December Giving: Small Donations with Double the Impact

This time two years ago, I was contemplating my public Giving Pledge. I was disappointed in the amount of money I donated to nonprofit organizations throughout the year.

Though December is traditionally known as the season to give and the last chance to get that extra tax write-off before the next year, I knew better. I work with enough nonprofits to know that the need is there year round.

Not long after, I pledged to donate money to at least one nonprofit every month. My first “official” donation for my pledge was in January of 2012. I am proud to say that I have never missed a month of giving. And I can honestly say that my giving has become more intentional through this pledge.

I plan writing more about what I’ve learned in the two years of my Giving Pledge – about myself and my giving – after the holidays.

For now, I am winding down and getting ready to spend the holidays with close friends and family. We have a big trip planned for New Year’s Eve that my kids don’t know about yet. I’m sure I’ll write about that one later too. (And, no it’s not Disney World! It’s much colder. Any guesses?)

This month, I made two smaller donations. While my husband and I decided that we’d have a minimum donation amount this year, I didn’t see myself making it with so much going out of my bank account this month (it always happens at once, doesn’t it?). The neat thing is that my smaller donations will equal to more than my minimum because both were matching donations.

Giving Tuesday unselfie

The first donation was to WaterAid America on #GivingTuesday. This one was a bit of a no-brainer for me because a generous donor matched the donations that WaterAid received that day. Plus WaterAid has become a favorite nonprofit of mine. Their goal was to raise $100,000. They ended up raising over $250,000! So, yes, my smaller donation made a difference.

The second donation was initiated by my 8-year-old son, G. His third grade class decided to donate money to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital instead of exchanging gifts during their holiday party. There was no pressure to donate money, but it sounded like the kids really liked the idea. They talked about how any small amount would help. G decided to donate $5 of his own money, and I matched the amount. He was excited to double his amount, and it sounds like I’m not the only parent to do so. I’m not sure what the final tally was on donations, but I have no doubt it will make an impact.


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  1. says

    I am so heartwarmed by G’s class. Apparently heartwarmed isn’t a word because spellcheck is giving me warnings about it, but it’s what I am.
    I am learning to manage money better. Mainly because my heart wants to do a lot more than my wallet has been able to do. Lately I’m into percentages. For every job I take, a percentage goes to the house/car/food stuff, and a small (but hopefully bigger one day) percentage goes to charity. And even smaller percentage might go to something for me. This way, my heart is happy that it’s all going to where I want it to go. And hopefully it will grow.
    Tamara recently posted..I’m Only Sad That It’s Ending Too Soon.My Profile

    • says

      I am happy you are hearthwarmed, Tamara. I think it’s a great word. I was heartwarmed by G’s class too.

      Using percentages is a great way to manage giving. I’ve found that the more deliberate I am with my giving, the easier it gets. Even financially, if that makes sense. It’s hard to donate as much as we want this time of year because of everything else that we are buying. Spreading things out throughout the year makes so much more sense and you can see more clearly what you are able to give.
      anotherjennifer recently posted..Philanthropy Friday: Po Campo Bags Help Girls Get to SchoolMy Profile

  2. says

    Two awesome charities. And what a great reminder that smaller donations do help. It’s a shame that some people are discouraged because they don’t feel like they have “enough” to give. I also love that your kids are in on the action. We’ve done this in my house too and need to continue to do so.
    Ilene recently posted..SpeedMy Profile

    • says

      Kids feel so empowered when they realize they can make a difference. I don’t know why as adults we sometimes become so jaded that we think we can’t make a difference. G’s in charge of collecting returnables for Clynk and Box Tops for Education tabs. I never remember those things, but he does. He knows the money helps his school. Every bit counts!
      anotherjennifer recently posted..Win the Gift of a Canvas PrintMy Profile

  3. says

    You are one of the most kind-hearted people I “know.” You have no idea how much I look up to you and hope that I can do the things you’re doing now, some day. You’re encouraging and inspiring G to donate and jump on board with philanthropy and I LOVE THAT. So much. You are such an amazing mom and such a good role model for kids and other moms.
    Ashlee recently posted..Hello and Welcome!My Profile

  4. says

    I love this idea so much! I think, when it all evens out, that I donate every month, but I’m not always smart about it (I get sucked into stories and still regret giving a blogger $60 to help, and then learned more about the story later). Maybe planning it out this way would help me to be more mindful of my focus. I want to help everybody, but obviously have very limited resources, so…
    Thanks so much for this!!
    Kristi Campbell recently posted..I could have had Kevin Costner’s babyMy Profile

  5. says

    We do try to do donate throughout the year. This month has been a difficult one for us so I am feeling kind of bad about the donations we usually make at the end of the year that I am not sure we will be able to. I have to sit down and see what is do-able and what is not. But I like the idea of spreading things out during the year…charities need help all throughout the year, not just at the end.
    Michelle recently posted..Tag You’re It — Christmas Style 2013My Profile

  6. says

    What a wonderful post! Your son’s class is awesome. I donate every year to the Arthritis foundation(and raise donations). I also always donate a dollar at stores registers when I’m asked. It is not much but I always hope my little goes a long way.
    Meg recently posted..I’m Not A HuggerMy Profile

  7. says

    That is so awesome of G and his class! I have had friends who have asked for donations in lieu of wedding presents to specific nonprofits, and Sam and I are always happy to oblige, especially since they have meaning to the couple. I try to give when friends do walk/runs and support local organizations. I agree, a lot can go a long way! I’m also a fan of donating my time when I can :-)
    Bev recently posted..Life Lately: Tales from a (Sleep-Deprived) New MamaMy Profile

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