Wednesday, December 14, 2011

One percent for charity

I had an idea today.  I hope it will catch on.

It was inspired by watching this video.  If, like me, you're impressed by the figures the video cites and you want to help, here's a place to do it.

Now, here's my big idea.

The average American spends something like $650 on holiday gifts (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and others).  Altogether, Christmas and related spending amounts to something like $500 billion a year.  Yup, half-a-trillion dollars--more than we spent (with such horror) to bail out the banks in 2008.  (Not that I'm supporting the bank bailout, mind you, I'm just making a comparison here.)

If we gave just one penny to charity for every dollar we spend on gifts, we'd be giving FIVE BILLION DOLLARS at Christmastime alone.  Five billion.  That's bound to have an impact.

So my new crusade is 1% for charity.  For the average person, that's $6.50.  Some of us will spend more, some less.  But if we all did get the idea.

So think about it.  And if you like the idea, pass it on.


  1. What I like about this is that it's 1% of what YOU spent this Christmas. I'm a poor grad student, and I don't have a lot of money to spend on gifts or to give away, but 1% to charity? Yeah, I could do that. The problem when you don't have a lot of money to give is deciding WHICH ONE gets my 3 dollars...

  2. Another idea for year-round giving: Use GoodSearch as your browser instead of google. GoodSearch donates money to the nonprofit of your choice. (basically the ad revenue from your search that doesn't go to keeping the engine up and running goes to the organization you pick). Free for you! And there's over a 100,000 non-profits to chose from.

  3. That's a pretty low bar, really...

  4. Yes, it is, Gordon. But it makes a point: a lot of people doing just a little can accomplish a lot. Plus, it seems so doable and painless. Would 10% be better? Of course it would. Would giving to charities instead of giving gifts be even better? Sure. But it seemed to me that setting the bar very low would make it easier for people to see the possibility of doing it.