I did it. I took the leap and made the commitment. I admit that at first, automatic monthly withdraws from my checking account gave me minor heart palpitations. It’s not that I was afraid of committing; I was just nervous about meeting my monthly budget and trying to save a bit. This last part would make my Depression era-molded Grandmas proud.
I could give once a year which is perfectly wonderful and great, but to be honest, I don’t want the hassle of remembering organizations each December and being worried that my checking account can’t handle all the year-end gifts that I frantically make in a one-month span. Plus what if I accidentally forget an organization one year? Do I double up the next? Ah! I am trying to simply my life as much as possible, and automatic monthly giving helps me do this.
Because my resources are limited, I am strategic about who I support. As I look back on my life, I think of the people and organizations that have been important and formative.
Putting the “Human” in Humane Societies
From adopting family members throughout the years to where I used to volunteering weekly, I give annually to a couple of shelters where I grew up in Pennsylvania and upstate New York. When I was 13, I asked folks to donate food and supplies to my local Greene County Humane Society in Waynesburg, PA in lieu of Bat Mitzvah gifts. I also established a fund in memory of a close family friend who passed away suddenly at the age of 32. This shelter and the Tri Lakes Humane Society in the Adirondacks (which provided some of my best canine and feline friends), make my ‘top 5’ list of annual giving.
Alma Maters Matter
I donate annually to my undergraduate and graduate schools in memory of my Grandma Sarah and Grandma Winnie because they didn’t get an opportunity to attend college. My Grandma Sarah grew up near the Pittsburgh Zoo in Pennsylvania. She was accepted at Carnegie Mellon University (then Carnegie Tech), but could not attend because she had to work in order to help put her brothers through college.
So many organizations fight for our attention this time of year, so why give back to my own employer? Job security? Nope! I have been fortunate to make my passion my work. From tracking large carnivores to working to protect our natural resources with land trusts, what I do for a living is what adds meaning and excitement to my life. It puts the “life” in living and gives me joy and a sense of purpose and place. Also, in my outreach and development role at Greenbelt, I can’t in good faith or conscience ask people to donate to Greenbelt if I don’t do so myself!
Although pockets don’t run deep when you work for a non-profit, it’s important for me to put my money where my mouth (and heart) are! It’s about continuous support where it’s needed most, but the process also needs to be easy. The ease of donating, not just the cause, determines why and where I give. Greenbelt’s automatic monthly giving option fits both cause and ease.
Being a monthly sustaining donor of Greenbelt:
What inspires you to give to and sustain the work of Greenbelt Land Trust? Is it knowing that open space is protected forever? Do you enjoy trails? Do you attend educational programs? Do you care about wildlife and wildlife habitat? Do you want clean drinking water and reliable local food systems? Our do you want our next generation of kids to experience and appreciate the natural world? I bet it’s for these reasons and more. Please join me and other staff, members, and volunteers who give to Greenbelt each year. Your donation means more than you know. Are you interested in giving back? If so, please click HERE.