one you are most passionate about you can really feel you are making an impact.
I donated my personal time to the Boston Pride Committee. I volunteered more for them last year when I had an official position on the committee, but I helped out in 2011 too, including organizing their volunteers for their 2nd annual holiday fundraiser which benefited Youth Pride.
The Network/La Red is a Boston-area domestic violence organization for the lesbian/bisexual/transgender community. Its a worthy cause close to my heart and this year I donated my old cell phone to them. When I upgraded to my first smartphone, I dropped my old phone off in the drop-box at my bank. (Eastern Bank is a caring institution that gives back to the local community not only with a percentage of its profits each year but with things like community rooms at their branches for non-profit meetings.) The Network/La Red does a great job reaching out for partnerships for creative fundraising with places like The Pita Pit.
The organization that I gave the holy donor trinity (time, money, and fundraising) to was the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center for their 6th annual Walk for Change. Doing something positive and active felt even better than hitting the “donate” button and I was able to raise $626 for their work from my family, friends, and co-workers. Here’s my post on how I did it.