I think we all appreciate that we “should” give to charity and help improve the lives of others and make this world a better place.
Giving to charity does not have to cost you hundreds of dollars a year. It is just like saving money: start with it early, even if you can only contribute $1 a month, or $10 a year. Not only is that still $10 a year, it also gets you into the habit of giving, so that every time you have a little more money available, it will be easy to also increase that contribution, even if it is by just a small amount, to make space for it in your budget and to remember that there are so many who are less fortunate than you and to whom your (however small) contribution can make a considerable difference.
Types of contributions
To help you decide which charity most appeals to you, below are some common themes that you might feel particularly connected to.
- Health and health care – cancer research, new medicines, patient and family support charities, mental health care;
- Animals – endangered species and wildlife conservation, local animal shelters or animal welfare care;
- Human and civil rights – examples include. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, War Child;
- Children – think of poverty, education, orphans, children who have a family member in jail, the scouts;
- Environment – e.g. Greenpeace, protection of the environment, renewable energy initiatives;
- Arts and Culture – e.g. performing arts, museums and historical societies;
- Social and community – e.g. the homeless, the elderly, social services, neighbourhood initiatives
These are just some categories and examples, there are of course many more charities, but it gives you a rough idea to start looking at the type of charity you might want to donate to.
Types of contributions
The most common way to give to charity is by giving money, but there are other ways to contribute too to consider. Below is an overview of how you can contribute to charities:
- Monthly or yearly contributions – regular financial contributions often presented as a memberships in exchange for which you might get a trimesterly magazine, special discounted products or regular offers or events you can attend.
- Inheritance – leaving some of your inheritance to a charity by stipulating this in your will is a common way to give money when you ultimately no longer need it.
- Your time – become a volunteer helping out with yearly events, at a local shelter or promoting the charity’s mission.
- Help fundraise – participate in a bake or yard sale, put a collecting box at work or add a link to a charity on your personal blog or social media to bring the work of your charity to the attention of others and encouraging them to give too.
Today’s challenge is to decide firstly what type of charity you’d like to contribute to and then investigate which charity fits the bill the most. Make a commitment to start contributing, if you feel you don’t have much to give, start by saving up and budgeting $1 a month or think of how you can give some time or help fundraising.
Once you’ve made a commitment, share you update online, using the #31DayChallengetoFE hashtag or on Facebook. More on this topic can be found in the 100 steps mission to Financial Independence, in particular Step 65: Give to Charity and Step 64: Tax Planning.