At the end of the year do you pull out your checkbook and start writing checks to numerous charities? That’s what I used to do. Every year just before Thanksgiving the appeals start rolling in – to my inbox, mailbox, and even (in non-COVID years) directly by knocks at my door. (Which always makes me feel especially bad because in November in Minnesota it’s not exactly warm.)
With all of these organizations asking for money my spouse and I sit down with a list of nonprofits we care about and make donations to each one. While this giving certainly gets me in the holiday spirit, and the gratitude makes me feel a lot happier, it’s not the best thing to do for the charity or my wallet. This week I encourage you to set up automatic monthly giving for at least one organization that you care most about.
Why Give Monthly to Charity
Why should you set up recurring donations to a nonprofit that you would otherwise donate to at the end of the year?
It helps the charity
The nonprofit organization you’re giving to will be much better off when you set up an automatic contribution. It allows them to be better able to budget because they know how much to expect in revenue during the year ahead. Yes, organizations account for and depend on the end of the year push, but think of it like your own budget. If you get a larger monthly salary you are better able to budget your money than if you just got a huge bonus at the end of the year.
It helps your finances
Just as the nonprofit is able to budget better when you give monthly, so too are you. You know exactly how much you are giving based on your ability. And you aren’t stuck at the end of the year not being able to give as much as you’d like. Plus, knowing exactly how much you’ll give over the course of the year allows you to better calculate your tax withholdings.
It makes you feel good
When I give it makes me feel better knowing that my money isn’t only going towards my needs and wants, but it’s also helping other people and missions I believe in. Instead of feeling good only once a year why not feel good every month when you see the donations coming from your bank account?
How to Set Up Monthly Charitable Contributions
1. Decide Which Charity to Give to and How Much to Give
First, decide which charity (or charities) you want to make automatic contributions to. If you are considering a number of charities and want to get a sense of their stability and financials check out Charity Navigator or GuideStar to research the charities. Charity Navigator allows you to search by keyword for causes you care about and also rates the charities based on a number of criteria. Generally, the lower the administrative overhead of the organization the better – because that means that more money is actually going towards programming and advocacy.
Determine how much you can give based on your own budget. But know that most organizations require a minimum of $5-10 a month to give automatically.
2. Visit the Charity’s Website and Contribute
Nearly every nonprofit allows you to donate on their website. Visit the nonprofit’s site and find the donate button and choose “monthly” for contribution. It’s that easy. (Or, if you prefer, call the organization and they will be happy to set up your recurring donation.)
To commit to taking this week’s action, you could simply just tell yourself you’re going to follow the steps in the how to section. But what are the chances you are actually going to find the time to do this, when you have so many other things to do? Instead, you should commit and hold yourself accountable. To hold yourself accountable do this 1 thing:
- Leave a comment below answering the question: To which nonprofit are you going to give monthly? Which day and time during the week are you going to do this action?