Charitable Donations – even when money is tight?

Lately, my husband and I have been talking a lot about charitable giving and what our level should be in this time of conserving funds in an effort to reduce our consumer debt.

We recently increased our giving by 1%, which seems like a little, but is $975/year or $18.75/week (we actually raised it $20/week – $18.75 is such a weird amount). Part of this is in response to our gratefulness that as we have started this journey to face our financial issues and deal with them, we have started to feel freedom from the weight of never-ending debt. The other part is that we feel a responsibility to help those who are even more impacted by the state of the economy, because no matter how bad it is for us, we are actually in great shape compared to the rest of the world and a big section of our own country. Our woes come from bad decisions and the inability to deal with circumstances because of those bad decisions. But there are those who a geographically and socially less able to earn as much or bounce back from the economic climate. So we feel a need to try to give something to help, even if it is small.

A recent article from the Washington Post noted that Charitable giving is down for the first time in 21 years – just at the time that it is needed the most.

Local charities said they have been struggling as the economy has faltered, just as many nonprofit agencies, such as food banks and homeless shelters, have been experiencing skyrocketing demand for their services. A surge in giving around the November and December holidays probably prevented a worse overall picture, some said.

You can read the rest of the article HERE.

A CNN Money article talks about considering the decision (click HERE to read) to reduce charitable donations. Their recommendation is that:

What you should do, though, is tell the folks who run the food bank that they won’t be able to count on you for an anchor donation this year, and tell them now. They need as much time as possible to find replacement funds and/or to figure out how best to cut back their services.

This seems like a reasonable and responsible way to approach this issue if you find that you need to make the some cuts in this area. And it may be that there are time and effort resources that you could offer/volunteer to the charity that would absorb some of burden that would normally be addressed by your financial donation.

Have you had any conversations about this lately?

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