The truth is if a letter arrives in the mail requesting donations, I find it very difficult to just throw it away. Unless the charity has affiliations with serial killers or pro-lifers, then out comes the credit card.
I once received a mini-novel worth of literature about people with various disabilities who found solace in their art. I can't remember what the charity was called but I am still haunted by the images of people without arms painting with their mouths. I'm not even trying to be funny here, it really freaked me out and I felt like I had to give money, if only so they could recoup the cost of printing and mailing the gigantic brochure. I remember wailing to Bren, "Why? Whhhyyy do they send this shit to me? Don't they understand I'm broke? But how can I say no? What kind of animal would I be if I denied these poor bastards access to quality paint brushes and easels? Jeeeeezus!"
But the reality is we can't donate to everything. But we can all do something – no matter how small, it's worthwhile and bound to make you feel great.
I decided a long time ago that I wanted to sponsor a child and I no longer wanted to put it off until I can afford it. I was 23 years old and I suspected that financially, I could always find a reason why $40 a month was too much to take from my tight budget. So I just did it anyway. I am so pleased I did and I'll be talking more about that tomorrow.
But there are smaller ways to make a big impact. It may be as simple as donating your preloved gear to goodwill (or St Kilda Mums).
Or what about volunteering your time? A friend of mine helps out for a few hours a week at her local goodwill store, sorting through donations and pricing items for sale. Now I know she is a keen thrifter and doesn't half mind getting first dibs on secondhand treasures but I also know that spending her precious child-free hours this way makes her feel like she is contributing in some small way. I love that.
In the last few years, I have bought only charity Christmas cards. Yes, they cost more. In fact, if you can pick up a pack of 10 for $0.99 at your local $2 shop then yeah, the charity cards cost a LOT more but the benefits, as I see it, are threefold; you are supporting a charity while buying something you need, the cards are significantly nicer, and you aren't feeding the demand for el-cheapo shit from Taiwan.
Little things, you know?