When I started daydreaming about this project, my little sister (who works at a non-profit, has been a Vista volunteer, and is basically a subject matter expert in charity and philanthropy) told me it was a pretty crazy idea. Well, the original idea was kinda dumb actually: it was just me, running this crazy marathon of projects for charities, mashing out 2.5 charities every month.
She had some really awesome ideas to fix that. Like, make it more social. Make it accessible to people (she suggested business cards with a website). Find some way to get other people involved by paying it forward.
But the one thing she really impressed on me was that this could be really valuable to charities I cared about if I didn't do a terrible job. She told me to pick ONE charity, and figure out what they need, get to know them and their team, and do ONE thing really well. She discouraged me from starting my own spin-off projects: there is a Friends of Youth nearby (they support foster kids and homeless teens), I was pondering starting a tutoring program there. Why? Wouldn't the people who work with those teens everyday know what their real priorities are? I somehow doubt it is SAT prep.
(I can't let go of the grandeur of 30 for 30, but I can spread out the insanity by asking for your help)
I told her I hadn't figured out how to set the scale of the projects, but I wanted to set it too high for me to just "buy my way out" every month. (I worry that the day before I turn 31, I'll be eating $50 worth of girl scout cookies and making $10 donations on my cell phone to every charity I can find. This isn't bad, it's just lacking in the grandeur I was hoping for.) She said $100 with no string attached can be an awesome gift to a small non-profit. A lot of their money comes from grants which must be used for specific priorities, or from donors who have really specific ideas about what it should do. And there can be a budget gap between "what we have" and "what we need" that must be really frustrating.
Anyway, my little sister helped me decide to do the project this way. Big Goals. No strings attached money. Supporting tiny charities if I love what they do. And asking for help. Asking my friends and family and total strangers to join me in this crazy journey.
And that's when I made up my mind to blog about it. It occurred to me, not for the last time, that I have NO idea what I am doing. And that's really exciting- the older you get, the less that happens. So I am going to blog about it, to share my experience, share what I am learning and how it is changing me.
Oh, and I made my first donation today. A friend of mine is doing the polar plunge to support the special Olympics, and that rocks. We are officially 0.13% to goal!