So, I gave around $9000 ($5000-$6000 actual cost, factoring in taxes) to charity this year. Was it enough? I’ll be the first to admit that wasn’t all I could afford to give. It was as much as I wanted to.
And you know what else I’ll admit? Earlier in the year, when the baseball playoffs came around, I went to four games, spending a total of $400 on tickets alone. According to me, that means I let two children die of malaria so I could watch the Yankees lose in person. Those of you of certain philosophical persuasions could even say I killed two children. Adjusting for taxes, I killed three.
It’s an unnerving thought. But if I wrote that I’m losing sleep over it, I’d be lying. I’m not. I spend more time than most people thinking about the horrible problems in the world, but in an hour and a half what I’m going to be thinking about is how awesome it is when 300-pound men injure each other for my entertainment. And even when I am thinking about the horrible problems in the world, I generally don’t feel that terrible or sad and I definitely don’t cry (which some people consider to be the ultimate sign of an effective charity agent). Honestly, the main feeling I have is excitement that I can do something about them.
If you think that makes me a terrible person, and you’re either (a) giving away every penny you have or (b) staying up all night to jam needles into your eye because you feel so bad, well, cool. If you’re one of the remaining 99.99999% of people who values yourself way above others, I imagine that what I’m saying rings true.
I want to help others, but I have no interest in being a saint or Zell Kravinsky. I’ve got some disposable income, and I spend it on things that feel worth it. Improving the world is one of those things. Others include baseball, beer, and steak dinners. I wouldn’t fault you for doing the same. Just remember: you don’t have to give away everything to give away a lot.