Being generous and giving to charitable causes is an American tradition. We are very rich in this country and it is only right for us to share our prosperity with others. It takes money to do good deeds on a large scale. Most of the good that charitable organizations are able to accomplish is done with funds that are donated by good-hearted people. Organizations like the American Red Cross would be unable to continue their mission of helping people after disasters without the assistance they receive through individual and corporate donations. By pooling our resources through charities, we are able to make the world a better place to live and to ease the suffering of many people.
Has the economy changed your charitable giving?
Are you giving less to charities now that gas prices have topped $4.00 per gallon and the price of a gallon of milk is $5.00? It has to be getting tougher for families to donate. In my house, we give most of our charitable donations as a tithe to our church. We have been giving about 10% of our net income for around ten years now. We don’t really miss it since we’ve been doing it for so long. As a result, I don’t see us decreasing what we give.
Of course, a lot of the money that charities receive comes from corporate donors. If their profits are less, then one can rest assured that their giving will go down. After all, businesses have stakeholders they have to be responsible for and protect. It will be interesting to see what charities receive in total donations this year. I hope that individuals and corporations realize the importance of their giving and keep it up.
Impact and benefits of charitable donations.
I have personally benefited from the generosity of others after my home got destroyed by a tornado. So, I know the importance of giving and I feel a sense of responsibility to donate and to encourage others to do so as well. With so many people impacted in such extreme ways by the flooding in the Midwest and the fires in California, I can assure you the need has not decreased and neither should the giving. We have to pull together as a country to get through difficult times.
Of course, charitable giving is not completely selfless. We get the following benefits from giving:
1. Tax deduction
I’m not qualified in anyway to give tax advice, but I know that generally contributions made to charitable organizations are tax deductible. So, instead of giving your hard-earned cash to the government, why not give some of it to your favorite charity?
2. Good feeling from helping those in need
We’ve all heard the old adage that, “it is better to give than to receive”. Well, it is true. Haven’t you ever been more excited about giving someone a special gift than you were about what you might receive in return? Giving to worthy causes is a great way to feel good about yourself.
3. Improve your community
By giving to local charities, you are actually making your corner of the world a better place to live. You then reap the benefits of living in a community you helped to improve. The better your community the more economic development which can lead to higher home values, better jobs, and a better tax base.
Alternative ideas about giving when finances are tight.
If your budget just won’t allow you to give much in the way of cash, then you might consider these ideas to help:
1. Donate your time.
A great way to make a contribution even when you don’t have any money is to volunteer. You can even volunteer online if that suits your situation better. Charities always need workers that are willing to do tasks for them. My wife recently folded and stuffed newsletters for a local charitable organization.
2. Recycle a single donation.
Microloans are an excellent way to make a difference. As an added bonus, when you loan someone money, they pay it back. Once the loan is repaid, then you can relend it to another foreign entrepreneur. This makes a single small donation go a long way!
3. Give items you no longer use.
You’ve probably done this before, but I thought it was worth mentioning anyway. We could all probably be more intentional about this instead of waiting until someone calls us or until our next spring cleaning. Why not donate your items today? You could probably use the extra storage space!
4. Apply snowflaking to charitable giving.
Snowflaking is a technique often used to gather small bits of money together to pay off debt. However, why not throw your spare change in a jar at the end of each day and see how much accumulates over a month to give to charity? You might be surprised how much these small sums add up to be at the end of a month or a quarter.
Don’t give up on giving because your budget is tighter.
I hope you won’t throw in the towel on your charitable giving just because money is a little tighter this year. It is still important to be generous with what we have. We still live in a very rich country and most of us aren’t recovering from the disasters that others are facing. I hope I have provided you with ideas on how to continue making donations even in tougher economic times.
What other ideas do you have for finding ways to give when finances are tight? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!
Photo by Elaine Vigneault