Wednesday, December 13, 2006

'Tis the season to give!

I was going to save this for the New Year's post, but since news is slow, we're going to talk about charities. I know this is a hard time of year to think about handing over even more money than you probably already have, and some of us just don't have money to throw around to begin with. But that doesn't mean that you can't do your bit for charity! Giving isn't limited to money, as Audrey herself has shown. Here's some alternative ways to do a good deed without sending yourself to the poorhouse:

1. Read this list! It's from a personal finance website, so they know about working with budgets, and give good tips on how to work with what you have. That includes donating your time or services, which is always desperately needed, and doing some free advertising for the charity of your choice.

2. Use the Internet. More and more Google-type search engines are sprouting up that are actually run for charities. You just search the way you always do, but it helps a charity in need. Some good search engines are GoodTree, GoodSearch, and even GuideStar to search for non-profits.

3. Use your mouse. More and more charities are doing click donations. All you have to do is click a button, and a corporate sponsor donates a set amount for every click. The Hunger Site is a long-lasting example of this, but you can find even more through Charity Click Donation.

4. Think before you donate. It's so easy for someone to drop some change in a bin by the cash register and think "I've done my part!" But how do you know that your donation is actually going towards what you think it's going toward? No one donates their money thinking "I sure hope this donation pays a CEO's salary." Thanks to Charity Navigator, you can search for major charities (5,000 to choose from at this time) and see just how well they operate and what percentage of funds go towards the actual good deeds. While the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund isn't on the site at this time, UNICEF is, and you can see for yourself what a good rating they've received.

Just some ideas to ponder over, especially with New Year's resolutions looming over the horizon as well. And if you can't think of anything you'd really want or need for the Christmas/Hannukah holidays, maybe suggest a donation in your name instead of gifts.

Finally, a video clip from the Breakfast at Tiffany's special edition DVD showing how the great party scene was filmed. (The actress who talks in the studio and who played the laughing/crying woman, Fay McKenzie, apparently made a good impact on director Blake Edwards, because he used her again in his later film The Party.)

Edit: the original clip has been removed; however, you can still learn about the making of Breakfast at Tiffany's here.

Lastly, guess who did the voice of Holly's drunk date, the night she crawled up the fire escape to Paul's flat? None other than Mel Blanc, voice of Bugs Bunny and countless other classic characters! You learn something new every day. (Thanks to IMDb for that one.)

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