'tis the season, and all that. The season? Yes, take your choice - the season to give (remember the old adage "it's better to give than receive"?); or the season to do a little last minute tax planning.
Those of you who know me well, know that I'm employed by one non-profit and I manage another. I have a fondness for charitable causes, without a doubt. The non-profit that I manage - the one with the cute little badge over there in the sidebar - happens to focus on companion animals and senior citizens - two of my favorite things in the world, as I live with and am married to residents of both groups. Oh come on, smile - my Oldtimer doesn't mind a little joke on him at times.
When we were first married, my Oldtimer told me that I had a life full of mini-missions. I never really saw myself that way; it's always interesting to see yourself through someone else's eyes. However, when he put it all together for me, I could see the point he was making. While he thought any old postage stamp would do because they just went on the envelopes of OUR money that we were sending away to someone else (granted, to pay for the electricity we used, or some such nonsense), *I* only used pretty postage stamps, because I thought it might brighten some poor mailman's day along the way. I snip the plastic rings that hold together a six-pack of pop, because we once read that the critters in the landfill get stuck and trapped in the rings and die a terrible death. (And why do I worry about critters and rodents, you ask? I haven't a clue.) I make my own soap because of the way it's better for my skin and the skin of my loved ones. (I'm most famous for giving my favorite light-weight jacket to a woman at a bus stop...) The list goes on, but I think you get my drift...
This has been a rough year for the charitable causes, for the needy. Many of the organizations that have, for years, given grants to our organization have reduced or eliminated their grant to us. The reasons given are two-fold - their own investments are down, leaving them less to grant AND/OR they have decided to focus on the basics - food, shelter, and clothing.
In my world, a companion animal is a basic, but I know that not everyone feels that way. I can accept that. In my world, luckily, we still have a way to fund almost all the adoptions that come our way (with just two exceptions). Having said that - donations to our organization are down about 60% this year. Though I'm hoping the cavalry will arrive before year end, as some givers realize their investments have climbed a bit after all, I know that we will have to make some cuts and deny some requests this coming year.
I'm not asking you, my lovely readers, to make a donation to my specific organization, though I wouldn't be upset if you did :-) No, I want you to do a deep analysis of your pet projects, and think about whether you can eek a little bit out of your budget to give your favorite organizations an end-of-the-year kiss. Unless you work in this field, you have no idea how great the need is out there - how many small organizations in particular are struggling - whether it's for hay to feed the rescued horses, supplies for programs to keep kids off the streets, coats for winter weather, food shelves, etc. It's a year of great need with little funding coming our collective way.
Can you do without your designer coffee for a month? How about a dinner of mac and cheese instead of McDonald's? Is there some little change you could make, just for a day or three that would give you a couple extra $$s to send your favorite org? Think about it. Some days when I open the mail I find an envelope with one or two dollar bills tucked inside a note written with shaky hand. When we get those squeaked out donations, I am almost weak in the knees, falling-down-grateful for the person that made that little sacrifice for us, so please don't ever think your donation is too small! It all adds up, especially for the smaller charities.
If you want to make a donation to a type of cause, but don't have a favorite group, do a little research on JustGive.org - they will give you all kinds of background information on various charities.
And though I favor Pets for the Elderly, I have other charities that get my "little bits" when I have a chance. They are:
Citizen's for Animal Protection (Warren County, NC)
All of us with a life made up of "mini-missions" thank you, truly. It all makes a difference.