Give It Away

One of the goals on my Impossible List is to give away 10% of my income. Why 10%? I guess I just grew up thinking that was the number to shoot for. In church, you tithe. So it always seemed like the right thing to do to me, even though my 10% isn’t going to a church anymore.

I made a spreadsheet today for all of my 2011 earnings so far (gross income from my regular job and my writing gig) and what I’ve already donated. I was expecting an abysmally low number for what percentage I’ve given away. I haven’t written a big check to charity or anything. But I was surprised to find that when I added it all up, I’ve given about 5.8% already. That ain’t half bad!

I’ve got a ways to go, but I’ll be thinking on ways to meet my goals in the next few months. Might not make it for 2011 (as they say, “Prior planning prevents poor performance,” and I didn’t do my prior planning this year), but I’ll at least have some good habits started for 2012.

In the interest of transparency, I feel I should tell you that I am counting gifts to family and friends in this “given away” number. That made me feel a little squicky at first and I might change it for 2012. I’m still mulling. In some ways (like the tax deduction way– gifts to family don’t count for your donation deduction), I feel like it’s cheating, but in other ways, it’s fair, I think. I mean, I could have spent it on something for me and I didn’t, so I’m still giving it away… right? Anyway, more pondering on that will be happening.

The other caveat is that all of the donations are not money donations. Some are the equivalent dollar amount in items. I’ve given away quite a lot of items, even in just the past few months. is what I’m using to estimate how much my give-aways are worth (and to track it for tax purposes). Cool site. Check it out.

So, help me out, dudes. What are your favorite charities? Tell me who I should be giving some of this 10% to, please!

  • Beth Caudill

    We regularly donate clothes to goodwill and books to the library.  I use the library price of $1 for HB and $0.50 for Pb to figure up the donation amount.

    Then there are our school PTA memberships.   After that there is cash donations.  Usually this varies due to who asks us for money at the right time and who hasn’t bugged us every other week to donate.  Some variation of the following is who we donate too: Autism society, Any of the cancer or wildlife/pet adoption sites, policemen and firemen. 

    There are tons of organizations doing work we can’t give to all and I used to feel bad when I’d say no.  But these day, everyone is asking and having to choose is what being an adult means.  Sometimes I just have to say no.

  • Leslie Nuccio

    As members of Doberman Rescue of NC, we give not only money, we give time to each foster dog we take in. We buy the food and toys and my hubby let’s me take most of the fosters to at least one obedience class. We also buy bags of dog food and peanut butter to donate to the Durham shelter. Obviously, our donations lean toward animal groups. 

    But we also do a fall and spring cleaning and take items to Goodwill, and the United Way drive at Syngenta (hubby’s work) this year asked for toiletries for a women’s shelters.

    Guess we’re all over the place. lol


  • Followed you over from the Impossible League 🙂 Just wanted to say that this is a really admirable goal, and people’s comments on the forum have me realizing that I talk a better game than I play when it comes to charity. Time to put my money where my mouth is.

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  • Hi!  I stumbled across your site when a friend of mine suggested I look up other blogs of people doing lists of 30 things.  I really like your difference between bucket lists and impossible lists.  At 29.5, life feels like it’s really started, and it’s wonderful.  I am not sure if you finished out your donation for this year, or are starting on 2012, but perhaps you can check out my unique take on my 30 before 30 in 30 days blog: