Step 65: Give to Charity

Step 65 of the 100 steps to financial independence: Give to Charity
Step 65: Give to Charity

Enough about your finances. Let’s for a moment not talk about you anymore but about others who are less fortunate than you and who could do with even just a tiny fraction of your wealth. Yes I know that you have so many plans and that you want more money and that you really will start giving to charity some time soon, and that you are just waiting til after you get that promotion as then you’ll have some more breathing space but with your debt, and mortgage and financial obligations you really can’t at the moment….

Remember step 31 though? In which we spoke about how you will never have enough money? Not now, not tomorrow, not next year? If you don’t remember or if you are convinced you really honestly hand-on-your-heart don’t have money for charity, please return to step 31 now, reread it and see if you still feel the same after reading it. If you do, read on anyway as you will learn that you can give to charity without giving money. If after reading until the end you still believe you can’t give in any way, then okay…ignore me.

But if you truly understand step 31 AND really want to give to charity, remember that doesn’t have to be hundreds of dollars a year. It is a little like saving money: start with it early, even if you can only contribute $1 a month, or $10 a year. That is not only still $10 a year, but it also gets you into the habit of giving so that  every time when you can, it will be easy to just increase that contribution, to make space for it in your budget and to remember that there are so many who are less lucky than you and to whom your (however small) contribution can make a big difference. 

Types of charities

Now there is no point giving to charity if you don’t feel particularly connected to their cause, so spend some time finding the right charity that makes you feel good about giving them your money. Of course you don’t have to limit yourself to just one charity, you can choose to have two or three different charities to give your money to.

To get you started, below are some common themes that you might feel particularly passionate about. They are just some categories and examples, there are of course many more charities, this serves just as an idea generator.

  • Health and health care – think about cancer research, new medicines, patient and family support charities, mental health care
  • Animals – endangered species and wildlife conservation, the local animal shelter or animal welfare care.
  • Human and civil rights and  – Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International
  • Children – orphans, poverty, education, children who have a parent in jail, the scouts.
  • Environment – Greenpeace, protection of the environment, renewable energy initiatives.
  • Arts and Culture – performing arts, museums and historical societies.
  • Social and community – the homeless, the elderly, social services, neighbourhood initiatives

Types of contributions

Of course we are mainly talking about your finances here, but you can also  contribute to charity without giving money. Different ways to contribute include:

  • Monthly or yearly contributions – several charities offer memberships where you get a monthly magazine for example, but even your monthly automatic transfer can easily be set up.
  • Inheritance – you can decide to name a charity in your will and leave part of your inheritance to them.
  • Your time – become a volunteer helping out in yearly events or at a local shelter
  • Help fundraise – participate in a bake sale or yard sale, put a collecting box at work or add a link to a charity on your personal blog or social media.

 Step 65 – Give to charity – in detail

  • Sit down and decide what you care about. If needed brainstorm about your core values, what makes you sad or angry? What you would do with $1 million if you had to spend it on a good cause?
  • If it helps look at the list of types of charities above and see what resonates with you most: is that children in poor countries, the street animals in your neighbourhood or the closing of the local art gallery?
  • Research some of the charities and check their ideas are in line with yours – read their mission statement, their membership information, promotional materials and accounts information.
  • Decide what you can contribute: a yearly amount of money, a free Saturday three times a year or can you organize a yard sale with your neighbours anytime soon?
  • If you want to donate money and make it tax efficient, check that the charity of your choice complies with the requirements needed in order to qualify for a tax relief. Not all charities qualify for this requirement so if this is important to you, make sure to check.
  • Make your decision on one (or two or three) charities and start giving now: add the cause to your budget, change your will, schedule in your time or start fund-raising.

It is easy to get distracted by your money, making more money and then some more . But remember you are not alone in this world and there are many good causes that deserve some of your money, time and attention to make this world a better place.

Read more about my 100 steps mission to financial independence or simply decide to take control today and join us on our step-by-step quest on how to make your finances work for you, starting with step 1.

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