Sevenly.org partners with a major charity and sends them $7 of every sale made that week. They've already donated nearly $10K this week. It's an amazing concept in that it builds social awareness and creates both tangible and intangible change. We need more of this.
On the heels of the Pope's call to end the cult of money, I thought this would be timely. I think those of us in rich countries could often use our money more wisely. I do think one of the major downfalls of living in a wealthy society is fighting consumerism. We earn so much more money than most people in the world, but what are we spending it on? (Granted, life's necessities are generally more expensive in rich countries, but still.) And while we can debate over how much money is too much money, or how much we 'should' spend on ourselves, or how much stuff is 'ok', I think it's unrealistic to expect everybody to suddenly change for the better, however you want to define it.
So why not at least start encouraging purchases that can make a difference? And if you happen to hear about a charity that inspires you to give to that organization directly, then so much the better. Even if the whole topic 'just' makes you pause and reconsider your lifestyle, then that is enough. I'm all about baby steps, though I think sometimes leaps of faith are also called for.
I often struggle with the tension between the balance of responsibility and the desire of self, of instant gratification in the form of a purchase -or even what I promote on my blog. I'm sure I'm not alone. But I don't believe in being driven by guilt, but rather joy. There is so much joy in giving -financially, emotionally, or otherwise. May we all give a little more.