This I Believe

Shawn - Eagar, Arizona
Entered on October 10, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
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This I believe, giving feels good, usually twice!

When was the last time you donated money to your favorite charity? You don’t have one, hmm.

You’re probably reading or listening to this on NPR, so we can start there. Several times a year my local station asks for a donation. I normally give during the Fall Pledge Drive, some years I can give more, some years things are tighter but I always give something. Last year I gave a dollar a day, spread out over monthly payments. This is my favorite amount to give but I started out at thirty dollars a year a long time ago.

If you don’t give you may have experienced the discomfort I felt when pledge time came and I did not give. The pleas for donations always bothered me and sometimes I’d change the station. “Well I have to find something else to listen to this week”. Giving removes that feeling, most of the time I wish I could give more.

What other charities are there? Do you go to church? I do and I do my best to try and give 10% of my income to my church. I really get a lot out of church and would also love to be able to give them more.

How about a local food bank, homeless shelter, your kids school. Here in Arizona a married couple can write off $400 a year we donate to the public schools and best of all, we can say what it goes towards. I always gave to orchestra because I have two viola players.

I’ve also given to Kiva, a group that makes small loans to people in third world countries. While technically not a donation, you can’t imagine how good it feels to help a specific person. Rather than an abstract idea of helping some child in a far off land, we helped a mother of four in Nigeria who wanted to open a food store. I give with the hope that the loan will be repaid so I can loan it again, but there’s no guarantee.

We give away clothes, furniture and toys to our local Goodwill. Don’t have the garage sale, that stuff is worth a whole lot more as donations. What will you get for that shirt, a quarter? It’s worth a couple of dollars as a donation! We’ve even given two cars to charity, one to our local NPR station! Both of them still ran well too.

Even better is donating time. You get in there and actually do something with your hands. You see what the problem is firsthand and walk away with the feeling that you actually did something tangible.

I must admit that there is another reason I try and be generous, tax deductions. Everything except Kiva is a tax write-off. I get the pleasure of giving and another great feeling as I sit and do my taxes, watching the amount I owe drop and my refund grow. I would much rather give my money to my church, NPR, my kids school or a local charity. This I believe might be the best feeling of all.