Many financial gurus extoll the virtues of giving, and even indicate that giving is part of successful finances. At first glance, it seems counter-intuitive to think that your financial situation can be improved when you give your money away. However, if you take some time to think about it, you will find that there really are some solid reasons to involve yourself in charitable giving.
Conscious Spending as You Attempt to Budget According to Your Values
One of the most important things you can do for your finances is to budget according to your values. Are you spending money on the things that are most important to you? What are your priorities? If charitable giving is important to you, then, by necessity, you need to make sure that you have the money to complete the transaction. This forces you to make better choices overall in your financial life. When you really think about your values, and make it a point to fund the things most important to you, your choices when directing your financial resources will improve, to the overall improvement of your finances.
Giving has a way of reminding us that others probably have it worse than we do. Instead of focusing on materialism and what you think you want, when you see those in need, it’s easier to recall the nice things in your life. Giving pulls you out of yourself, and lets you see how much you really have. Giving encourages contentment. And there is no better cure for impulsive, wasteful spending than being happy with what you already have.
You receive a tax advantage when you donate to charity. It’s not the same as a dollar-for-dollar advantage, but in Canada you receive a federal credit and a provincial credit for donating to a qualified charity. In the United States, there is a tax deduction that reduces income, and, by extension, the tax bill. In any case, there is a tax advantage to donating, so giving your money away doesn’t result in a complete monetary loss.
While many people don’t donate because of the tax advantage, it is a nice bonus, and something to keep in mind as you make your charitable donations.
When you carefully choose the charity that you donate to, you can improve your community. While I do give to a larger organization, I also like to focus my efforts on community charities that help the people that live hear. When you donate to charity, you can help set positive things in motion, and improve your community. Community improvement, whether it’s helping to clean up a rundown area, provide meals to children, or aid in education, can result in good things for everyone. Property values, commerce, and quality of life in general can be improved with the help of charitable donations — especially when used in a community. The impact can be profound. It may not be a direct financial improvement for you, but over time it’s an investment that can pay real dividends for your life, and the lives of those around you.
Remember: Charitable Donations Don’t Have to Be About Money
Of course, it’s important to remember that charitable don’t have to be about money. If you don’t have the financial resources to give what you would like, then you can improve your community, and donate other things. Donations of goods can be helpful, as can your donation of time. Volunteer to help out at a charity, and you will meet interesting people, and advance in ways that might surprise you.
Volunteering can be a good way to meet people who are influential in your community, and grow your network. It’s possible to improve your career (and your financial situation as a result) with the help of people you meet while doing volunteer work. While you probably aren’t volunteering at the soup kitchen in the hopes that it will lead to a meeting with a local business leader, that is one of the possible perks.
Additionally, you show your character when you volunteer your time. People like to help the helpful. When you show that you support your community, and that you are interested in the good of the community, you can drum up support. If you decide to start a business, or if you have some other venture in mind, people are more willing to work with you when they see what you have accomplished in the community. Doing community service and helping out with charity work can be a great way to improve your visibility.
Giving back is important. Even if it never substantially helps your financial situation, charitable giving can come back to help you later. Even those who aren’t particularly religious often recognize that “what goes around comes around.” If you want sound finances, it doesn’t hurt to help others. Give money, or volunteer your time and talents. You’ll be better organized in life and finances, and you’ll feel better about your situation. You might even end up with tangible benefits. At the very least, though, you’ll enjoy a good dose of the “warm fuzzies.”
So, do you give to charity? If you do, what advantages have you found in doing so? If you don’t give to charity, why not?