‘Tis the Season

With the approach of “Colorado Gives Day” on December 8, we asked the Community First Foundation if a local donor might be willing to share her experience about online charitable giving. Linda Kirkpatrick tells her own story about what motivates her to give and how she divvied up a significant donation into smaller monthly payments when the economy began struggling a couple of years ago. (For more information about Colorado Gives Day, go to www.coloradogivesday.org)

Helping people who are experiencing difficult times is important to me.  I’m frequently reminded that most of us are ever-so-close to needing that kind of help ourselves.  When I was in third grade back in 1956, I came home from school one day to learn that my father had been hit by a train and was hospitalized in another state.

Our lives changed overnight.

My father was unable to work for many years.  There were no organizations like the Jeffco Action Center to help my family. Instead, friends and neighbors helped with used clothing and transportation. Living on a farm kept us eating well, but many who experience setbacks are not so fortunate to be able to grow food in sufficient amounts to live on.  We even had enough food to occasionally give to others as a way of thanking them for what they did for us.  My mother always said, “No matter how little you have, you always have enough to share.”

Now I give back by volunteering for the Jeffco Action Center, and I was invited to serve on their board a few years ago.  It’s always been important to me when serving on a board to meet the expectations that were outlined to me before accepting that position.  Making a substantial donation of $1,000 or more a year is something I committed to, but meeting that commitment became a bit difficult when the economy turned sour in 2008.

I remembered I could make recurring donations online through GivingFirst.org, by having $85 a month charged to my credit card. Somehow, setting up a regular monthly payment seemed a lot more manageable than writing that $1,000 check once a year. Even though we’d tightened our budget at home substantially, I knew the Action Center had 200-300 families walking through their doors each day seeking help. And I knew they needed my donation more than ever.

– Linda Kirkpatrick

Has the economy, technology, or anything else prompted you to change your own giving habits? We’d like to hear from you. Feel free to post a comment here or share your experience with us.