4 Smart Ways to Give Charitably
I’ve mentioned on here before that I volunteer at my church as a youth worker. I absolutely love it; I like to hang out with the students, teach them, make them laugh. And, on top of all of that, I get to give back in a way that doesn’t involve money in an economy that is incredibly volatile.
The holidays are a time for giving. Whether you give a dollar to the Salvation Army bell ringer at the entrance to Walmart, or food to the local food bank, or donate to your favorite charity, you’ve most likely given in one way or another during this holiday season. Are you considering giving during this holiday season? Here are 4 smart ways to do so!
1. Time, talent, treasure. There’s a phrase that says that there are three ways to give: giving your time, giving your talent, and giving your treasure. If you stick to this frame of mind, it becomes much easier to give. Be a bell ringer for the Salvation army, help load up the food bank truck, help clean up after an event you attend. I know people who sing at our area’s soup kitchen during their Christmas dinner, too. If you’re gifted at something, anything, consider using that to help an organization as well.
2. Budget for giving. Put it in your budget! Some people go by a 10/40/50 plan, that is, 10% for giving, 40% for living, 50% for saving. If you can do that, go for it! If not, figure out how much you can afford to put aside to help others, and put it into your monthly (or yearly, if you do it that way) budget.
3. Get a receipt. If you are giving an amount less than $250, don’t worry about it. A canceled check or credit card statement is sufficient proof of a gift of that size. If the amount is more than that or if your gift is an object that needs to be appraised for value by the organization, you need a receipt. Many charitable organizations know exactly what needs to be done for it to be IRS acceptable.
4. Be informed. Are you particularly passionate about a cause but unsure of which organization you wish to donate to that cause through? Do your research. It’s okay to take time and figure out exactly what organization you want to help. Charitable organizations are required by law to keep open records that are available to the public. This makes it a lot easier to ask questions that you may want or need to be answered before making a contribution. If a charity isn’t open about their practices or where the money goes, you may want to consider giving to a different one.
Overall, giving should be a fun and rewarding experience. Whether you give with your time, your talent, or your treasure, the amount of help that you will be giving your chosen charity will be appreciated greatly by everyone affected. This holiday season, choose to give rather than receive. Until next week, spend smart, save smart!