Thursday , 19 January 2017
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Resource Guide: Charity on a Budget

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You don’t have to be Bill Gates to make a difference by giving to charity. There are a lot of nonprofits that are in constant need of small donations and volunteers. Evaluate your special skills and talents to see how you can contribute hands-on. Ask friends and family to collect gently used toys and clothing. Start a neighborhood drive for food and personal care items.

The ways to give to charity are infinite. Here are some resources to help you get started.

How to Give

  • women-children-runningRegistries: Learn more about starting a registry for a team, memorial or wedding so friends and family members can donate.
  • 101 Novel Ways to Give: From Forbes, learn about 101 unique charities, how they help the world, and how you can help them.
  • 6 Cheap Easy Ways to Give Back: Even if you only have a handful of change in your car or a gift card with a few dollars left, you can make a difference.
  • charity-donationCreative Ways to Give to Charity: Did you know you can help nonprofits raise money every time you open a new tab in your browser? Learn more easy ways to donate with this article.
  • Smarter Ways to Give to Charity: This article comes from a personal finance website. Learn how to plan out your donations and how to make sure you cover your own tax bases.
  • Donate Online: This resource helps you set up an automatic monthly payment and even keeps track of your donations for tax purposes.
  • 7 Worst Ways to Give: Find out from charity directors the least helpful ways to give. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can make the biggest impact on your community.
  • charity-concept10 Free Ways to Give Back: You really don’t have to give any money to give to charity. Volunteering and donating gently used items, among other ideas, top this list.
  • Contributing with No Money: A few more tips on how to give back even if you don’t have a lot of spare cash. Ideas include things like using a cash-back credit card that automatically donates.
  • 9 Ways to Get the Family Involved: Kids who start volunteering at a young age are more likely to be giving as adults. Learn how to get your whole family involved.

Ways to Volunteer

  • Volunteer Tutoring: You can change someone’s life by helping them with their education. This resource from United Way can help you find opportunities to tutor.
  • faith-hope-charityTop 5 Ways to Volunteer Now: From petting at the animal shelter to whipping up a batch of your world-famous spaghetti, there are plenty of fun, easy ways to get started right now by doing what you love.
  • Volunteer Match: This website is like a jobs listing website but for volunteer positions. Search by zip code and category to get started.
  • 12 Ways to Volunteer: Check to see if your local community has any of these kinds of organizations that are constantly seeking help.

Making Sure Your Money’s Well-Spent

  • Donor Advisories: Find out which charities are being investigated by a State Attorney General, are being sued, or have listed questionable information on their tax filings.
  • charity-word-cloudTax Traps: Learn the common mistakes that can affect your taxes if you plan to write off your charitable donations.
  • 10 Tips for Giving Wisely: These tips will help you make sure the charity organization is legitimate.
  • 5 Ways to Get More Bang for Your Buck: Check out this article from Market Watch on how to make sure your charity dollars go as far as possible.
  • The Overhead Myth: This organization’s goal is to “correct the common misconception” that administrative overhead is a good metric to judge a charity.
  • Philanthropedia: Here you’ll find expert recommendations of nearly 700 charities across 34 causes. The experts each choose the top two non-profits in their area of specialty.

Some Final Tips on Giving to Charity

Do your homework. You want to make sure any money you donate is going to be used for its intended purposes. Not all organizations which claim to be nonprofit charities are really on the up-and-up.

Give what you can. Even if the amount seems small, regular contributions of just a few dollars per month can make a huge impact when enough people join in.

If you plan on donating a significant amount, make sure you understand the consequences on your tax liabilities. Consult an attorney or financial planner to make sure the money is used in the best way possible.

Save for your charitable donations all year long, but don’t rely on seasonal giving. Believe it or not, many charities are overwhelmed with donated items around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but they still need help in the middle of June. Budget a little each month to help give during the off-season.

Donate your time. Volunteering is oftentimes more empowering, more engaging, and more fun than simply writing a check. Volunteering can truly be mutually beneficial, especially if you get young kids involved. If you’re good at computer programming, offer your services for free. If you’re a writer, help apply for grants. Whatever your talent, there’s a way to contribute.

Start a registry. If you’re planning to get married, consider having a wedding registry that asks friends and family to donate money to your (or their) favorite charitable organizations. You might also consider doing this for a loved one who has recently passed as a memorial registry.

Train for a 5k. Whether you walk or run, getting your loved ones to sponsor you in a 5k race can help raise awareness and funds for a worthy cause.

Donate blood and/or plasma. This is a simple way to help save someone’s life. You might even go a step further by registering as an organ donor.

Raise the banner for a local organization. By helping spread awareness of your local food bank, you can help get needy families in touch with the right resources. Sometimes people aren’t even aware of the charities that are eager and ready to help them.

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