How to talk about what we give

“Hey Mom,” Leah said.  “I’ve got some good news!”  Hmmm, I wondered, an increase in salary, a stronger job title, boyfriend news?

“I struggled with whether and how to mention that I am a sponsor for Alex at Safe Passage.”  (Safe Passage is the school where Leah teaches English to kids whose parents scavenge the dump for a living in Guatemala City.) “So I posted it on Facebook and listed how others could do the same.  Right away someone contacted me to sponsor a child – and in an hour, another friend did the same!” Here’s what Leah posted, next to a picture of Alex:

After a year of him telling his friends I was his aunt, I’m finally and officially a proud and very happy godmother!! Join me! Find out more about sponsoring a kid at Safe Passage here: http://www.safepassage.org/sponsor

Leah’ dilemma is familiar to me.  How do we talk about what we give?  Isn’t the anonymous donor the most noble? What about inspiring others and having a conversation about what we care about? For those of us not part of the “50% League” (pledging to give away 50% of your income) or the “Giving Pledge” (billionaires giving away 50%)…how do we share?

I know one woman who mentions organizations she gives to, boards she sits on, and her decision to move her portfolio to impact investing – and she does this in passing, without aplomb, all the time.  I know another who mentioned that her financial advisor was surprised that they were giving away so much money.  I know a college student that struggled with whether to give all of his savings to Oxfam.  What do you do?

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