Deciding to donate money to charity is a wonderful thing to do, but knowing exactly how much to give can feel like a bit of a hassle. Aristotle puts is well:
“To give away money is an easy matter and in any man's power. But to decide to whom to give it, and how large and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man's power nor an easy matter.”
Even though it isn’t easy, it can be done.
While the subject of to whom, when and for what purpose could be the subject of a different article, today I’d like to focus on the how large. Size is a relative factor and will vary depending on a several variables.
But with a bit of strategy and basic calculations, I’m confident that you’ll be able to determine exactly how much to give when you want to donate money to charity.
Considerations Before You Donate Money to Charity
Before you donate money to charity, it’s important to understand your own financial health. It’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of giving that you don’t take time to understand your own needs. While these spontaneous acts are wonderful from time to time, a more strategic approach to charitable giving is more sustainable in the long run.
I like the strategy HowStuffWorks shares:
“A good rule of thumb is this: You should be able to pay your bills, cover expenses without the use of credit cards and put some savings away for retirement before you make a donation to charities.”
By approaching it this way, you can create a sustainable strategy for donations while still taking care of your personal and family needs.
Calculate How Much You Can Afford to Give
Once you know what’s leftover after your own bills and expenses, it’s time to make some calculations. Now, this part will vary depending on your personal beliefs and desires. A couple of more common practices include:
- Judaism and Christianity often teach a 10% tithe.
- In his book, The Life You Can Save, Peter Singer suggests 1% of our annual income
But ultimately, when you donate money to charity, it’s a very personal thing. If society forced us to give our money away, it’s no longer giving, it’s taxes. The best donations come from a generous heart that has a desire to help others – whether it’s a little or a lot.
I’d suggest deciding on a percentage of your income and going from there, whether that’s 5% or 100% of what’s leftover after bills and expenses.
Fund Giving by Cutting Down on Expenses
Sometimes it feels like we just don’t have enough to spare. After paying for bills and expenses, the allotment just doesn’t seem available.
This is a common problem, so I wanted to provide a quick solution.
If you’re wanting to boost the amount you can donate, consider cutting back on some nonessential expenses. These types of things could include:
- Premium cable service
- Your daily latte
- A seldom-used gym membership
- An online subscription you don’t use
Once you’ve identified these opportunities, take the money you save and give it to charity. This is a great strategy because it’s money you’re already using, but not receiving much value from spending. Giving it to charity instead is the perfect way to put it to use.
What Do You Consider Before Making a Donation?
Choosing to donate money to charity requires more considerations than just how large. In fact, there are a number of things to think about. I’d like to know what crosses your mind!
Share what things you take into consideration before making a donation. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below!