Giving makes the world go round. But it isn’t about who can offer the most money, clothes or time. Any bit you can spare helps. Many people feel like they can’t spare anything. But whether you’re donating food, used goods, money or time, your contributions DO make a difference.
In fact, when put together, they can make an enormous difference: According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, individuals in the United States gave more than $250 billion in 2014. And that number got even larger in 2016, as those in our country donated more than $280 billion to charities. Can you imagine what it is in 2018?
What can you give?
I used to feel that I had nothing to offer but then I started depositing a little each pay period in my Madison credit union savings account. At first all I could deposit was $5 every 2 weeks. When I could, I increased the amount of each deposit. Now I have something to offer, when an opportunity arises and it didn’t take away from my own budget or goals. In fact, I never even noticed it going into my special savings account.
It always feels good
Giving is all about making an effort to help those around you who haven’t been served throughout their lives as well as you have. It’s about knowing that you’re making a difference in your community. It’s about seeing your generosity rub off on your friends, neighbors and family. And let’s face it: Giving feels good.
Figuring out where to donate, however, can be a daunting task. Even though we shouldn’t compare causes, some charities do use their money in wiser ways than others. So how do you decide where to donate to?
Make an informed decision
To start, you should decide which cause–or causes–are most important to you. Is it finding a cure for cancer? Rescuing animals? Feeding the hungry? As I mentioned earlier, we don’t need to fight about which cause is the most laudable effort; whichever charity aligns most with your values, well, that’s where you’re going to do the most good.
Next, you should research charities related to your cause, and then check the IRS’ nonprofit database to make sure the charity is legitimate. After, you can go to websites like Charity Watch and Charity Navigator, both of which allow you to compare and contrast charities’ financial records. As a general rule of thumb, if a charity isn’t being transparent with where it’s donations go, you should be hesitant about giving it your money. Here, transparency is a great thing.
Look around your community
And, finally, get local! Giving within your own community is the best way to see your impact blossom. It’s simple, really: The better off everyone surrounding you is, the better off you’ll be, too.
Check savings rates in Madison then set up a separate savings account at your Madison area credit union and soon you’ll be able to step up when a need or opportunity presents itself and your heart strings feel that tug.