Good people often ask, “How much should I give to help others?”. Or rather, they don’t ask. They just give without a plan and end up hurting themselves.
The amount you decide to give is a personal decision and depends on your circumstances, but the simple answer is this: give as much as you can. There is always great need, and charities across the country struggling to raise funds. There are always people in need, be it friends or family members. Here are a few of the things you’ll want to consider though.
Have you made a giving plan? Taking the time to make a strategy about who to give to is the first step in deciding how much to give. Think about the causes you’re passionate about, and people who you would like to help. Do you want to support family members, friends or your church? Do you want to support one charity or many?
Learning about all the incredible charities out there and the difference they make in the world is really inspiring and can change your lens on life – it also makes planning your giving a really satisfying experience!
Once you’ve decided who to support, you’ll need to decide how much you can give.
Start with 1% of your income. If you’re new to charitable giving, 1% is a great place to start. Deciding to give a percentage of your income allows you to give what you can, even if your income changes. If you already give and live quite comfortably, challenge yourself to give an additional 1%. Often, the more you give, the more you realize you can afford!
Set-up automatic monthly giving. It’s easier to give more when you do it in small amounts. It’s just like buying your morning milk: once you’re used to it, you don’t even think about it! Regular donations also make your expenses more predictable, and also help those you are giving to better plan their spending because they have reliable income.
Think of all the ways you can give. Giving comes in all shapes and sizes and it all helps. Here are three ways to give you may not have considered:
(1) Charities such as children’s homes are always looking for volunteers of all skill levels..
(2) Or, make a bequest in your Will. A bequest or planned gift is a beautiful way to leave a legacy, and a way you can help charities you care about one last time.
Review and revise your plan. Once you have a routine in place, it can be easy to forget your original motivation. Commit to reviewing your plan every 6-12 months, thinking about whether you’re still giving the right amount for you. Could you do more? Are there more charities whose work you value and would like to support? Or are the charities you’re already supporting meeting your expectations and would it make sense to give them more?
Giving back to your community and those in need is a great feeling because you’re helping to make a positive change in the world, and an impact on individual lives. The more you give and engage with charities and others pursuing a giving life, the more you’ll want to give.
There are no wiser words than those from the young Anne Frank: “No one has ever become poor by giving.”