You’re a giver, we get you.
You find joy in giving and contributing to something bigger than yourself.
Kudos to you!
And you’re not alone. Between 2019 and 2021, Australians have upped their charitable giving by around $540 million (Source: Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, ACPNS).
Overall, 4 in 5 Australians donate their money to charities and 24% of them give at least once a month
And if you think we’re about to start a lecture on how important it is to save and don’t go overboard with your donation… well, we’re not going to do that.
Quite the opposite. This article is meant to give you actionable tips to join the givers and take your generosity to the next level! And keep your bank account happy.
Here are 6 ways to fit charity donations into your budget.
1. Be clear about your situation
Donating is honourable, but you shouldn’t feel pressured about it.
Maybe your current circumstances don’t allow it. You might be trying to get rid of your credit card debt, for example.
Think about contributing to a cause by donating non-monetary things like your old clothes, blood or time.
At least until you’ve reached your goal. Once you get there, you can reward yourself by donating financially. Being free of debt and able to give with no stress will be very empowering!
Photo by Rodnae Productions
2. Align with your goals and values
A healthy spending balance is one that fits within your overall income, and aligns with your goals, values, and stage of life.
However, goals and priorities evolve as we change and grow. That’s part of life. And that’s great, as it allows you to make changes in how you spend your money.
Look at how you're spending and identify things that are not as important as they were in the past.
It could be a hobby that doesn’t give you the same excitement as before or that gym membership you forgot you had because you now prefer to go for a run in the mornings.
Whatever it is, reviewing where you spend your money might help you identify alternative ways to unlock funds for your donations.
3. Decide who and how much
At Life Sherpa, we believe you can live the life you want with the money you have. And this also applies to donating.
Instead of diverting your resources to multiple charities, wouldn’t it be better to focus your efforts?
Surely there is one cause you feel strongly about. By donating regularly to just one charity you’ll feel you’re making a greater impact - and the organisation you’ve chosen will feel more supported!
Pick one or two charities at most and set an amount that fits comfortably within your budget.
Think about what this will look like for the next 12 months. If you get a pay rise or your situation changes, you can always revise the amount.
4. Set recurring payments
If donating is important to you, you don’t want to get to the end of the month and realise there is no room in your budget for your habitual donation.
To make sure you don’t let your favourite charity down, set recurring payments from your internet banking.
This will help you make sure your money goes where you have planned and not where “life” takes it.
Photo by Canva Studio
5. Think about social enterprises and charity gifts
There are other ways to make more room into your budget for the causes you care about:
Donating on someone’s behalf will allow you to redirect some funds you normally allocate to gifts and “stretch further” your charity budget
“Gifting that gives back”. These are tangible objects: clothing, kitchenware, or beauty products. The same communities that are going to benefit from your purchase often produce them. It could be a group of Ugandan women striving for financial stability and educational opportunities, for example.
Supporting social enterprises. I’m sure you know about the toilet paper company which donates 50% of their profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world. Or about the soap company that invests in organisations with a mission to end extreme poverty. Next time you do your shopping, think about them - it’s a way to give a new meaning to everyday buying.
6. Invest to donate
What we should say is that there are two sides to the giving story. Yes, Australians have donated more over the last few years. But with the uncertainties of the current economic environment, their willingness or ability to donate will probably decrease.
To counteract this trend and be able to maintain or increase your recurrent contributions to causes and not-for-profit organisations, you could look at investing.
You could invest in ethical companies or social enterprises, similar to the ones mentioned above.
There are also organisations that can use your investment to unlock capital for the underserved, whilst guaranteeing a modest return.
You could also go the traditional way, by investing your funds in whichever way you prefer and re-directing part of the returns to support your charity of choice.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
There you have it: 6 effective ways to fit charity donations into your budget... and keep those “feel good” dividends coming into your emotional bank account.
For 15 years, Francesco has approached communication from various angles: client-side advertising manager, agency account director, freelance photographer and content writer. Working for several global and Australian finance brands (Morningstar, CBA, American Express, uno Home Loans, OFX and InvestSmart) he has learnt to understand how people save, spend, invest and feel about their money. Today, Francesco develops online content that addresses the real needs and aspirations of Australians when it comes to personal finance.