Here's an interesting idea from Ka-Ping Yee, a software engineer working with Google.org. He writes:
I am trying an experiment I call "personal consumption offsets" (http://wolog.net/254527.html):
In 2010, I'll match everything I spend on a non-essential purchase
with an equal donation to an effective charity.
I think there is a good chance that this method may have both practical
and psychological benefits:
1. Anybody can apply this plan, regardless of income.
2. The statement of the pledge is simple and does not involve
choosing arbitrary numbers.
3. I will make more total donations than by pledging 5% of my income.
4. It will motivate me to donate more to charity (because it means
more enjoyment for myself).
5. It will enhance my enjoyment of the things I buy for myself
(because I will know that it also benefits others).
If you like this idea, please consider passing it on
I like it, so I'm passing it on. It resembles, to some extent, the idea behind www.whatIdidnotbuy.org, which is also worth a look.
I have only one tiny cavil. In his blog, Ka-Ping Yee describes this as an alternative to take the pledge that I have invited people to take, at www.thelifeyoucansave.com. But why not do both? If you give in this way, then unless you have an extremely high income, or spend almost nothing on non-essential items [or both - but that is unlikely} you will exceed the pledge level. And taking the pledge spreads the message to others - it helps them to see that many people are giving significantly to those in extreme poverty.