Last year was a tough one for us. Really tough. 2009 was The Year that Every Job Opportunity Imploded.
(Seriously, I think that’s on the Chinese astrology charts sandwiched between the Year of the Rat and the Year of the Guy Holding Up His Middle Finger at You While He Quietly Cleans Out Your Bank Account.)
I have never in my life experienced a year quite like that–freelance accounts would pull jobs the night before the start date. Three month bookings turned into 2-day bookings. Small companies asked if they could put off paying me for oh, say six months? And then right in the middle of it all, our car would get a flat. Or our cats would require six zillion dollars worth of antibiotics.
Any one of those situations might have been manageable, but together, back-to-back, for a straight year? It was, frankly, not fun at all.
We made a whole lot of sacrifices, rethought priorities, relied on the kindness of family (and really cute hand-me-downs), and we muddled through it. We even somehow managed to get Nate through culinary school, courtesy delayed student loan payments.
The one thing I most regret cutting back on last year was charity. And fancy cheeses. But mostly charity.
Not that we didn’t give a few dollars here and there, or support a friend’s walkathon, pull some resources together for Haiti, or donate toys to Goodwill. But I wasn’t quite sending copious monthly checks throughout the year. Turns out–surprise!–I wasn’t the only one. Charities have been hit hard in the last couple of years, with giving down in 20009 for the first time in 12 years.
As we come up on the end of 2010, I feel incredibly blessed to be in a position where I can start to think about these things again. So when I learned about GiveBack.org, I was like, hey! Over here! I’m your gal!
I don’t write about charity stuff here a lot because when I do, I get six hundred million emails from charities asking me to write about them too and I can’t pick between them and I feel guilty and…yeah. That’.
But this is a good one. Because it benefits all charities.
Basically you create your own “foundation” – just add your pet non-profits in, and then they’ll give you a $5 donation to start. You can add money in there each month to save up for a big donation, or you can earn more money by shopping at more than 400 stores which will donate from about 2 to 15% of your purchase price right into your foundation.
New Wii from Target? 4% to your charities. Big splurgey gift for the kids at FAO Schwartz? 2% to your charities. Sending the mother-in-law a bouquet from 1-800-FLOWERS on Thanksgiving? 10% to your charties.
Here’s a dandy video to show you just how GiveBack works.
Oh and this is not a sponsored post you cynical so-and-so’s (although they did kindly make a charitable donation on my behalf). I just think it’s wildly cool and inventive and it makes it easy for me to get back to the giving that makes me feel whole
My own dot-orgs that are near and dear to my heart right now: The White Ribbon Alliance For Safe Motherhood(you can read here about how I discovered them, while also discovering that supermodels do not get my sense of humor), Feeding America, the Nature Conservancy, and I’m working on getting our school PTA in there.
I’m so happy to be writing about this, the very week that we’re all spending a lot of time thinking about what we’re thankful for.
I also love hearing about what causes other people feel deeply about. What are yours?