According to data from Charity Navigator and Giving USA, slightly more than $410 billion was given to charitable causes in 2017. Philanthropy helps nonprofit groups and the people they serve, and such charitable efforts also benefit donors.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of charitable giving is helping others and the way that makes volunteers and donors feel. But there is also a financial benefit to charitable giving. Charitable donations are often tax deductible, and budgeting for such donations can teach people how to properly manage their money.
Donors who want to make the most of their charitable dollars can consider the following tips:
• Stick to one or two causes. Being a “giver” doesn’t mean you have to contribute to every cause that draws your attention. It is important to believe in the cause you’re donating to and that the message and efforts resonate with your values. This way you can focus your attention directly, and it will not seem like a financial burden. That might require you to narrow your donations down to one or two causes.
• Treat charitable giving as any other monthly bill. Look at giving to charity as a necessity rather than a luxury. Create a recurring “bill” that you pay each month and factor it into your overall spending budget. Some charities may even be able to arrange for automatic deductions from your bank account.
• Set up a specific savings account. Much like you might create a separate account for a Christmas club or vacation savings, create an exclusive account for charitable endeavors. Over time, that account balance will grow and the money can be used for whichever causes you deem fit.
• Donate what you can. You need not donate hundreds of dollars to make a huge difference. Organizations can benefit greatly from small donations. Do not avoid donating because you think your donations are too small to make a difference.
• Find out if your company will match. Ask your employer to match your donations. Even if they decline, drawing attention to a cause may inspire your bosses and coworkers to donate. Nonprofits benefit greatly from word-of-mouth. Simply talking up a charity to others can make a big impact.