So many causes, so few dollars

Requests from organizations appear regularly in my e-mail, my Facebook newsfeed, and my mailbox out by the road. Some send calendars. Some send return address stickers. A few still send car window decals. Most of them send a message that’s hard to ignore. Over the years, I’ve probably supported more conservation organizations than anything else: that explains all the free scenic calendars.

Many of them hope I’ll make a minimum donation of $25. That’s not so bad if there are only one or two nonprofits involved. But, doing this can get expensive when you see a lot of worthy causes. What do you think is best, giving $25 to ten organizations or $250 to one organization? I can never decide.

My website includes the logos for four organizations, beginning with PEN America on the home page: “PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.” For a writer, the freedom to write is basic.

Next is WaterKeeper Alliance. I like their focus on clean rivers and the fact that you can donate and/or volunteer: “Waterkeeper Alliance ensures that the world’s Waterkeeper groups are as connected to each other as they are to their local waters, organizing the fight for clean water into a coordinated global movement.” Many of these groups, called river keepers, focus on specific rivers, often near enough to make it easy to, say, participate in river cleanup days.

I support the Glacier Park Conservancy because I’ve worked in Glacier Park, helped with publications in an earlier incarnation of the group, and like the fact they not only help support park projects but put on their own programs as well: “The Glacier National Park Conservancy is the official non-profit fundraising partner of Glacier National Park.” Their website always lists ongoing and upcoming projects to help park friends understand the need.

Since I live in a rural area, I’m attuned to the fact that a lot of people buy horses and then leave them on the property when they move away, or if they don’t move, ignore the horses at their peril. Just up the road is Sunkissed Acres which rescues old horses that are often sick or takes on horses when owners can no longer afford them: “Since our official beginning in 2004, hundreds of horses have been rescued, rehabilitated, rehomed, and if their pain is too much to bear… a humane and peaceful passing becomes our mission. The horses teach us so many valuable lessons from life skills to kindness, and they have become an integral part of our work.” As they say, they are often a horse’s last, best home.

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell’s coming-of-age adventure novel “Mountain Song” is free on Kindle October 15-17, 2020. The novel is set partly in Glacier National Park Montana.

Pay it Forward, Give Back

Nice concepts. But, there are so many worthy causes not even counting family and friends. Hard to choose. And then, if you’re so inclined, there are political campaigns now on top of all the charities, funds, non-profits, and other organizations asking for cash.

Some say every dollar helps. So they ask for $25. That’s not too bad–unless you tally up how many requests for $25 you get every month. Sometimes I get multiple requests from the same place and feel like sending back a note that says, I’m not Jo Rowling, Bill Gates, James Patterson, or an oil baron from Saudi Arabia. How much do you think I have after paying the rent?

Some requests bother me, and those are the ones from everyday people like me who get behind on their mortgage payments (or whatever) and put up a crowdfunding link on Facebook and we’re all rather shamed into kicking in to help somebody we don’t know make ends meet. Yet, I read how they got into debt–because I’ve been there–and wish I could contribute.

I tend to contribute to environmental causes–the National Parks, a “Friends of” group for a specific park, the National Parks and Conservation Association, etc. Like many, I try to keep up with which general charities use an exorbitant amount of the money donated for administrative costs (and goodness knows what).

There’s so much to be done, doing it seems overwhelming. Personally, I don’t care for the size of the defense budget and think a lot of that money could be better used in other programs. All of us probably have our own pet peeves about “bad” uses of government funds that we think could be put to better use somewhere else. So, as a lover of National Parks, it ticks me off that Congress won’t appropriate enough money to keep them running, and this causes those of us who really can’t afford to do it to contribute to programs the government ought to be funding.

Whatever your favorite causes are, there’s always a chain of events that created the problem, e.g., people with high medical bills going bankrupt and needing help. Yes, we can and should speak out for change, but until that change occurs, we have a lot of pieces to pick up that aren’t being covered by the government, churches, charities, and “Friends of” organizations.

I felt rather discouraged when some financial organization or other said, in response to “tax the rich” campaigns, that even if the government took all of the rich’s money, it would be a drop in the bucket insofar as the deficit and/or funding needs are concerned. That makes my $25 contribution to Glacier National Park seem rather inconsequential. All I can hope is that my $25 along with a $25-dollar check for several thousand other people actually will help make things better whether we’re paying it forward or giving back.

Does anyone else wrestle with the amount of money needed vs. the amount anyone of us can contribute?

Malcolm

My novels “The Sun Singer,” “Mountain Song,” and “Sarabande” are te in Glacier National Park, so I try to support the park’s projects when I can.