The influx of crowdfunding, charitable donations, and petitions shared on social media in the last few months in support of the Black Lives Matter movement has been truly energizing. This is an unprecedented time in which a social movement has garnered powerful momentum in a matter of weeks and on a global scale, thanks to the work of talented activists and organizers.
The Black Lives Matter movement has made staggering progress in the last few weeks, but change, especially consequential change, occurs over time and with sustained effort. It is vitally important that we keep the momentum going and persist even after we no longer see the frontliners of the movement making national news. A part of contributing to systematic change is allocating money to the people and organizations that need it to do vital work. These people and organizations will still need funding after the hashtags are no longer trending, and sustaining meaningful charitable donations takes thoughtful planning and regular effort.
An important step in creating a plan for consistent and stable giving is the creation of a budget. A budget will let you know how much money you get, how much you spend on essentials, and how much you can give as a result. I’ve always been a proponent of a simple budget, especially if you’re starting for the first time. Simplicity makes it far easier to follow your budget in the long term.
The amount each individual can allocate to donations will vary considerably on a case by case basis. As a general rule, 10% of your income is a fantastic starting point, but this may not be suitable for everyone. Because of this, creating a personal budget is so important. It grants you visibility into where your money is going and finds places where you can use your money better.
We live in an exciting time where the internet and digital banking makes it easy to fund people and organizations all over the world with literal clicks of a digital button. When deciding where to put your money, do not be lazy! Where your money is going is as important, if not more so, than how much. If you work for a company that matches donations, you can set up regular automatic donations to organizations and have your company match your effort. It’s great to take advantage of these programs when you can.
But don’t just put your money towards major non-profits and call it a day’s work! As amazing as many of these organizations are, they are already the first place people will put their money when making a donation. Donating directly to funds on websites like GoFundMe is a powerful way to support people who are out there on the frontlines. These crowdfunds allow you to put money directly in their pockets so that they can continue to do important and often difficult work. The internet makes it incredibly easy to find funds to contribute to. My favorite way to find funds is to search for hashtags on Instagram and Twitter. There are entire accounts dedicated to promoting crowdfunds for a variety of causes. Do your research and put your money where it counts!
If you’re struggling with money, please remember donating cash is not the only way to give. Likewise, if you have money, remember that it should not be the only way you donate! Donate your time, donate whatever resources you have, and donate your skillset. There are a million ways to give to the causes and communities in need of support. Contact lawmakers, write a prisoner and ask them what they need, organize on social media, or volunteer for organizations in your community. If you’re not sure where to start, set some time aside to find an organization that is working on something you believe in and contact them to find out where they need help. Do not be discouraged. There are thousands of people working towards a more equitable future, and together, we have the power.