Monday, December 15, 2008


How to spend your donation money

Here we are, halfway through December. That means there’s half a month left to top off your donations for the 2008 tax year. Two weeks to figure out how to trim a few hundred dollars more off your taxable income, while you’re helping fund a good cause or two.

Allow me to make a suggestion.

I love the Chicago Public Radio show This American Life — an entertaining, amusing, and interesting hour of storytelling each week. You can stream all the episodes online for free. And for the last two years, they’ve made the current week’s podcast free as well. I’ve been taking advantage of that: every week, I download that week’s podcast, and I save them up for when I’m travelling. They make flights seem to... fly by.

Only, it’s expensive, their giving these out for free. The extra fees they have to pay their ISP for the downloads that we’re all doing come to more than $150,000 a year. “Free” to you and me and the other 400,000 or so listeners who download the podcast doesn’t mean “free” to them, to radio station WBEZ, which produces the show.

So, this weekend I went and made a donation to help them pay for it. I figure that, in round-ish numbers, each listener who downloads a show has a share in the cost of around 35 cents a year (OK, those numbers are not terribly round; bear with me, here). That’s 35 cents a year, not per show. Yes.

Knowing, as we all do, that most listeners won’t give them anything, I covered a bunch of you: I gave them $100. I figure that if I cover 300 listeners, and a few of you out there cover 300... or 100, or 50... it’ll really help. And, hey, you can cover 50 listeners plus a few for only a $20 donation. It’s hard to find a better value than that.

If you need to listen to an episode or two or three to convince yourself, check out their staff favourites page.

Go ahead. Why not?

1 comment:

Ray said...

Speaking of TAL, we were fortunate enough to see David Sedaris at the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie last Friday, and what a great evening it was! I first 'discovered' him many years ago when he would appear very occasionally on NPR, and have liked him immensely ever since. I love his quirky sense of humour and have read most of his books.

Luckily, he is a regular on TAL, which is yet another excellent reason to donate if Barry hasn't yet convinced you.