Wednesday, January 9, 2008

To give or not to give

Last weekend I was with some friends who were discussing money. To be more precise, they were trying to decide which organizations to donate money to this year. None of these particular friends have much money, but they like to give.

I'm always curious what makes people give money to what, when, and why. Some of the comments surprised me.

You could give to literary orgs, I suggested because it was such a literary crowd. None of the writers in the room seemed particularly interested. Not sure why.

You could give to The Rescue Mission, another woman suggested. But they're so evangelical, yet another objected.

What about Grist? I was asked. I do love Grist, and I was tempted to give to Grist last winter when Umbra was held hostage for so long. But then Grist started bragging about how Barbara Boxer had just donated. Suddenly I lost all interest. When an organization gets so big, it can attract the name-brand crowd, who needs us?

What about politicians? Everyone groaned.

The discussion went on and on. I decided after a while that giving has no good logic but is more of a personal recipe no one wants to reveal.

I had the sense that it was like those polls in New Hampshire. Folks might say they want one candidate, but when they're in that booth, they vote differently.

I was really happy to hear more good things about the local organizations: SMARTS, Second Harvest Food Bank, The Mahoning River Consortium . . .

1 comment:

~ said...

Interesting conversation.

RE: a personal recipe no one wants to reveal.

I'll try to reveal my recipe.

I give by gut instinct. The one time I've regretted giving to an organization was when I gave for another reason, like ego rather than a deep compassion of mine to help.

I know when and what I should give instinctually. If I don't give, it's usually a fear-based ego response (what if I don't have enough for me?). When I truly listen without ego, I give more.