Friday, December 23, 2016
That Giving Spirit
So I've been accumulating this massive pile of begging letters lately as multiple charities forage for those end-of-the-year donations. I've been tossing the envelopes onto one corner of my desk, and today I decided to excavate the tell. So many worthy causes... so comparatively little available to give them... what to do? Start by sorting the unopened envelopes, discarding the duplicates, into three broad categories: animals, people, nature. Pull out the ones I've given to in the past and set them aside as already vetted. Take the likely candidates among the rest, pull up Charity Navigator online (making an online donation to them while I'm at it), and investigate each candidate. Firm rule of thumb: Got to be using over 80 percent of moneys received for programs rather than fundraising or administrative. Winnow them down to... Eighteen total charities to give to. Pull up Quicken and start making out checks to print (thank heavens I don't hand-write checks any more!); print three at a time, sign, match to solicitation, stuff envelope, stick on stamp and return address label. Update Quicken on two other computers (yes, but it catches errors now and then, so it's worth it). Update 2016 financial Excel worksheet. Finally, after a couple of hours -- done. Ready to drop in the mail and go forth to help homeless critters, homeless people, hungry people, poor women needing a micro-loan to get out of grinding poverty, natural resources to preserve, and so on. Over 900 bucks out, mostly in $50 gifts, and well worth it all.