Many of us think to ourselves, “I’ll eventually reach a point when I can be more charitable.” However, in reality, generosity knows no dollar amount or professional status. Whether you make $30,000 per year as an employee or you earn millions per year as a business owner, there are always opportunities to be more generous. It’s up to you to seize them!
5 Ways to be Charitable
If you’re looking for ways to be more charitable this year, here’s a quick rundown of some different suggestions:
1. Set Aside Money Each Month
If your household has a monthly budget, create a separate line item for charitable giving. You can either designate money to particular causes, or you can make it a sort of generosity “slush fund” that gives you the flexibility to help others on a random, as-needed basis.
2. Perform a Daily RAC
Make a goal of performing one random act of kindness (RAC) every day. It can be small, big, monetary, non-monetary, etc. You can perform RACs for people you know, or even just strangers you run across. It could be smiling and having a conversation with a senior who looks lonely, buying someone’s lunch, paying for someone’s gas, raking your neighbor’s yard – anything! When you proactively look for ways to be kind and generous, you’ll be surprised by how many opportunities there are.
3. Donate Your Time
Generosity comes in all shapes and sizes. Even if you aren’t blessed financially, you might be able to donate some of your time. A couple of hours volunteering or helping someone less fortunate can be a godsend to other individuals. Give what you can!
4. Start Your Own Charitable Giving Account
You don’t need to be a millionaire to have your own charitable giving account or fund. Believe it or not, anyone can set up their own fund and use it to make a difference in the community. The key is to set one up properly so that it works best for you. (Meaning it gives you the best tax advantages and is also able to be deployed in a flexible manner.)
5. Donate Your Tax Refund
Rather than using your tax refund to pay for a vacation or home improvement project, consider whether you actually need either of those things. Considering that the money has been “set apart” for a while anyway, will your lifestyle be negatively impacted if you permanently set it aside and use it for charitable giving?
By donating your tax refund, you not only get to help someone out, but you also lower your taxes for the next year. Depending on how you use the funds, some or all of the donations could be tax deductible. You can think of your refund payment as your own little pre-paid charity fund that you get access to once per year.
Where Will You Be Generous?
You don’t have to wait until you get to some specific income figure or net worth to be generous. Generosity is not about a dollar amount – it’s about your frame of mind. Someone can be more generous in giving an hour of a time than another person who gives $1,000. It’s about doing what you can with the resources you have to provide as much value as possible to those around you.
There’s a story in the Bible where Jesus observes people coming to the temple treasury and putting large sums of money into the box. Many of them would make a very big deal about it, going so far as to make sure their coins clinked and rattled as they hit the bottom of the coffers. But it was a poor widow who came by and put just two small copper coins into the chest that made the rabbi the happiest.
The reason Jesus admired the poor woman was that the two coins were all she had. For her, giving two coins was a much bigger gesture of generosity than the hundreds of coins that others were giving.
The point is that generosity is a matter of the heart. Don’t judge your generosity by what others are giving, or what you think they expect you to give. Instead, take a leap of faith and give what you can. That’s what being charitable truly means.