There are some year-end appeals, however, that I open as eagerly as I do the Christmas cards (and, if I'm being honest, more eagerly than I do some Christmas cards). These are the letters from friends who happen to work for nonprofits. Some of them raise the funds that pay their salaries, which is to say their housing, their health insurance, their kids' education, their retirement. Some of them raise a significant portion of (in some cases the entirety of) the budget for their organizations. Their letters are often not much different in form from the letters that come from more anonymous fundraisers--there are pictures of smiling or frowning kids, pie charts and bar graphs, underlined phrases and digitized signatures--but I know the people behind the letters, and I know that their hearts are in the letters because their hearts are in the work.
I've added a sidebar to Loud Time of "Organizations I Like." These are groups led and sustained by people I admire--many of them people I consider dear friends. If you're looking for some nonprofit to bless or to send you that blessed tax receipt this year, I happily commend them all to you. If you're a dear friend or person I admire whose nonprofit organization I've failed to like, feel free to hit me up, and I'll add it. If you have organizations you don't see in the sidebar you'd like to turn me on to, or if you'd like to add your thanks for the organizations you do see there, please comment freely. And in case I forget to say it later, have yourself a merry little Christmas.