Studies have shown that the way people spend their money is influenced by peers; any good article on peer influence will cite the tendency to tip an already-full tip jar, and withhold from the jar that's empty. This influence holds true for giving to charity as well. I had two main goals in starting this blog: first, to give more of my own money and, second, get others to give more of their money. I can't measure how much money others have given as a result of this blog, but I can measure changes in my own giving. So in the spirit of peer pressure, here's my giving record in 2011 and 2012.
My pre-tax income was: $46,400
I gave in total: $1,540.50
Here's the breakdown:
$974 to improve lives in the developing world
$265 Animal rights/protection
$176.50 to my friend's causes or local causes I care about
$125 to health care and reproductive rights in the US
My pre-tax income was: $50,000
I gave in total: $5,382
Here's the breakdown:
$3,135 to my friend's causes or local causes I care about
$1,422 to improve lives in the developing world
$675 to animal rights/protection
$150 to health care and reproductive rights in the US
I increased my giving to people in great need by about 1/3 and more than doubled my giving to animals in need in 2012. But the bulk of my giving ($3,100) went to the nonprofit I run. As an Executive Director, I spend most of my time asking people to give money to my nonprofit, so it's only fair that I give as well. But my nonprofit does not directly save lives - it makes an affluent community that much nicer to live in (affluent relative to the rest of the world, poor by Los Angeles standards). It's strange to write this, when I spend so much time stating why people should give to my nonprofit, but there are more meaningful places I could have given my money this year. 2013 calls for a little shifting in my giving.
I am proud that I contributed over 10% of my income, and that I was able to give my raise away - something I wasn't sure I would have the self-discipline to do. I lived very comfortably in 2011. I wanted for nothing. The same was true in 2012. I have been able to put away $5,000 each year for retirement. Perhaps I will be able to continue living on about $45,000 per year for the foreseeable future, and give away what I earn on top of that...
How did your giving go?
Here's to another year of simple living, simple eating, and never shopping out of boredom. Here's to 2013!