Women, tithe your income

From the recent turn around of the Komen Foundation to not buying LEGOs to leaving Go Daddy, I’m realizing more than ever how important it is to support causes we believe in by writing checks.

Of those I just listed, only Komen is a non-profit, but I want to make a plea for women to give money away. I don’t think enough women do. I was in the non-profit world for years and I was blown away by so many women’s negative and complicated relationship to money. Women who cared about social causes, who were political, who wanted to have an impact on the world often had a hard time writing checks. That is, they didn’t do it. Many progressive women don’t like to talk about money. It’s almost like it’s dirty or evil, that money is corrupt and used to hurt people. Women who generously volunteered their time often would not financially support the same causes.

Money isn’t good or bad, it’s energy. It’s a tool. More women need to get comfortable using it.

There are few things more empowering that writing a check to support a cause you believe in. If you are feeling pissed off or like a victim, few things can make your mood or outlook turn around faster than giving money away. It feels really good and that’s why I do it. Philanthropy is one of my most selfish acts.

How much money should you give? It should hurt, at least a little. I’m not into martyrdom, but you should notice it. For a long, long time the church has recommended tithing your income. I think this is perfect amount as general rule, though I, personally, don’t usually give to the church.

One more reason to do it: Since I started giving money away, it has flowed to me more easily. I know that sounds kind of hippy-dippy, but I think it’s more than karma. I think it has to do with healthy risk taking. Clinging to money and feeling fearful isn’t much help to anyone.

Besides writing stories, I believe if more women tithed their income, we would absolutely change the world. Just try it. See how it feels.

18 thoughts on “Women, tithe your income

  1. hi margot,

    I’m sure you didn’t intend it, but I have to say I had a similar reaction to your post as GG and Ted – it comes across as somewhat critical of those who don’t give money, whether you intended it or not. I agree that people should give what they can, and many of us probably *can* give a little more than we are.


    • Hi Sue,

      I am being critical of people who don’t give money when they can afford to. Generally, people who can afford to do not tithe their income or anything close. I should write a another post about these stats and behavior. I believe if women WHO COULD AFFORD TO wrote checks more often, the impact would be huge. For complicated reasons, from my experience, women who can write checks, don’t. Martyring yourself will not help anyone.


  2. I agree with GG. It’s not the recommendation of giving money that is an affront, it’s the overall tone of your post. You come across a being very critical of those who only give their time and not their money. You seem to give no consideration to the possibility that, as GG says, perhaps time is all they can afford to give.

    Being the trust fund heiress that you are, GG may be correct, “you are truly this out of touch with the economic reality of most working families.” It is easy to write a check funded by a trust fund, but for those living pay check to pay check the money just isn’t there.

    Regardless of whether one has the money to give or not, some of us were raised to believe that it is a greater good (and more rewarding) to give your time than your money. I for one will not let you tell me that my time is not as valuable as your money.

    • Hi Ted,

      If you don’t want to give money away then don’t. It’s sad that you’re so angry that you’re criticizing me and also making assumptions about me. I guess you didn’t read my post either because I wrote in it that women across the board don’t give money away, trust fund or not, at the rate they should be. And one more time, it’s not about time versus money, its about time and money. Obviously, if you can’t donate money, don’t. If you can, do. Maybe you should reserve your vitriol for people who aren’t advocating to give to non-profits. Surely, there are better causes to get riled up about.


  3. Think this is a great idea.

    To anyone who’s scared (a whole tenth!) or broke, try this: tithe your fun money, because sometimes you can’t afford to give away anything, but if you’ve got money for fun, you can spare a dollar. So if I spend £20 on a new top (just because!) or £2,000 on a once-in-a-lifetime saved-up-for-years holiday, I try to make sure I donate £2 or £200 to charity.

    I got the idea from the Yarn Harlot (yarnharlot.ca) who says: ‘if you can afford to knit, you can afford to donate’. Which is so true (knitting isn’t cheap!). You can see how she’s implemented it and raised over $1 million for MSF here: http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/tsffaq.html

  4. I agree, Margot. Thanks to your encouragement, I’m going to donate more to:

    – SarahPAC (Sarah Palin’s political action committee)
    – Walk For Life (an anti-abortion nonprofit)
    – The David Horowitz Freedom Center
    …and all my other favorite groups.

    Great idea!

    • Hi Pat,

      hahahaha I guess you’re being witty here? I blog asking women to give money away and one reader tells me to “rethink” my elitist post and another says she’s giving to right wing causes. I’ll say it one more time: women, tithe your income. You will change the world.


  5. I am normally a fan of this blog, but this post smacks of elitism. In this economy, most of us working moms can barely make ends meet, let alone make generous donations to charities. I choose to volunteer rather than donate, not because I am uncomfortable with money, but because I have none of it to give away. Perhaps that’s the reason money is not “flowing to me more easily”–I’ve been selfishly using it to feed my family, rather than giving it away. Seriously, you may want to rethink the tone of this blog–unless, of course, you are truly this out of touch with the economic reality of most working families.

      • Your dismissive non-apology and failure to address any of the points I made in my comment have ensured that I will no longer be reading this blog.

        • GG,

          Your personal attacks in response to issues around money is the destructive attitude I was blogging about. I wrote a blog saying people should tithe their income and you’re incensed. You should pick a new enemy, and yes, don’t read this blog.


        • GB,

          It’s well known, but here’s one source from ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2682730&page=1#.TzReKFH3BT4

          “Rich vs. PoorBut while the rich do give more in overall dollars, according to the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, people at the lower end of the income scale give almost 30 percent more of their income.”

          It makes no sense to blog “Only rich people should give money.” Obviously, people shouldn’t give if they can’t afford to. That’s why I wrote don’t martyr yourself.


      • I am not incensed about anything, nor do I consider you an “enemy.” Rather, as I stated, I generally enjoy your blog posts. I merely expressed dismay that in an economy where hundreds of thousands of people are out of work and losing their homes, you suggest that women are merely “clinging” to money out of some unexplained fear. Your post also implies that volunteering is not as important as writing a check, and that is, frankly, both insulting and elitist. That is why I suggested adjusting the tone of your post, not its message. Your reply was dismissive, which I found disappointing, as I always thought of blogs as a way for people to exchange opinions, rather than simply pat each other on the back. That’s all. I wish you nothing but the best 🙂

        • Wow GG,

          If you can get out of my blog post that I’m saying women who are out of work and losing their homes are clinging to money, you’re working hard to be offended. It’s responses like yours that keep people silent from talking about philanthropy and how desperately its needed and that silence is bad for everyone. And ONE MORE TIME, I did not say writing a check was better than volunteering, I said in my experience, women who volunteered often didn’t write checks and didn’t like to talk about money. If you choose to see women who can’t afford to get food on the table as the group I was talking about, I suppose that’s your prerogative. If you think I blog for a pat on the back, you’re obviously not familiar with my blogging.


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