Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step


December 21, 2007

Green Charitable Giving: Charity for the Environment

Category: Companies,Conservation,Cool Sites,Take Actions – Tom Harrison – 9:55 pm

Want a tax-deductible environmental charitable donation? Maybe your dollars can go to a green charity this year. Here are some of the groups we like to support. What are your favorites? A nice option to balance out the cash flow: most organizations are happy to take a monthly donation by credit card.

Some of my favorites are:


Last year, I felt MoveOn.org lead the change in congress, which could perhaps best be described as the reduction of badness. While not specifically environmentally oriented, they are an agent for change (if over the top at times). Still, political contribution season is upon us, and environmentally oriented candidates, especially those in tight races, deserve support; MoveOn does a great job of identifying candidates that need a boost. I haven’t found a good list of environmentally oriented candidates, but check out the legislative calendar from the Sierra Club or a similar feature at the NRDC’s Action Center. Does anyone know of a good list of green candidates?

Another great resource is Charity Navigator. Here’s a link for top rated environmental charities — you can narrow by your state or other criteria to find an efficient and effective charity to give to this year. One thing that’s a little confusing: their scale is 1 to 4 stars (not the normal 5 stars), so 3 or 4 is a pretty good bet.

And I did want to say one last thing. The reason I am writing this is because Google sent our company an end-of-year gift as thanks for all the advertising we do with them. In addition to the cool schwag (this year: 2GB USB flash drive … the size and shape of a credit card &mdash very neat), they also gave us (and certainly many thousands of other advertisers) a $100 credit for a great charity called DonorsChoose.org — school teachers in need request a specific item for their classroom, and donors choose to whom and how to fund the expense. How cool is that?

What’s interesting is that after thinking about this, our company decided to give employees a year end bonus of a certain amount, or of 150% of that amount if the money was spent via DonorsChoose.org. A few people who had the means decided to use the money for charity instead of buying something for themselves, which I admire greatly. I discussed this with my son, and we agreed that if he spends some of his allowance we’ll complete a donation for the new One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program; you pay a small amount and they provide one totally functional laptop for a child in a developing country, and one for the donor. We have more than enough computers here (bad) so will instead donate the second one to the cause, as well.

This is an example of why leadership matters, and why you are the next link in the chain of leadership. Google used its great resources to pay for a good thing, but also to educate many, many people about this charitable cause. That encouragement and education further encourages others to do good things. And we passed it on. I am not one for sappy Christmas feelings, and somehow the tax deduction never seems to make any difference. But I would say if we could all use our money to help kids learn, help good causes do more for the environment and (importantly) not consume ourselves, this seems like a pretty good thing overall.

So don’t buy; give!

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