Charitable Giving on a Budget

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Charitable Giving on a Budget






Frugal charity is not an oxymoron. You can wisely manage your money while finding ways to give more to others. Below are some tips to help you accomplish just that.

1. Collect money as a group and buy canned goods in bulk and at a discount. This yields more food to give to the hungry than everyone bringing their own cans.

2. Cash in an envelope can be stolen. If sending money to someone who needs it, send a debit card instead of cash. Rechargeable gift cards to retailers like Wal-Mart and Target allow people to buy what they want and need. And unlike boxes of canned goods and hand me down clothes, they retain their dignity.

3. Give an Angel Food Ministries gift card to those who want to order their own food but may not use money or gift cards wisely.

4. When giving gift cards, avoid those that have transaction fees or expire.

5. Do not send money to large foundations like The Ford Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, or Open Society Institute. They do not perform any charitable work themselves. They simply dole out money to small charities around the nation after taking fundraising and administrative fees. Your donation will go further if sent directly to the small charity.

6. Do not allow others to become joint card holders on credit cards. This risks others spending more than you can afford to pay off. It also risks their financial irresponsibility hurting your credit.

7. For those in dire straights, consider paying their utility bills anonymously. It keeps the lights on and the water running without the risk of money being used for something else. This can be done by calling the utility and offering to pay their account balance.

8. Pay for educational expenses that allow someone to finish an educational credential. This may be a professional certification, the last classes to finish a college degree, or a GED study course.

9. Avoid donating to any charity that has high administrative and fundraising percentages. Search tools like Charity Navigator to ensure that you only send money to charities that do charitable work, instead of providing a living for those who fundraise for it.

10. Help those in need find employment. Hand outs only help ease the suffering for a day. A hand up can bring them to self-sufficiency and counters the growing culture of dependency. Paying for someone’s job skills course, resume writing session, or SCORE small business help session could lead to them no longer needing help at all.

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