A similar sentiment has inspired Laurel Snyder and her husband, Chris, to donate to organizations like the A.C.L.U. and the Southern Poverty Law Center. “We had to support the institutions that could stand up for those beyond the government,” said Ms. Snyder, 44, who writes children’s books and lives in Atlanta.
Ms. Snyder, who grew up canvassing and demonstrating, said she prefers to engage with activism by getting out in the streets, but her husband has become a habitual giver. The couple sees their donations not as a coping mechanism but as a responsibility, to the extent that they have become an unofficial line item on the family’s operating budget.
“I feel like, we all didn’t do enough for a really long time, and so we’re sort of trying to pull back that ground,” she said. “In my head, I have to do this budgeting, like, ‘All right, I guess we won’t get pizza this week.’”
Ms. Rentz, who has also donated to KIND Inc., You Can Vote and the N.A.A.C.P. in the last year, said, “I think about it like, what could I spend this money on that’s more important than this? And in that moment, there isn’t anything. What, I’m going to go to the movies another night? What is more important than safety and democracy? I don’t know if it’s helping, but just that feeling is worth it to me.”
The Giving Stimulus
It isn’t just those on the left who are giving away their cash to alleviate political dread. In the month following the mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla., the N.R.A. received a record-breaking burst of contributions totaling $2.4 million, the majority of it in the form of donations of $200 or less.
One of those donors was Sam Swanson of College Park, Md., who had never contributed to the N.R.A. or actively engaged in gun culture until this year. Mr. Swanson, 22, who works in cybersecurity, closely followed the events of Parkland on conservative Reddit boards and was struck by the calls for gun control that ensued in the wake of the shooting. After watching the town hall on gun violence hosted by CNN, he said, he was galvanized to act.