How Much Do You Give?

Over the past ten to fifteen years my husband and I have donated thousands of dollars to support scholarships at the university where we first met. I’m very passionate about education and I hope that our money will help students seek higher education without the burdens of loans.

The funny thing about donating is that once you provide an organization with money they are always reaching out their hands for you to donate more. The first year we provided a sizable gift we were called during four different fundraisers and sent endless envelopes requesting donations in the mail.

Since my son arrived and I decided to stay home we’ve donated much less to charities. Interestingly enough as we’ve dropped back on our contributions we’ve received fewer calls.

I sometimes feel bad that we aren’t contributing as much as we used to, but I also recognize we gave a significant percentage of our take home income in the past.

Does anyone else feel guilty when they don’t provide to charities? If you contribute, what percentage of your income do you contribute and which charities do you support these days?

6 thoughts on “How Much Do You Give?”

  1. I try to give to charities (it’s hard right now with my husband unemployed, and myself extremely underemployed). I try to give to the school as well – My goal is to “pay back” every scholarship given to me (and then some). I had school completely paid for through a mishmash of scholarships. I’m very grateful and want to pay it forward.

    One thing I’ve found very helpful is that when I do donate I make it VERY clear (through written letter and speaking with the department) that if they send me ANYTHING requesting more money, they will never see another dime. I do not want my money spent on mailings requesting more money. I want my money to go to the students and projects. I haven’t received a request yet.

    • I love the idea of repaying your scholarships! That’s a fantastic way to pay it forward! I’ve never tried the ‘don’t send me anything approach’ after donating. If it worked for you it might just do the trick for me! I plan to write a letter tonight!

    • I’ve never been one for giving a specific portion of my income. I’m not sure why, but it seems like such an easy solution to decide how much to give. Maybe I should try it.

  2. Our daughters are in parochial school now, for which we pay tuition, and most of our donations also go to the church or school. It works out to about 17% of my husband’s income (I have an irregular income stream from freelancing) — again, this includes tuition, which is not tax exempt, but it’s a cause we believe in and one that is right in our neighborhood.

    In the past I’ve had a problem with giving more than we can afford because I felt bombarded by phone calls, so I’ve started using a strategy mentioned in “Minimalist Parenting”: at the beginning of the year, or twice a year, pick one charitable organization for each month and give the same budgeted amount. When someone calls for another organization, I explain our system and say, “I’m sorry, but you aren’t on the list for this month/this year. I’ll certainly keep you in mind for the list next year.” Repeat; don’t budge. It works very well.

    • I’ve been meaning to read “minimalist parenting” for quite some time now. A friend of mine raves about it. I love the idea of setting aside a specific amount for a specific charity each month and letting everyone else know you aren’t budging from that decision. How do you pick the charities to donate to?


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