I've always thought that it is important to give something to organizations that are important to you ... whether it's time or money. However, I know that my monetary donations tend to be fairly random and impulsive. Many charities do planned drives either at the holidays or during the summer, and, because my income does have limits, I tend to pick one at that time and ignore other - just as worthy - causes. So, my goal this time was to choose a different charity each month for a year (August of 2010 - July of 2011) and give them a monetary gift.
I didn't set an amount to give to each. The largest gifts went to my undergraduate university and my former high school's scholarship program; both of these institutions gave me a scholarship based on purely on academics when I was younger and really needed the cash. In the case of the university, I hadn't even applied for the scholarship; it was one that the professors nominated and chose the student recipients. The smallest amounts were given in October ... I made sure to put something in the donation box at every museum that I visited while I was in London ... those gifts may have been smaller individually; however, I'm sure that they added up to as much as I spent most other months on a single organization.
So, what did I support (aside from London museums)? The largest category was educational related ... my graduate university program, my undergraduate university, my high school scholarship fund, the local PTO where I live now, the classroom wish list for the town I live now. I guess you could say that I'm all about learning! I also gave to several medical research causes and some animal related groups - one charity combined those two ... Guiding Eyes for the Blind ... a group that trains service dogs.
I enjoyed doing this goal, but I don't think I will continue to monitor that I spend on at least one group per month. It did have the unfortunate effect of increasing my junk mail ... and it was interesting to see how quickly some of the national groups sent second letter to ask for another gift. I expect that with some random exceptions my gifts will continue to go mainly towards education.