- An urgent contribution form from Planned Parenthood
- A request for money from my county library system foundation
- A letter from the art museum wanting me to pay more to upgrade my membership
- An invitation from a group I volunteer with asking for $50 to attend a fund-raising dinner
- An invitation to renew my membership at a gym I haven't belonged to in a year because I joined a gym closer to home
- A letter urging me to become a member of the Sierra Club by paying a membership fee
- An urgent contribution form from the Democratic Party
It was with some feelings of angst that I threw out all but one. (Well, actually, I had no feelings of guilt or anxiety about tossing the gym membership renewal. If the company that ran the gym hadn't closed the facility near me, I wouldn't have joined a different gym in the first place. Besides, gym membership, though certainly beneficial to me, isn't exactly a charitable cause.)
I feel sorry for all the good causes out there. I'm sure they're stretched thin for dollars in these bad economic times. Unfortunately, so are many of us! I hate being constantly bombarded with requests for money, and I have to wonder if some of these organizations couldn't realize some savings by sending out less frequent mailings--say only once or twice a year instead of every few weeks?
To save my sanity, I've decided to follow advice I read somewhere about concentrating charitable giving on just a few causes. I've picked the causes that are most personal and local, and/or are related to my interest in literacy. (Though I also contribute to the American Red Cross when there's a large natural disaster.) Using my criteria, the one request I kept to consider this time?: The dinner for the local group I volunteer with.
How do you make decisions about charitable giving?