Finding Ways to Help a Little
A few years ago I was on a road trip with my husband and while listening to CBC radio I learned that a minute amount of people actually give money to charities on a regular basis. The most common times for giving seem to be Thanksgiving, Christmas, and when a catastrophe occurs. This makes it incredibly hard for charities to deal with world hunger and other issues on a day to day basis.
It was also suggested that if everyone gave 1% of their income we could significantly reduce hunger in the world. I decided to do some math in the car. Yep, I definitely could afford one percent.
The great thing about the concept of 1% is that it takes into account different incomes:
- Example A: if a person makes $30,000 a year then their yearly donation should be $300.
- Example B: if a person makes $150,000 a year then their yearly donation should be $1500.
For some, coming up with a lump sum of money to donate can be challenging; especially if you have a family to support. That is why including the family in the act of "giving more" makes it an even greater accomplishment.
This lens focuses on providing monthly challenges for giving more by breaking up the lump sum into 12 installments which is easier to accomplish. So example A would have to give $25 a month and example B would have to give $125 a month.
Below you will find ideas for saving up your monthly allotment as well as thirteen charities you could help support.
"Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person."
~ Mother Teresa
The Coffee and Pop Challenge
For the month of January make your goal to reduce your coffee and pop intake. Every time you consider having a pop or coffee, don't. Then make a note that the money you would have spent gets added to a tally that you donate to your favorite charity for this month.
If you spend a $1 on a coffee once a day five days a week for week weeks that is $20 right there. If you go for coffee with friends, have water (from the tap) and add the money saved to your giving tally.
Save By Pot-Lucking
Going out to eat at restaurants every week is a considerable expense. Instead why not invite your friends over for a pot-luck one night. They each can bring a dish.
You get to eat in the privacy of your home with great friends and then they can help you clean up before they go. The money you saved can be used toward your "giving more" challenge.
Do not be afraid to let your friends know why you decided to have a pot-luck. One of them might even offer to host the next one.
How Often Do You Donate to Charity
If You Are Planning a Trip
If you are planning a trip with the family then get them involved on the family planning for ways to skim a little off to help meet the monthly donation.
You can do more research to find a cheaper airline, give up an amenity and go with a cheaper hotel (even if it is only one or two nights), rent a room with a kitchen to reduce meal costs, avoid attractions that cost money (or plan for less).
Start out with an expected cost then subtract what you actually spent to get your donation amount for that month. Work things out ahead of time so you know right off that you are going to meet your donation goal for this month.
The Tax Challenge
Before you start working on your taxes commit to relegating a portion of it to your monthly "giving more" challenge.
What if you have to pay taxes?
The good news is you can then use any donations you make to registered charities for the year to reduce your taxable income for next year.
Mother's Day falls in the month of May. If you still get to celebrate your mother, volunteer with her at her favorite charity. Instead of flowers which are expensive and die in a few days, make her something. Then donate the money you would have spent on flowers in honor of your mother.
If your mother has passed on then give a gift in her honor for the amount you would have spent on a mother's day gift.
Putting Up With a Little Heat
It is summer and it is hot. Resist the urge to let the air conditioner run non-stop.
Save some money on the energy bill this month by raising the temperature on your air conditioner a few degrees during the day and at night.
Donate the money you save through the month to your charity of choice this month.
"I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver."
~ Maya Angelou
One Man's Junk is Another Man's Treasure
With a pen and post-its in hand go through the house room by room and mark stuff that has not been used in the last six months and with which you have no strong emotional attachment. You may be surprised at how much there is. Once you are done it is time to plan a yard sale.
Use half this new income to make a donation and the other half to take the family out for a celebration dinner on the added space in the house, team work in selling, and the added funds for giving.
Back to School
When it comes to back to school shopping there are necessities and there are wants. Do not get sucked into the allure of back to school shopping flyers.
Sit down with the kids (or any adults going back to school) and make a list of necessities and wants. Beside each one make a justification for and / or against making this purchase.
When you are done read over the list and discuss again where it can be pared down until you have a nice donation for this month.
A Glimpse at Human Trafficking
To help see the Somaly Mam Foundation link in the list of charities below.
Reduce and Donate
Make this month a magazine free month. Whenever you get the urge to pick up that magazine, stop yourself, make a note of the cost, then put it back on the shelf.
Keep track of all the magazines you would have bought this month and at the end add it up and make your donation.
Not only have you made a great donation but you've reduced the amount of paper you had to put into the recycling bin.
Trick or Treat and Donate
Halloween treats and decorations are expensive. This month resist the urge to go all out on new decorations and sweet treats from the store. And don't buy them early if they tend to get eaten up before the end of the month, forcing you to go shopping again.
If you do not know how many kids you had last year guesstimate how many kids you may have, plan what you will hand out, reduce it by half, and only buy enough for that many. To make sure everyone get the same equally package in small zip bags. When it is gone. Lights out.
Do not feel bad about reducing the amount of sweets you are giving out. You are not the only house on the block and remember the money you save is going to someone in need.
One for One
Buy yourself and / or other family members a pair of TOMS shoes. For every pair of shoes they sell they GIVE a pair to a child in need. Well worth the price. You won't get a tax break but you get a lovely pair of shoes and some child you don't know won't be walking around shoeless.
"No one has ever become poor by giving"
~ Anne Frank
Get a group of your friends together and discuss giving to a charity instead of buying one another gifts.
You can have a charity shopping party where you exchange information on your favorite charities. When you give them their card you make a note for which charity you donated to in honor of them.
Doing this not only save you money on a gift that may or may not be used by the receiver but also encourages others to give. Who knows it may become a routine.
Baker's Dozen - Charities to Consider Giving To
You can pick whatever charities you want to give to. If you want you can give to the same charity the whole year, year after year. The choice is yours, this list are suggestions to get you started.
Most of the charities listed here are for the humanities because world hunger is still one of our biggest plights.
They are listed alphabetically and not order of preference.
- Acumen Fund | Homepage
Acumen Fund is a non-profit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of global poverty.
- CARE :: Defending Dignity, Fighting Poverty
CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. We place special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty
- Childcare Worldwide
Helping Children Survive and Succeed. Child Sponsorship in Africa, India, sponsor a child with childcare worldwide, non profit Christian ministry. Childcare Worldwide a non-profit child sponsorship organization. Christian child sponsorship ministry.
- Children's Aid Foundation
The Children's Aid Foundation is committed to funding programs that improve the lives of abused, neglected and high-risk children through Prevention, Enrichment and Education.
- Convoy of Hope
Convoy of Hope mobilizes, resources, and trains churches and other groups to conduct community outreaches, respond to disasters, and direct other compassion initiatives in the United States and around the world.
- Cross International - a Christian relief & development ministry to the poorest of the poor.
Cross International is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children, families and communities overcome poverty.
- Doctors Without Borders | MSF USA
Doctors Without Borders/MÃ©decins Sans FrontiÃ¨res (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization working in more than 60 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe.
- The Hunger Project
Empowering Women and Men to End Their Own Hunger
- Fighting Malaria in Africa | NetsforLife Africa
NetsforLife empowers communities to fight malaria in Africa by providing life-saving prevention training and bed nets.
- Oxfam International
Oxfam International is a confederation of 14 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. We work directly with communities and we seek to influence the powerful to ensure tha
- Somaly Mam Foundation
Somaly Mam Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting the $12billion per year sex-trafficking industry.
- Sustainable Harvest International (SHI)
The mission of Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) is to provide farming families in Central America with the training and tools to preserve our planet's tropical forests while overcoming poverty.
Did you try any of the challenges here? How'd it go? Do you have a favorite charity?