Monday, July 2

whip-it {giving}

One of the things I love most about being an Australian is how we all seem to help each other out when times get rough. Whether it's time or money, a shoulder or a meal - most people I know are ready and willing to offer support in whatever way they can.

Over the almost-12 years of our marriage, Bren and I have donated money to a multitude of different causes and for many different reasons. We always buy raffle tickets when kids come knocking at our door.  We sponsored a Nicaraguan child through World Vision and an Australian child through the Smith Family. We've donated to Greenpeace, the Red Cross, the RSPCA, Sids and Kids, Jeans for Genes, Jelly Baby Day, St Vinnies and the Salvos. We buy Anzac Day badges and Remembrance Day poppies. And, while technically not a donation, the kids won't let me pass a busker without dropping some change in their hat!

I reckon everyone reading this would come up with a similar list. We're not very special in the way we donate our money, and we could almost certainly do more of it.

But this post is about sharing the method we're currently using in deciding where and when to donate our money. We used to do a pay-by-the-month sponsorship, and while that was great we found that our heart wasn't in it after a while. We have done one-off donations with whatever change is in our pockets but found that we didn't really give much thought to it, and that it often wasn't much of a sacrifice.

So our latest strategy for supporting community groups is the Fifty Dollar Rule.

It's extremely technical:

1. Find a cause.
2. Give them fifty bucks.

Okay, so it's a bit more involved than that.  But only a bit...

You know how sometimes you read the paper or get something in the post and your gut drops? That feeling of "those poor people ... I wish I could do something ... just imagine what they're going through ... "

When we hear about something that makes us feel like that, we just give them $50.  No ifs, buts or maybes.  We just do it.

Why $50?  Because at this particular stage of our lives, $50 is still quite a bit of money. Everyone's budget is different, but fifty bucks is more than we spend on the average date night.  It's more than we spend on impulse clothing purchases.  But it's a bit less than a week's worth of petrol and it's less than we spend on each other's birthdays.

It's enough money for us to notice it in our budget - there is some sacrifice involved - but it's not enough money to jeopardise our financial security.

So if we're going to randomly drop $50 on a cause, we need to believe that the cause is worth it.  We need to care about it. And ultimately, it means we always feel good about having donated that $50.

We don't become blase about a regular amount being direct debited from our account. We don't become resentful or judgey about giving money because we "should".

We give what {in our current circumstances} we consider to be a 'generous' donation, and we give it willingly and gratefully.

So far so good.

How do you decide where to donate your money? Do you have a strategy? I'd love to hear it!


  1. $50 is my current 'amount' as well because it is enough to be noticed, but not so much that I can't give that amount to everyone I want to donate to.

    My method for choosing who to donate to is a little different - so many of my friends do fundraising for various things that I save all my donating money for them. I figure that if a friend is involved, then the charity/cause is a worthy one and I don't have to think too much!

    1. Oh I love your method! I'll keep that one in mind. It's great to support people who you really actually know ;-) And a great way to keep the giving personal and meaningful. Thanks Kelly!


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