CanadaHelps, a donation platform used by many Canadian charities (including the one I work for), recently released their 2017 Giving Report, described as a report about “the charitable sector, where the money goes, and how people like you give.”
Overall, nothing about the data was too shocking: the majority of donations are made in December, monthly donors give more and are more loyal, and overall donations are down but online donations are up.
There is a lot of speculation in the fundraising world over the giving levels based on income, so I was particularly interested in that result.
Those with an annual income of $150-$199K earn 7.5 times more in income than those with less than $20K in annual income, but give just 2.5 times more in donations. (CanadaHelps)
On some level, I get this. All of us FIRE-wannabees know that not spending money is one of the components to getting there.
However, we need to be able to reconcile frugality with giving back. It doesn’t even have to be a lot of money. Most charities (especially a small one like the one I work for) would be SO HAPPY to receive your $5 monthly donation. When you think about it, that’s one coffee from Starbucks or a drink at a restaurant. I know that personally I waste $5 on something silly at least once a month.
In return for that $5, you will get personal satisfaction in knowing you’re doing something for others, as well as an annual tax receipt. Some charities even have special ‘clubs’ for their monthly donors that bring you behind-the-scenes, and make you feel personally involved. Make sure to align your charity of choice with your values and priorities. I give primarily to animal-based charities because I have two rescue cats and it feels very close to my heart.
In some cases (food banks, women’s shelters, etc.), there is also the option to donate goods. While any type of donation is positive, keep in mind that monetary donations are usually much more effective. Charities can often use this money to buy goods–like food for a food bank–at much better prices in bulk. When giving items, be sure to ask the charity what they have the most need of.
If monetary-giving isn’t an option, consider volunteering. There are so many different options for this, and often you can even let the charity know your area of interest or expertise.
Do you give to any charities yearly or monthly? What inspires you to give back? Do you agree that the “feel good factor” could be considered a return on investment?