For Halloween I decided to organize and update my charitable giving. I decided a long, long, long, long time ago that if/when I made it as an author I would donate a percentage of my royalties to charity.
Why? Because I make my living entertaining others (which does sometimes help people in a big way), but I'm not feeding the hungry. Food for the soul, maybe. :-) So I made the pledge years before I was published that I would give something back.
I've found that an easy way to donate is through an online site like Network for Good. (http://www.networkforgood.org) I can search through their database to find charities, and once I've researched an organization, I can set up a one-time donation or a recurring payment for the charity I've chosen.
I have a small cluster of charities that I send money to once a quarter. The money is taken automatically, so if I'm buried in my stories and can't remember my own name, the donation doesn't fall through the cracks. (My heart is in the right place, but sometimes my brain is on Neptune.)
As my sales grow, my ability to give increases, so every so often I go through my charities and up the donation level or add new charities. That was my morning's activity (besides, of course, writing!)
Another reason I mention giving back is that my friend and colleague Bonnie Vanak and I are planning a givaway starting Monday.
Our goal is two-fold, 1. to celebrate our five-year anniversary as romance authors, and 2. to help new authors at Dorchester, where we both published our first books in November 2002.
We'll post the details here and on Bonnie's blog come Monday. Win free books! Stay tuned. :-)