Part of being ecologically and socially responsible citizens is giving back, either of your time or your money, or both. Helping others and helping the planet are both areas that I am interested in working on more. In the last couple of years, I’ve tried to become more deliberate about my giving — planning ahead of time how I want to give rather than handing some money over to each cause that pulls at my heart strings. Ultimately, this is the best decision for me. It allows me to give more to the causes I care about, which allows my gift to have more of an impact.

There are a few ways I like to give. Keep in mind that this is what works for me and it may not be the best option for you.

Large Organizations. There are a few large organizations whose work and vision are aligned with my own values. When possible, I like to give to them. A few of my favorites are Kiva, Environmental Working Group, and Healthy Child, Healthy World. Each of these groups can effect far more change than I can on my own. They are also devoted to truly making a difference, and less interested in lining the pockets of the people who run them.

Groups that provide a service I use. Public radio comes to mind first here. I regularly listen to NPR and believe I should contribute when possible because I get so much value from their programming. I also donate to the public library (usually in the form of books), because I’ve gotten a great deal of value from the services they provide as well.

Individuals. In many ways, contributing to other individuals is the most rewarding. It’s much easier to see the direct impact of the gift. The beauty of helping other people directly is that there are so many ways to help. All it takes is the willingness to listen for what’s needed and the effort to find a way to provide it. Some examples: I have worked in a high school where several of us learned that a young lady wanted to attend her senior prom, but because of her family’s circumstances, she was unable to afford the required formal attire. Someone took the initiative to let other faculty members know, and after collecting a small donation from each of us, not only was the young lady able to buy a dress and shoes, but she had enough to enjoy a nice dinner as well.

Another example, one of my favorites, comes from Jason at Frugal Dad. He says that each year his family goes out to eat on Christmas Eve. They intentionally choose a very modest restaurant, usually Waffle House or something similar. Once they’ve finished their meal, they leave a $100 tip. His rationale is that anyone working at a Waffle House on Christmas Eve could probably use the money.

Random Acts of Kindness don’t have to be monetary, though. Simply being thoughtful enough to take care of something for someone else can make a considerable difference in a person’s day.

Sometimes the things other people need are very “big” to them because of the situation they are in. Depending on your own situation, it may be that what someone else needs is relatively easy for you to provide. I’d encourage you to listen for opportunities to do what you can for others. . . not only because it’s a decent thing to do, but because it does wonders for your own sense of well-being.

What do you think? How do you like to give?

Photo Credit: Mr Kris


  1. Thanks for mentioning my giving idea, Beth! Enjoyed reading through your site here as well – keep up the great writing!
    .-= Frugal Dad´s last blog ..Weekly Roundup – Great Eight Edition =-.

  2. @ Frugal Dad — Thank you for the kind words.

  3. Just read what you gave Nicki at Domestic Cents…
    How awesome!
    Thanks for giving!
    .-= Netta´s last blog ..Will you just… =-.