Because if I can’t donate time, I can at least donate money.

Sometimes I look around at my life, and even when it seems like it’s sucking, I realize that I’m really, really lucky. I’ve got a job and a house and two dogs and two cats and a husband who I really like and a handful of friends who lift me up when I’m pouting in the pit I sometimes dig for myself and really, it’s a lot. My life is full, of wonderful people and wonderful pets and safety and security, and then sometimes I feel guilty because really, I have all the things I want, and more than all of the things I need and when you have what you want and what you need, it’s time to give things back.

So one of the things I put on my life list is to give $100 to a different charity every month for a year, and I want 2013 to be that year.

If I’m honest, and I will be, I haven’t volunteered in years. Which isΒ  totally unacceptable because I love to volunteer but with a job as hectic and fluid as mine sometimes is, I’ve become ridiculously stingy with my me-time and with a constantly changing schedule it’s sometimes hard to commit to doing, ever, especially when off time has this magical way of turning into work time. This is also the reason why I haven’t signed up for swim lessons or therapy because really, I can’t commit to being in the same place at the same time for consecutive weeks. I’m determined to volunteer AT LEAST once this year, but I want to give monetarily as well, on a bigger scale than I already do, because I can and because if I can’t take or don’t have the time to volunteer more of my time, I need to be doing something more to make the world a better place.

But the thing is I need some help. I’ve got a few charities I love to support regularly and there are a few months throughout the year that I plan to make donations to specific charities in honor of certain events or people who mean a lot to me, like in April, when I plan to donate to a suicide prevention charity in honor of my friend David who took his life nearly 13 years ago, but I need suggestions to fill up the other months, including this one, because I want to spread the love around.

So. What’s your favorite charity or cause? Who do you donate to and why should I donate to them too?

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24 thoughts on “Because if I can’t donate time, I can at least donate money.

  1. Holly

    You should consider joining the Richmond Giving Circle. It was created to encourage volunteerism and philanthropy by engaging young professionals in a collaborative grantmaking program. Members of the Giving Circle contribute to a common grantmaking pool, which is used to support annual grants in a focus area of their own choosing. They get to learn about various nonprofits and then make a decision.

    There’s also Impact 100, which is where 100 women pledge $1000 to collectively pool their dollars to make a large $100,000 grant to a local nonprofit. . That group is a little more….status-y/old money.

    These are both programs of the Community Foundation, which is connected to my work by a dotted line, so I’m happy to connect you over there if needed.

    You could also donate to Giving Change’s launch fund, which will support our work of provinding an online portal for democratic giving (that $5 donor combined with other $5 donors can make an impact) . has profiles of all local charities you can study.

    You could also consider donations to Equality Virginia or the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood’s Advocacy arm as they work on getting through the good bills for non discrimination in employment and women’s issues, and fighting the bad. The General Assembly session is only 30 days long (Jan only) this year so time ( and money) is of the essence.

  2. Donors Choose is the best, best charity. Teachers post things they need for their classrooms and you pick what you want to fund. If you give $100 to a project, then the class sends you notes about how much they love the stuff and it’s THE CUTEST THING IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

  3. My family supports Hands of Hope ( and my mom volunteers with them regularly. It started locally in the town my parents live in but the charity supports women and children in Africa by empowering them through education and by partnering with local organizations on the ground who know best how to serve the women in these communities.

    Love this idea!

  4. I feel like this is a natural for you, but the SPCA! What’s better than contributing to animals who need love and extra care?

    I’m a big fan of anything that supports and lifts up women, so here are a few others: RAINN, Dress for Success and Women for Women International.

  5. It is sometimes scary to commit but every little thing you can do helps. You know I fully support this! I like Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Lungevity – my cousin started this for lung cancer and PanCan for Pancreatic Cancer. I also am always a fan of WWF and or Environmental Defense Fund organizations. Save the animals! Save the planet! I am definitely going to check out this list for some partners. I hope 2013 is your year! It is a wonderful thing you want to do! Set aside the 1st on your calendar every month and when you see it on your calendar it will be that easy reminder!

  6. Wendy

    ASPCA – they are more reputable of the animal charities. Avoid the Humane Society for a thousand reasons. Also Best Friends Animal Group — they help rehabiliate the Vick Dogs.

  7. I’m a fan of supporting arts organizations around my local area, such as museums, the Symphony, and the Ballet, among others. πŸ™‚ Also the food banks because they can turn $1 into a LOT of food to help those hungry in the community.

  8. TJ

    Whenever somebody I relatively know posts something on FB, I tend to donate to that, otherwise,I go for local orchestras, food banks, and of course, the Wounded Warrior Project.

  9. I wonder if this is all part of being an adult? Transitioning from donating time to money because we have so much less time and donate the money to make ourselves feel better about it ?

    A bit cynical, maybe, but I think it’s just me clamouring for more time and never knowing how to actually FIND it πŸ™‚

    I hope you can reach your goal!

  10. San

    This is wonderful, Terra. I have volunteered and donated before but I could do better this year.

    My suggestion would be to donate to NAMI… with the recent shootings and all the talk about the importance of mental health, I think it would be a wonderful organization to support.

  11. I’m the opposite: I tend to donate my time and also my writing skills, in lieu of money. As you know, my cause of the year is education in East Africa (specifically, raising money to pay for tuition and school books for little girls in Tanzania). And I get to meet several of the children when I’m over there next month, which should be aaaamazing.

  12. my favorite charity is one that i’m actually a part of, the I Have a Dream Foundation. they basically adopt classrooms of children with a low risk of even making it to high school and help them get to college. it’s pretty amazing and i definitely donate to them every year.

    great idea!

  13. Places I soemtimes donate to: Charity Water, the SPCA, Planned Parenthood, the local rape crisis center in my hometown, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the American Cancer Society, & other smaller ones as they come up because I always worry that big-name charities (much like the ones I named) get all the money when little ones are doing excellent work, too!

  14. I volunteer coach softball every summer. 2013 will be my 8th summer with this organization which makes me feel super stupidly old. I wish I could donate money to charity but I’m finally to the point where I’m not just scraping to get by, so I think I need to build on that a little more before I start giving it away. Someday, though.

  15. We’re big on the Relay for Life.

    If you’re looking for one for June, my adorably cute little niece could always use more sponsors. πŸ™‚

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