Do you donate money to charity?
This is the question that I wanted to throw out to you guys today. With tax season here, many topics are going to be discussed on personal finance blogs. Donating to charity is a highly-debated topic that I want to get some feedback on.
What are the benefits of donating to charity?
Charity donates are tax-deductible. You can claim your charity  donations on your taxes to get some money back. So not only do you get to help out a cause that you believe in, but you can claim this on your taxes to help you out a little bit.
You really do make a difference. Depending on the charity and your own beliefs, you can really help out and make change. As corny as that sounds, it’s true. While there are obvious scams, there are plenty of good causes out there, from donating drinking water to poor towns in Africa to helping troubled youth afford college.
I personally went out of my way to donate money for research to the hospital where my middle brother had open heart surgery as a kid. I remember spending a whole summer there when I was younger. I also remember that everything was free (from video games to game nights). I couldn’t help but give back to this great cause.
It beats blowing the money on something totally useless. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes spend money foolishly. When I do, I wonder how someone else could have benefitted from this. Do you ever think about this? A $7 drink at bar gets you a little buzz. What could this do for a starving child?
Giving money away leads to happiness. I found an old study  that shows how giving money away can increase your own personal happiness. Allow me to quote this article:
“New research reveals that when individuals dole out money for gifts for friends or charitable donations, they get a boost in happiness while those who spend on themselves get no such cheery lift.”
That’s pretty funny because I always notice an increase in my personal happiness when I do something for selfless reasons.
With that being said, there’s another issue worth looking at…
What if you can’t donate money to charity if you want to help?
Not everyone has the financial resources or ability to donate money. Most of us generally want to do good for the community. We just can’t always afford to take money away from our debt payments or retirement savings. That’s normal. No need to feel guilty. You can still help out.
What are some quick options for giving back without spending money?
- Become a mentor. Do you enjoy working with younger folks? Whenever I can I try to mentor my younger brothers or any of their friends. Life can be nasty when you’re young. Many communities are looking for older/responsible adults to work with troubled youth as mentors. Could this be you?
- Donate food. In high school, one of our teachers organized a group that would go out and feed the homeless every first Saturday of the month. It was simple: everyone took the bus downtown with sandwiches and handed them out.
- Donate your time. Time is all that people need sometimes. I have a buddy that volunteers at a hospital. He walks around and speaks with elderly people who have no else to talk to. The time invested is minimal (only a few hours per week). The results are HUGE. He says that he sees the smiles on their faces as soon as he walks in. There are people who just need someone that will listen to them and show some basic care. Can you donate some of your spare time? It sure beats playing video games.
You don’t need money to give back. You can give back in a variety of ways, depending on what your resources are like.
Have you recently donated any money to charity? How did you decide which charity to help out?Google+