ASU Lodestar Center Blog

Current nonprofit sector research and recommendations for effective day-to-day practice from ASU faculty, staff, students, and the nonprofit and philanthropic community.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 10:04am
posted by
Kayla L. McKinney
Project Specialist
ASU Lodestar Center

So, I'll admit it. I have a rough time donating to nonprofits. At this point in my life, I only give money to one nonprofit organization, and I do that through automatic monthly payments, with little thought at all to the whole process. I always have excuses -- I'm too busy! I'm a grad student! I'll get it together and shape up next month!

But what if I did make it a priority? What if I decided that, every single day, I'd devote a little bit of time and a little bit of a care to a different nonprofit organization? Well, that’s just what Carlo Garcia did.

In 2010, Carlo made a commitment - to give to a different charity each day for an entire year. That's 365 charities in 365 days. A native Chicagoan, Carlo cites many reasons for his journey on his blog. He explains, "I thought to myself, it's not important how much you give, as long as you give on a regular basis. So, I decided I am going to dedicate myself to giving every day for a year and documenting my journey, so that others may be able to follow and if they feel inspired, take on their own mission of giving. I also believe that we as youth generations need to become the leaders of a new movement of philanthropy. It is our responsibility to set the standards of giving for future generations."

And he's certainly got the right idea. Carlo's mission made me step back and rethink my own approach. How am I impacting my community, and why am I so gosh darn lazy when it comes to helping out local nonprofits?

In the past year, with the help of donations from his fans, Carlo has donated over $4,000 to charities across the nation. For him, philanthropy isn't an afterthought - it's a lifestyle. He blogs about his choices, twitters his journeys, and shares stories with his Facebook fans. He's integrated a philosophy to live philanthropically into his everyday routine.

So, with his inspiration, I've realized I can live without that newfangled gadget or all the pricey chai lattes, and instead I can live with giving back to my community. Sure, it definitely takes commitment, but Carlo proves we can absolutely do it. So, even though I probably won't be donating to a different organization every single day of the week, he definitely shows me how we can all make our lives philanthropic, too.

What's your giving strategy? Are you loyal to one nonprofit (or more)? Or do you like to switch up the organizations you give to? Sound off in the comments section!

For more information about Carlo and his mission, check out his blog. To see how Carlo has inspired others, search twitter for #GiveEveryDay.


Every Christmas since I was about 9 or so, my Grandmother has asked that, instead of gifts, my cousins and I each donate to a charity and wrap up the receipts or certificates and a letter talking about the charity and what it means to us. It's been a nice little tradition, but I wish I did more without the nudge from the Christmas Spirit.

I couldn't agree more about setting a standard for the future. If we don't donate now what's to say we will in the future? That principle isn't limited to ourselves, either: if we don't donate now who's to say future generations or even others in our generation will? There's a lot to be said for maintaining a lifestyle that is centered around philanthropy and I say go for it! Let the adventure of nonprofit and/or charity seeking and supporting begin!

I have to admit that my giving strategy is currently on of convenience. I am always willing to give when I approached with an opportunity however, seeking out new organizations and giving to them on a regular basis has been time consuming for me in the past and with working and 19 credit hours, I find it difficult just to obtain the required career field exploration hours I have remaining. Though, after reading Carlo's story, I am certain I can make a change in my own life as well. I recently joined and have begun saving for a new home. This has allowed me to see some areas in which my unnecessary spending is high. Because I have cut back in those areas, I have the means to donate to new organizations. I will make it my goal to research a new organization I have either heard about or learned about and give to them, at least, once a month.

Karyn Riedell

This is one thing that I really need to work on in my own life as well. I give regularly to my church through tithing and other donations for the poor, but I rarely look for opportunities to give outside of the church. Although, I was able to donate a little to the United Way campaign through my affiliation with the Lodestar Center, and I'm a member of the local NPR affiliate. I really should make an effort to donate more to other causes.

For example, I think it's important to donate to Japan and Haiti and other places that have suffered from natural disasters. But, like you, I rarely put my money where my heart is. It's a problem. I see the commercials and think "yeah, I should really do something to help." And then I go back to eating Doritos and forget all about it. Thanks for making me feel guilty! ;-) But, seriously, sometimes we just need a kick in the pants in order to find the motivation to do what we've been wanting to all along. So. Thanks for the added boost of motivation!

@Kelly - That's such a great tradition! Your family is awesome.

@Josh - I think it's especially worrisome as we get older, and as we as a society become more and more focused on ourselves. It's not Generation Me for nothing! :) But people like Carlo are definitely changing that perception.

@Karyn and Travis - Glad I'm not the only one! Hopefully learning to budget our money a little better will enable us to help out more than we thought we could. Oh, and Travis, text REDCROSS to 90999 to easily donate $10 to help Japan. :)

"It is our responsibility to set the standards of giving for future generations." - This quote inspired me to reply to this blog post, which itself has inspired me to change my ways of donating, forever. I too donate to a nonprofit through an automatic monthly payment, and while this is great and I am glad to make an impact, I do miss out on the feeling of giving directly to a cause. If we make it a trend to donate a little bit of money to a different cause every day, or even a different cause every week, it will certainly become a trend that will be followed by our future, today's youth (what could be more valuable?). Not to mention, it could balance contributions for organizations as a whole, rather than people focusing on one cause solely.

-Molly Huffman

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